We have reviewed a couple of GravaStar speakers previously and we are thrilled that we have the opportunity again to review the audio equipment maker’s newest addition, the GravaStar Supernova.

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker Review
Left: Supernova; Right: Mars Pro.

Unlike previous offerings, the Supernova was designed from the ground up to be portable and oh, it can also double as a lantern, well, kind of. More on that in a bit. Before we proceed to offer our unbias take on the Supernova, here are some basic specs:

  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Over 15 meters (50 feet) max. BT distance
  • 0.5” high-frequency tweeter + 3” full-range speaker 
  • 25 W peak power output
  • 20K – 20 KHz frequency response
  • A lamp with 3 different light effects
  • An integrated handle
  • Built-in rechargeable battery for up to 7 hours of playback

The Aesthetics

The three-legged audiophile beast has a complete makeover and not going to lie. It looks absolutely fantastic. It has the same articulated three-legged design as the Mars Pro but instead of a spherical main body, it has a cylindrical lantern-style upper with a smoked transparent cover that encases the lighting source. The latter looks like a futuristic skyscraper that lights up, IMHO. It was a visual spectacle.

Just below it is where the essence, namely, the 0.5” tweeter, a downward-firing 3” full-range driver, and the circuitry, of the audio prowess reside. Let’s refer to that as the base of the lantern. The base of the lantern is nothing boring. It is a canvas for a series of futuristic sculpting and markings.

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker Review
Very cyberpunk-ish, don’t you think?

Over at the front is where you find the 0.5” tweeter, caged in a sci-fi enclosure, flanked by “piping” of sorts. Even without the lights on, the Supernova is really a sight to behold. Like its previous speakers, this speaker is definitely a conversational starter. The handle is a separate piece that requires some assembly.

Unlike a typical lamp, this handle up top is not a loop; it is an open-end loop that lends the speaker an organic feel. It looks like a scorpion tail but with a functional purpose. Also on top are the main power button, surrounded by three buttons for controlling the volume and changing the light modes.

The transparent element appears to be plastic (polycarbonate or acrylic) while the rest of the speaker appears to be constructed of a combination of alloy and plastics. The handle and the lantern’s structure are cold to the touch which would mean it is of alloy.

The Controls

Supernova continues the brand’s ethos of no-frill control. It does not have a fancy mobile app for controls or for tweaking the sound. The latter also means that the company is confident with the sound as-is. No tweaking is necessary. However, it could be a dealbreaker for users who enjoy tweaking the audio output. But hey, you could always use a third-party app if really want that.

It has a main button in the middle which is the power on/off switch. This circular button also serves as a reset button and is used for connecting, disconnecting, and pairing Bluetooth. Surrounding it are three buttons. Two of which are for volume adjustment and one is a light switch that is also for cycling through the light modes.

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker Review
Here you can see the four-button control.

So, yeah, it does not have the futuristic volume control like on the Mars Pro. But the buttons are pretty discreet and melt into the design. Like you won’t even notice them. The volume buttons are used to make or undo TWS Network Connection (i.e. pairing with another Supernova for stereo setup).

Control is almost perfect if not for the lack of the ability to skip tracks on the device. That has to be done on the source, unfortunately.

The Build

I shouldn’t be surprised that the build does not disappoint. The Supernova is a solidly built device. There are no misaligned components whatsoever, nor are there loose joints or parts. And yes, I gave it the mandatory shake test.

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker Review
Here’s everything that came with it. The handle requires simple installation with the included screws.

The Connectivity

The Supernova benefits from the latest Bluetooth 5.3 technology that offers over 15 meters (50 feet) of range. I certainly have no doubt of the claim because I actually make it across the apartment which is only a little over 10 meters (33 feet) and it was still going strong with no signs of signal dropping. Mind you that distance was interjected by at least two concrete walls and a set of folding doors of wood and glass.

In addition to wireless streaming, you have the option to take a wired route thanks to the presence of a trusty 3.5 mm auxiliary input. I tried it and it immediately won me over. I cannot describe in words how different it sounds but it is definitely cleaner than wireless.

To be fair, I did not plug the included 3.5 mm cable into the MacBook Pro; I had it plugged into the Hyper Drive Gen2 USB-C Hub’s 3.5 mm audio jack which is a 4-pole (TRRS) stereo input that supports 384 KHz and 32-bit maximum sampling rate.

One thing to note when you go wired mode, the light effect just goes on flashing in one color. I was unable to change the color. Neither can I stop the flashing which can be quite annoying.

NOW READ  GravaStar Alpha65 GaN Fast Charger, Now Offered In Limited Edition Crystal Blue

The Sound

One word: breathtaking. Well, at least it is to my ears and you would have to crank it up to fully experience what this little guy has to offer. But before I go on to brag about the audio prowess, here are the conditions of the audition:

  1. No EQ adjustment, additional software, or hardware enhancement of any kind
  2. Hyper Drive Gen2 USB-C Hub for wired test

Source hardware:

  1. MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1 chip, 2020)
  2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wired.

I find the sound is on par with the Mars Pro. However, I do find the Supernova is generally louder at the same volume. It is cleaner but a tad less bassy.

For example, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467: II. Andante by Mozart performed by London Mozart Players, Howard Shelley, the double basses would be more pronounced with the Mars Pro and felt like you are at the front seat of a smaller symphony hall.

Meanwhile, the bass is punchier albeit a little mellow, and the highs peaked higher on the Supernova. I attribute the punchier and mellow bass to the down-firing speaker on the Supernova. But somehow, it sounds perfectly balanced with jazz tunes like String Swing’s rendition of Comment Te Dire Adieu (which is my favorite version, btw).

Sometimes, it does feel like the highs can overwhelm the mids and lows. Anyhoo, listening to a symphony on Supernova feels as if I am seated further away from the stage and in a significantly larger hall. And yes, I do attend symphony performances.

The overall feeling is more immersive. Not sure if the down-firing speaker results in a more mellow bass in the orchestral pieces. It is worth noting that the Supernova was placed on an inch-thick bamboo tabletop during the test. I am guessing it does affect how the sound spread when it was spitting out downwards onto whatever surface it was facing.

While we were on the topic of sound transmission, I noticed the GravaStar Supernova sounded even better you are further away from it. The Mars Pro, on the other hand, feels like a suitable next-to-you placement speaker. Overall, I find the sound separation is pretty up there.

As for movies, it is less boom boom boom like on the Mars Pro. Remember the punchier yet somewhat mellow bass? It does affect the action with movies like, you guessed it, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The higher highs can mar the boom boom boom action, IMHO. It is passable, though. It is not something that will turn heads if you know what I mean.

But you probably won’t use it to consume movies as much as you would use it for music and so, it should be fine. As mentioned earlier, the wired connection sounded a little cleaner but generally, the results are similar to when streaming via Bluetooth. However, I do notice that the max volume is lower in wired mode than in wireless mode.

The Light

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker Review
How it illuminates a dark space.

As with the Mars Pro, the articulated legs light up too but the real star of the show is without doubt the “lantern”. It is by no means a proper lumination for, say, trekking at night. However, it offers an eye-candy in the low-light environment as you enjoy your favorite tunes.

The Portability

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker Review
The handle. It looks like a scorpion tail, doesn’t it?

The device is definitely portable but it is not light. It is pretty hefty at 2.2 lbs (1 kg). The handle is large enough to accommodate my gorilla-size hand. The handle has a gear-like relief on the underside to improve the grip but because it is an open loop, there are always risks of it slipping off your hand.

Also, I don’t believe it is IP rated and I am not sure if it is really suited for rugged outdoor use. Not that you cannot but I guess you have to take extra care.

The Verdict

For:

  • Audiophile-grade, room-filling audio
  • Clean audio with excellent sound separation
  • Spectacular light feature but… (see below)
  • Auxiliary port
  • A solid and robust build

Against:

  • Bass is a tad mellow
  • Low max volume in wired mode
  • The lamp function could brighter
  • Lack of music skip function on the speaker

What can I say? This little guy beckoned me to be “unfaithful” to my Mars Pro. This will be my default speaker moving forward. However, like the Mars Pro, it is a speaker as it is supposed to be before apps came along. It is a speaker made right the first time and lets you enjoy tunes without having to fiddle with EQ and whatnot.

GravaStar Supernova Bluetooth Speaker was officially launched on February 28, 2023. It is available now from GravaStar.com for US$179.95.

Disclaimer: The speaker was provided to us free of charge. However, that does not change our view of the device. Everything we have laid out here is our honest opinion of the speaker.

All images by Mikeshouts.

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.