Sonodyne Malhar Audio’s vintage-inspired speaker exudes nostalgia.
It appears that most of us have forgotten the pure sound’s context over time. These days, the noise produced by our Bluetooth speakers, TVs, and headphones is mostly artificial and loud with lots of bass. Yes, selecting audio has to be highly personal, but it also needs to be a decision made by the user that this is how they want to listen to their music.
An audio apparatus will occasionally appear attempting to emphasize the beauty of pure sound, which is more alive and natural. Of course, the Sonodyne Malhar is part of that product line.
The Malhar, manufactured by Sonodyne in Kolkata, is immediately noticeable as you take it out of the packaging. This one has a substantial 8 kilogram wooden cabinet that exudes a beatbox-like vibe and gives off the impression that it means business. Additionally, there’s a certain simplicity that makes those like me who have been around for a while feel a little nostalgic. Sonodyne Malhar boasts a broad soundstage with excellent fidelity, thanks to its two front-facing drivers and tweeters, which are surrounded by two side-facing radiators.
The top of the cabinet features a number of controls that allow you to change tunes and volume in addition to input types. Even the remote control is designed to prevent users from tinkering with the bass or treble levels on the Sonodyne Malhar. Easily switch between numerous sources that you can connect, including USB, optical, and auxiliary, based on what you have.
Certain audio equipment emits vibes that compel the user to listen to a particular genre of music. Not least because of its name, the Malhar gave me strong Carnatic, Hindustani, and Leonard Cohen feelings. I was correct, too.
I started with a Spotify Hindustani Classical playlist, which featured a lot of interpretations of ragas I had never heard of before. This was definitely a positive indicator for discovering new music. Never one to back down, I made due with the recognizable voice of Nirali Kartik and the less known Gurjari Todi.
Her voice soon filled the living room, drowning out the mild December this year. However, as planned, the Tanpura in the background takes center stage on the Malhar’s voice, allowing the listener to enter a meditative state alongside the Todi. Additionally, the sonic profile exudes a warmth that is nearly mellow, making it ideal for this time of year.
The mrudangam enters the mix with a richer composition, such as Bombay Jayashree’s Manasa Sancharare, turning on the radiators and demonstrating to us the speaker’s excellent control over deep lows. However, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was hearing her smooth voice at a Chennai Margazhi Sabha. That is what makes the Malhar Soundstage unique.
And the Sonodyne Malhar is not content with only classical. When you listen to a live performance of Fever or Chantal Chamberlain’s Besame Mucho in HiFi, you can experience Malhar’s rich sound profile. This speaker excels at isolating the vocals from the rest of the sound. With the vocals slightly ahead of the instrumentation, the song appears to be projected in three dimensions.
Interestingly, Apple Music and Spotify were being streamed over Bluetooth for all of this. To push the boundaries a little further, I downloaded Apple’s Classical Music app and looked for the London Philharmonic, who is once again up for Orchestra of the Year. Even though the level was not at maximum, the Bach Concerto for Oboe, Strings, and Continuo was very powerful, filling the room even though it took a few seconds to load.
The Vienna Philharmonic’s rendition of Mozart’s overture also produced a stereo effect that was striking, something that very few one-piece speakers could match. My house started to feel like Christmas all of a sudden. I continued so as not to leave my fifth-floor window’s neighbors wondering why there were reindeer outside.
The Sonodyne Malhar’s ability to remain faithful in versions that alternate between highs and lows, as with most orchestra compositions, is why I adored it. Additionally, the speaker is not hindered by loud levels. You won’t be let down because whatever the Malhar performs has a wholeness to it.
My only gripe is that the power lights are on top, making it frequently difficult to tell if the speaker is on. This implies that it continues to be connected to the phone without your awareness. On the front, the LEDs would be more beneficial. In addition, I hope this comes with a Wi-Fi version so I can start streaming to the Sonodyne Malhar without having to deal with my overactive smartphone.
The Sonodyne Malhar, which retails for Rs 37,500, is the kind of speaker that appeals to those who value purity in music and who share that appreciation. I would spend money on a speaker like this for my weekend morning sessions where I discover new music and revisit my favorite songs.
The Sonodyne Malhar is the kind of speaker that could easily be mistaken for a European audio masterpiece. And the fact that this is coming from an Indian business that is speaking up and telling the world that it’s time to listen to us makes me proud.