Roth OLi POWA 5 Bluetooth Speaker System Review

Mr. H

Standard Member
I just bought a pair of these (arrived yesterday). I managed to find them online for £230 (thought I was getting the MKI version but was very happy when the MKII with aptX showed up!).

Strictly speaking, they are "powered" speakers, not "active" speakers - the latter term being reserved for systems with active crossovers and one power amplifier per drive unit. These have a standard stereo amplifier built into one of the speakers; the crossovers are "regular" passive types.

They are slightly larger than I was expecting but that's no bad thing. I don't think that there's anything out there that competes, for the price, especially if you need digital inputs (I'm going to use mine with an AppleTV). They look good, have excellent build quality and sound decent.

One thing that frustrates me greatly when trying to choose audio components with built-in amplifiers (such as powered/active speakers, mini systems, AV amplifiers) is the total lack of information regarding real-world power consumption. Usually all you can find is the maximum rated input power, which you will rarely see outside laboratory conditions. With the vast majority of listening material, power consumption is dominated by the "idle" power - the consumption increases surprisingly little when the music starts to play (compared to the rated power of the amplifiers). I'm pleased to report that these speakers consume 0.3 watts in standby and about 9 watts when idle (i.e. powered up fully but no input signal present) - playing music fairly loud this goes up to 12 watts. Combine this with an AppleTV which consumes between 1 and 2 watts when active, and you have a reasonably power-efficient streaming music system with decent sound quality.

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