Yoyo (M) Portable Bluetooth Speakers Review
THE HIGH NOTES
- British Heritage
- Gesture Control
- 24 Hours of Music
Company & Product Overview
Cambridge Audio, as you might guess, started out in Cambridge, England in the 1960s. Initially a high technology consulting company formed by some tech savvy graduates of Cambridge University, their first product was a small integrated amplifier. It set the audio world on its ear for its great sound, slim design, and the first use of a toroidal transformer. Toroidal transformers are now used in almost every high-end audio product out there.
The company flourished. Their electronics and speakers have won countless awards for great value in the British HiFi press over the past 50+ years. They were also very forward thinking and became one of the first audio companies to invest in manufacturing in China. Cambridge approached this investment differently by putting their own engineers on site to oversee production. Their foresight really worked out -- they have had the same manufacturing partners in China for over 20 years, which is a very unusual occurrence in the world of manufacturing.
This new partnership allowed them to develop products for an entirely new group of listeners while hitting lower price categories and delivering the great sound Cambridge is famous for.
Today’s review focuses on a new series in this vein: the Yoyo series. Yoyo represents a new line of Bluetooth speakers with both a unique appearance and feature set. The Yoyo series has three models -- a small, medium, and large. Today, we are looking at the Yoyo (M), or the "medium" model in the lineup.
Design & Build Quality
When you first open up the box and pull these out, you can tell some serious engineers were behind these guys. Even the box they come in is cool. As a matter of fact, we recommend you hang on to it because it is a great way to carry the Yoyo (M)s around. It is super heavy duty and sturdy and should last for years.
The top of the box is slightly larger than the bottom and lifts straight up to reveal two speakers. There are injection molded top and bottom plastic inserts that they fit firmly into. Underneath, you will find the manual and a variety of power connections for anywhere in the world.
Each Yoyo(M) is about 8” tall, 5” wide, and 5” deep. They each have a power connection and a friendly USB charging port on the underside, facing the back. On the very bottom of the cabinet is a standard threaded insert designed to fit a variety of threaded speaker mounting brackets.
Each Yoyo model is wrapped in 100% worsted wool..and this is just not any wool. It comes from the famous Martin Mills of Yorkshire, England that has been making wool for 86 years! Each model Yoyo has a slightly different range of wool color choices, and in the case of the Yoyo (M), the choices are between dark grey, blue, and light grey. We had the blue for our testing and it looked fabulous sitting on our desk!
Build quality is just fantastic. Everything is put together as perfectly as you would expect from a great manufacturing plant. If you take a sniff of the wool, you can imagine you are in an old time tailor's shop on the back streets of London.
Features & Technology
When you set up the Yoyo (M)s, you will notice one speaker has a little round silver disc at the bottom. This is your right speaker, and the disc is a microphone (more about that later). The right speaker has an AUX input on the back. Both speakers have a small power port on the back side and come with a power pack. These are some of the longest lasting Bluetooth speakers we have ever seen; they can play for an astounding 24 hours straight without recharging. Each speaker also has a tiny little button on the back next to the power input. With one press, the volume display on the top change to a power indicator to let you know how much charge is left.
To turn the system on, simply hold down the touch sensitive power button on the top right section of the right speaker for about two seconds and you will be greeted with 4 tones, followed by a beep. Repeat for the left. To power down, just press and hold the power button on either speaker and it will turn off both. Bluetooth pairing takes around 10 seconds and you are good to go. To conserve battery power, the Yoyo (M) will turn off after about 10 minutes in idle without a music source.
A few years ago, Cambridge Audio came out with an award winning little tiny speaker called the MINX. The MINX is still going full speed ahead to this day, using a tiny full range driver Cambridge developed. It looks a bit like a flat midrange driver but can reproduce both high and low frequencies very well for its size. A version of this is used in each of the Yoyo (M)s, but you get the addition of a low-frequency subwoofer driver to extend the bottom end.
The Yoyo (M) also plays well with your smart phone. Not only does it pair up quickly, but it can serve as a speakerphone with its built in microphone, making it pretty cool for group calls or hands-free operation. It also syncs up with the volume control on your phone. If you want to initiate a call as a speakerphone, just press the little touch sensitive phone icon on either speaker and away you go.
Volume for the system can be adjusted either with your phone or the touch sensitive up/down controls on the top. Imagine this scenario: you’re in the kitchen rocking out, your hands are dirty from cooking, and a track comes on that you are just not happy with. Well, instead of having to wait it out because you don’t want to touch your phone or your speaker, you can simply wave your hand from left to right over the top of either speaker and viola, and you’ll skip to the next track! You can also pause by swiping right to left, and come out of pause by swiping left to right.
The Yoyo (M) can also serve as a massive battery pack for your phone with its built-in charging adapter.
The Bluetooth input will always be active unless you press the little orange “aux” button on the top of either speaker to select the rear AUX port.
As with most powered speakers, we love knowing all about the drivers the amplifier will be connected to, and this usually gives the designer a big advantage. The Cambridge Audio engineers took full advantage of this because the Yoyo (M) sounds amazing for its size and price.
The 100% British-made worsted wool makes for a great acoustically transparent speaker grill, and unlike a lot of grill materials, it is wear-resistant and designed to repel dirt, dust, and liquids.
We test a lot of Bluetooth speakers that don’t make it to the shelves at Audio Advice because they sound so bad. We have to admit, given the small size of the Yoyo (M), we were a bit worried they might sound a little thin. Boy were we wrong! While not reaching down as deep as a big bookshelf speaker, the bass goes far deeper than you would think for something this small. The top end is very smooth and easy to listen to, even over longer sessions. When we played one our favorite test tracks, “Pink Houses” from John Cougar Mellencamp, we could tell these have that British heritage of great rhythm and pacing. We feel this is one of the most important aspects that contribute to a product getting you into the music. The Yoyo (M) just nailed it, which again was a big surprise for its price!
Being portable, we thought it would be fun to bring them out of the patio to see how they did in the great outdoors. We set them up on a couple of stools against the side of the house (which helped reinforce the bass) and they did a great job of providing sound for a small crowd.
We see several use cases for the Yoyo (M). First, they make a great desktop speaker system for your workspace. Connect the audio mini plug out from your computer, pair up your phone with Bluetooth, and you’ll have access to a world of music. When your phone rings, you’ll have (if you wish) a great speakerphone system for hands-free use.
Or, you may just be getting into a new space and wanting to add some tunes. The Bluetooth ease of use makes these a great choice along with their different wool colors. Plus, the wool just looks darn cool. You could even connect up a turntable if it had a built in phono preamp.
Finally, the portability added with a 24-hour battery life make these a great choice for speakers you can carry out to tailgate parties, backyard barbecues, or just a room you need sound in temporarily. And, did we say we love the look of the wool?
HIGH NOTES UNPACKED
With almost 50 years of building award winning audio products, Cambridge Audio nailed it with the Yoyo (M). You can tell these are not one of those “me too” Bluetooth speakers. They have a classic sound you can listen to for hours and will keep you tapping your foot the whole time.
We love the gesture control of play/pause and track skip. It is just perfect for a speaker that will find its way into places where you might be likely to have dirty, wet, or full hands.
24 Hours of Music
With 24 hours of battery life, you can probably get by with just charging the Yoyo (M) a few times a week if you are even a power user. This makes them a great portable option for music anywhere.