Peachtree Audio deepblue2 Table-Top Bluetooth Speaker

Peachtree Audio deepblue2 ($499)
I'm really not sure why I have this fascination with table-top speakers. They really aren't compatible with audiophile sensibilities. For starters, it's one speaker; how are you s'posed to get stereo with one speaker? And bluetooth? It's pretty much CD bit rates at its best these days, but no, I somehow can't take any table-top speaker seriously as high-end audio. And yet, I remain intrigued...somehow giddy at the thought of getting really good sound from a simple box without wires. And in that regard, the deepblue2 seriously delivers.

Peachtree Audio's deepblue2 had a bit of a herky-jerky start. Initially launched as the deepblue in 2013, the product was discontinued shortly after the first production run when the contracted OEM supplier closed it's doors, leaving Peachtree with a wildly successful product launch and no product in hand. Heck, they were even without all the tooling to make the product. A re-launch would mean starting from scratch, but it would also mean the opportunity to incorporate everything they had learned from the first deepblue developement in the new product. Undaunted, the company restarted the product with a July 21, 2014 Indiegogo campaign that raised a whopping $318k of a $64k goal.

Well, the final product is shipping, and not having had the opportunity to review the widely acclaimed original deepblue (I asked too late and it had become unobtainium), Peachtree was high on my list of products to seek out at CES. I had one at my door shortly after the show.

Design
I like the design of the deepblue2 because it doesn't have any. Or, I should say, it has very little designed visual character. Personally, I like a plain black speaker that disappears—I want to hear it, not see it. The problem with strong design elements is that you'll get strong mixed emotions about a product and people will be buying it, or not, to some degree on looks, when sound is the thing that matters.

deepblue2_PeachtreeAudio_Photo_OLDvsNEW

While it's little more than a black box, I prefer the stealth look of the new deepblue2 to the stronger, but potentially less attractive for some, design of the original deepblue.

The look of the deepblue2 is, to me, is completely a reflection of it's nature as a speaker. The front face of this rather large table-top speaker (9.1" x 14.2" x 6.5", 230 x 3 60 x 164mm) is almost entirely covered by a perforated metal grill, behind which are the systems driver elements. Top and sides are matte black, soft-touch silicon rubber, rear panel is hard plastic. Illuminated control buttons are capacitive touch and rest within a gloss black plastic panel atop the unit.

deepblue2_PeachtreeAudio_Photo_SpeakerLayout

Deepblue features mid-range and tweeters on angled panels for better dispersion of left and right channels into the room.

The front grill has slightly angled panels to each side of center behind which are the 3" mid-range and 1" silk-dome tweeter drivers for the left and right channels. Behind the center of the front panel is the 6.5" low-frequency driver used in mono by both left and right channels.

Features
The deepblue2 is definitely not what I would call "feature rich". It exists, it seems to me, to do one thing well (play music) and to do it for as wide an audience as possible. Which means: plain vanilla good looks, and dead-simple operation. This is not nearly as easy to pull of as it sounds, and the deepblue2 does it quite well.

There are only three ways to connect to the deepblue2: Bluetooth; digital optical, and analog line-in. Both the Toslink optical (up to 24/96) and 3.5mm stereo jack line-in, along with the AC power connector, are located in the very small rear panel area. Bluetooth receiver is aptX capable, and will hold pairing for up to 5 other devices.

deepblue2_PeachtreeAudio_Photo_Controls

deepblue2 can be controlled from a touch sensitive panel atop the unit, or with the included remote control.

Control of the deepblue2 is very simple using either the top panel buttons or the included remote. One difference between the two is that the remote has separate buttons for each of the three inputs while the top panel has one button to select and toggle between the rear panel inputs. The other difference—and it's kind of a big one, so don't loose the remote—is that you have a bass level adjustment on the remote. Very nice, and we'll talk more about the bass adjustment when we get to the sound.

The deepblue2 has no battery and is AC powered only, so it's not a speaker for portable use. It does have an indent at the top of the rear panel as a hand hold for convenient carrying, but its fairly large size and 16 lb. weight make the deepblue2 a unit more likely to live in a semi-permanent place in your home, and be available for movement occasionally when needed elsewhere.

Human Factors and Ergonomics
Huh? You learn something every day if you keep your eyes open. When I review headphones, the section I write about how well they fit and how comfortable they are I call "ergonomics". But I always though of ergonomics as the physical suitability of a product, not about it its cognitive suitability. As I searched for the proper word for how well suited the deepblue2 is to being easily controlled and integrated into everyday life (I was thinking "use paradigm"), I stumbled onto the Wiki page for "Human Factors and Ergonomics", and the sub-category "Cognitive Ergonomics", which is about the "mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system."

The deepblue2 is wireless and extremely simple. It has no app. It relies on the user to already have all they need on their phone, or to be able to set-up a wired connection to a player through optical or analog inputs. In this day and age, is being that simple a reasonable approach? My experience so far leads me to believe it can indeed work fairly well.

For example, I had the kids over for a dinner the other night (home made pizza). Usually, when I entertain, I have a lap-top out with Tidal open and just let people select music as they wish. Well, when the kids discovered they could just play music from their phones, the lap-top just wasn't the path of least resistance to their favorite music anymore. With the deepblue2, the kids had a blast just switching back and forth between each other's phones as the evening progressed. Yes, a simple music playing device like the deepblue2 remains cognitively ergonomic in todays world.

Of course, this mode of musical control behavior isn't limited to the deepblue2, pretty much any bluetooth speaker could enable it. The problem is, just about any bluetooth speaker I've experienced doesn't have near the room filling authority of the deepblue2—the Bluesound Pulse might be the exception, but even it doesn't have quite the bass extension as I remember it. I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, but my point is that for the first time I was able to encourage visitors to connect up to a bluetooth speaker and not have the audiophile in me feel like we were sacrificing a satisfactory listening experience in the process. The deepblue2 was not only a useful general purpose speaker that everyone in the family instantly knew how to use, it also was capable of sounding really good for every one as well.

Let's talk about the sound...

COMPANY INFO
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sales@peachtreeaudio.com
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ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
johthor's picture

It could just be me but I think a lot of people are going to feel that they do not want a product that has to be reset in a somewhat complicated fashion every time a phone or any other blue tooth enabled device is used. I am also having trouble with the reconciling the fact that you took two long paragraphs to explain the settings for the volume and then said "The deepblue2 absolutely delivers no muss-no fuss performance"

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Well, the whole loudness contour thing is a little complicated to explain, but it does make it very easy to use once you know how you like it set.
spyder1's picture

Tyll,

You did'nt test deepblue2 with hi-rez music. I play hi-rez music from a Geek Out 1000, and the deepblue2 sounds, "Phenomenal!"

zobel's picture

A very good, very old idea are tone controls. They should be on the box. A switchable loudness control function would be nice there, if a loudness control feature is needed to be included, which seems debatable, especially considering the included bass control on the remote, which should have been on the box as well.

Sounds like the 440 Watt power rating of the D amp is way, way, way, unreal. No doubt it plays loud, but how loud? It's speakers can't handle anything like 440 watts, and even if there was that much power, I imagine most of the output would be distortion. Whatever happened to IHF standards? You simple can't trust the power output claims of todays D amps and T amps.

I like the idea of this thing, and have built some myself, but not having a rechargeable battery is a drawback. I like being able to use my 19 volt power tool lithium batteries to power a unit this size. I want the unit to be weatherproof too, and have built a couple that are, but it would increase the cost of this DB2.

I like the fact that these are not ported speakers. Sealed speakers will give better low bass and tighter bass in general over ported systems if designed properly, and it seems this is. I know people will get a lot of good music out of this DB2, with just the non defeatable loudness control function instead of bass and treble tone controls which would be much more flexible and useful in different spaces, as well as much more user friendly, (or ergonomic if you prefer), especially for a unit that really doesn't necessarily need a remote.

I like your reviews of this kind of gear Tyll! Headphones can be a bit too solitary, and it is so much fun to share tunes, and rock out together!

bludragon's picture

Well it is 200W for the single bass driver, the rest is split between the other drivers. The fact that is a sealed box means this makes sense. My guess is that they use the seemingly excessive amp power to eq the bass driver to play lower than it would otherwise. This is a pretty neat solution and can sound very good. Some sealed subs to this as well.

bludragon's picture

Very interesting to see this review. In terms of audio fidelity, would it be possible to compare this to a pair of powered speakers of similar cost (for example the audio engine or adam audio speakers that have been mentioned in previous articles)? I know you lose the stereo effect, but if you put that to one side and consider a pair of powered speakers next to each other, or this on a hard surface, would there be a big gulf in performance?

Tyll Hertsens's picture

It's kind of apples to oranges. If you're talking about what the deepblue2 is for---filling up a room with background music or casual near-by listening---I would say it would slay the two small desktop sized speakers due to its excellent bass response. If you're talking about which is better for close up listening on a desk-top while using a computer, I'd say the imaging of speakers causes a stereo pair to win out.

But to answer your question as best I can, the deepblue2 sounds pretty darn good; I would guess right in the same league as $500/pr self-powered speakers...except way better bass response.

bludragon's picture

Thanks for the detailed reply. Well now I am seriously considering this over my previous idea of wall mounting a pair of powered speakers. Your description of what this is for is pretty much exactly what I want, albeit with the occasional ability to rock out, but the audiophile in me is more than a little prejudiced against anything Bluetooth.

mat's picture

If you're not interested in portability or bluetooth, then I would bet a pair of JBL LSR308s would blow the deepblue2 away for about $100 less. I haven't actually heard the JBLs or the deepblue2, but with the JBLs you'll get two sealed 8s vs a single sealed 6.5" and a much wider soundstage. It's worth looking into at least. I'd also look at a pair of JBL LSR305s with a separate powered subwoofer if you have the means to hook connect it.

mat's picture

Sorry, I just realized the LSR308s are actually ported. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. It's just a different design with it's own advantages and disadvantages compared to sealed. Definitely check out some reviews and try to get a demo if you have an opportunity to.

branon's picture

Thanks for the good review. I am really enjoying my deepblue 2 which supplanted a Sonos Play 5 in the kitchen.
My own 2 cents
a) The idea of toggling between different bluetooth devices is very clever. Extremely useful when there are multiple paired phones lying in the vicinity.
b) Placement is important. When I received it, I simply put it on the countertop in front of the Sonos and played it. The sound was harsh and horrible. When I removed the Sonos and placed the deepblue against the wall, the sound was completely transformed.
Branon

riker1384's picture

I have a NAD Viso 1 and it's fantastic for a one-piece system. Which would you say is better?

bajtucha's picture

HI! How do you feel about this speaker in comparison to B&W Zeppelin or Vifa Copenhagen?
I'm looking for something to feel my 30m2 living room with jazz music.

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