The speaker system is a huge upgrade to the speakers normally provided and used with computers. They are so good that they work very well as main speakers in my media room. Whether listening to music or to movies, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers were never fatiguing and they were quite revealing of the source material too.
Samson MEDIAONE M50
- 5.25” Copolymer woofers with butyl surrounds
- ¾” silk dome high frequency driver set in custom=designed wave guide
- Front panel volume control
- Front panel stereo 1/8” (3.5mm) headphone jack that will mute speakers when attached
- Rear panel RCA and 1/8” (3.5mm) inputs that accept -10dBV line level input
- 1/8” (3.5mm) stereo / sub output
- Solid MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) construction
- Auto standby mode to reduce power consumption
- Built-in 40 X 2 watts (Peak) amp
When the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers arrived, I was considering the pros and cons of the speaker size. If you love music and movies, a good sounding set of speakers can greatly enhance your experience. I know from experience what great speakers can do. For instance, large speakers can provide a full body immersive experience into film or music, or games. However, not everyone can place large speakers into their space. I love the sound of big speakers, especially if they are horn type, or monitors like Wilson Audio or B&W. However, big speakers may not be the right choice. Space, décor, or preference may dictate small speakers. Fortunately, there are many options for the audio enthusiast to choose. Which brings us to the Samson MEDIAONE M50 featured in this review. If you need speakers that are easy to use and can be placed next to a computer monitor or on a bookshelf, then the Samson MEDIAONE M50 are a potential solution for music, movies and game lovers.
2 x 40W
Product Dimensions (Each):
10.75″ x 7″ 8.25″ (273mm x 180mm x 209mm)
Product Weight (Pair):
Samson, Bookshelf Speakers, Speakers, Samson MEDIAONE M50, Bookshelf Speakers Review 2019
The Samson MEDIAONE M50 is a two-way powered monitor speaker that provides full range sound from a small package. For a possible upgrade, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 can accommodate a separate powered sub-woofer. By utilizing advanced drivers, superior design, and good electronics, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 is poised to bring excellent sound.
Let’s consider the drivers or speakers themselves. Samson engineers have elected to use a 5.25” polypropylene driver. This type of driver has a history of excellent sound reproducing qualities. The size of the driver is enough to provide good low frequencies but is also very well suited to the all-important mid-range and high frequencies. As for the extreme high frequencies, the designers chose a silk dome tweeter. My experience with this type of tweeter has always been very positive. In my recollection, all the speakers that I have listened to that utilized a silk dome tweeter have provided sweet, extended highs without edginess or harshness.
The Samson MEDIAONE M50’s 2-way speaker design is preferred by audio engineers in near field listening. Because the speakers are close to the listener, the drivers don’t have to work as hard to deliver accurately, the sound reproduction and the musical details of a recording with less power and distortion.
The cabinet is made from MDF, a material used in most high performing speakers today. The front or baffle of the speaker is contoured and shaped to help shape the musical wave form coming from the speaker drivers. This is a design choice used by more elaborate and ambitious speaker designers.
I like the way the speakers look, too. They have a clean, polished appearance. The Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers do not have grills, and I did not miss a front grill at all. Ok, so I will admit that I am a tech-geek, I like to see those speaker drivers!
The Samson MEDIAONE M50 features an internal class A/B amplifier that produces 40 watts per channel. Many powered speakers utilize class D amplifier technology which can be more power efficient, so it’s unusual to see solid-state amps usually class A/B. The designers of the Samson MEDIAONE M50 were striving for studio quality sound in their decision to use class A/B technology to power the speakers. I believe that this a good design choice, and I like that the designers went this route.
The rear panel of the Samson MEDIAONE M50 has a port or connection for a powered subwoofer. This will give the owner the option of upgrading to a 2.1 system easily to give the owner a true full range speaker system. In addition, alternatively, the rear panel also has a bass boost button for enhancing the low end of the speaker.
A front panel headphone jack is provided for private listening. The speakers will automatically mute when the headphone jack is plugged in.
The Samson MEDIAONE M50 was easy to set up in my home. In my media room, I have a long coffee table below my wall-mounted Panasonic LED TV. This table provided a good stand for the M50 speaker pair. I had recently purchased an Amazon Fire TV stick for my LED flat screen TV. Since I could source video and music from the Amazon Fire stick, I thought this would be a good way to review the MEDIAONE M50.
The pair of MEDIAONE M50 speakers come as a main speaker that has the volume and on/off knob on the bottom right front with various inputs that include AC power input and source input as well as outputs for the second or slave speaker and optional sub-woofer. The main MEDIAONE M50 has both RCA and 1/8” plug inputs located on the back of the speaker panel for source input. In my video system, I have an optical cable connected to the optical out of the Panasonic LED TV. Using a basic D to A converter box, I connected the optical cable to the D to A box and then used a short RCA pair cable to connect to the main MEDIAONE M50 speaker. (For clarity, I will explain that the signal coming from an optical cable or output is digital or PCM. To hear the information, a converter is necessary to convert the digital signal into analog, so it can be heard over speakers that do not have an internal D to A converter.)
The Samson MEDIAONE 50 also has a detachable AC power cord that connects to the back of the main speaker. The second or slave speaker is connected to the main via a 1/8” mini plug. I connected the AC cable, and the mini plug to both speakers and then turned up the volume knob on the front of the main speaker. I usually hold my breath at times like these because even though I am very meticulous, there are times when I overlook something or worse there is a problem with the system or component. I cued up The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and hit the play episode button and voila! There was sound.
After breaking in the speakers by watching movies and video programs with my wife for a few weeks, I settled in for some serious listening. I had recently been introduced to a singer new to me, Nellie McKay by my RCAS (River City Audio Society) club friend Luther. I was struck by the immediacy and clarity of the recording. I was more impressed by the music and voice of Nellie McKay.
Luther has one of the more elaborate systems that I have heard. He has a large, custom-designed floor standing speaker system that utilizes the midrange horn from the Altec Valencia speakers along with a 15” sub from JBL and a horn tweeter from JBL. The enclosure is custom made and the crossover is also custom. Luther powers the speakers with single ended Antique Sound Lab AQ1006 845DT MK2 Monoblock amplifiers and he has a Sonic Euphoria Shanling transformer pre-amp connected to his tube Shanling CD player. He was demonstrating the new Nellie McKay CD Sister Orchid in his system to me when I got hooked on the music.
I give you this background because it would seem folly to compare Luther’s Goliath of a system with the diminutive Samson speakers. Or would it be? I was delighted to find the Nellie McKay CD on my Amazon Prime music. As I began to stream the music the first thing that I noticed on the first track (My Romance) was the placement of Nellie’s voice far beyond the edge of the left speaker. The diminutive Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers seemingly disappeared. Notes, voices and instruments floated above and below and around the speakers. The close-up recording of Nellie’s voice was wonderfully rendered. Her unique voice came across with delicacy and with the sense that she was in the room.
Since I was sitting far from the speakers, I pulled up closer for true near field listening. I listened to the track Lazybones. Nellie’s ukulele playing was rendered with good detail, I could almost see her fingers lightly strumming the strings. Her voice was vividly portrayed by the Samson MEDIAONE M50. I could easily hear her nose and head resonance as the notes traveled from her throat. Nellie’s harmonica on the track had the right reedy and steely quality. It was delightful to hear Nellie’s creative, re-imagining of the classic music she sings. If you get the chance to hear this music, please give it a try. I’m hooked.
So how does the Samson MEDIAONE M50 sound in comparison to Luther’s big system? Not close, but not embarrassed by the comparison. In fact, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 accurately portrayed the essential qualities of the music. What I experienced was that the Samson MEDIAONE M50 is capable of high levels of musicality and is a system that honors the music.
One of my favorite early music groups is Hirundo Maris (translated as “Sea Swallow”), featuring Arianna Savall on soprano voice and harp, and Petter Udland Johansen on tenor voice and hardanger fiddle. The group has several recordings on You Tube that are very enjoyable. On the Hirundo Maris recording of El Mariner, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 recreated the atmosphere of the old church where the performance was recorded. At the beginning you hear the shuffling and moving of the audience and performers as they are about to start the performance. When the music begins the percussionist is creating the sound of the ocean with a large drum shaped instrument that is filled with gourds. The Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers will allow you to hear individual gourds rolling in the enclosure, and crisply I might add. The crispness carries over to the ensemble of harp, dobro guitar, hardanger fiddle, and string bass. The delicacy of the acoustic instruments is well played by the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers. The speakers also preserved Arriana Savall’s beautiful soprano voice and Petter Johansen’s lusty tenor.
I mentioned the crispness of the sound and as I listened, I realized that the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers were revealing the rather “hot” sound of the recording. I decided to try the excellent recording of this piece by the ensemble on the ECM label. The album by Hirundo Maris is titled, Chants du Sud et du Nord.
Now what I have come to expect always from ECM, is the excellent sonic quality of their recordings. This album did not disappoint. On the recording of El Mariner, the Samson MEDIAONE M50 allowed the music and voices to soar. The drum had very good weight, and the MEDIAONE M50 revealed texture on the percussive instruments. I was drawn into the music by the recording and the reproduction by the Samson MEDIAONE M50. The entire recording of Chants du Sud et du Nord is wonderful, and the Samson MEDIAONE M50 did a very god job of presenting the material.
I next tried a film, Universal Pictures acclaimed production The Soloist, featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Jaime Foxx. The film retells the true story of a Los Angeles Times reporter that writes a series of articles about a homeless man that can play classical music on his violin, and subsequently a cello. I made the decision to not use a sub for this picture. I know that if you have a decent sized room (and I have a medium sized living room for my video system) a sub will enhance even large floor standing speakers.
I wanted to give the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers a challenge. As the movie begins, we hear the smooth riding chain of a ten-speed bike rolling down a street and then Mexican Rancherita music playing as a rumbling pickup truck lumbers down the street. The film then cuts to the noisy click, click of a newspaper printing machine. As the film cuts back and forth, I was impressed with the Samson MEDIAONE’s ability to convey the atmosphere and depth of the different environments presented in the short sequences. Although the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers are small, they sounded big when necessary in my room. When the narration by Robert Downey Jr begins, I noticed how clearly his voice was rendered. Throughout the film the sounds of the mix and music are presented clearly, appropriately, and the voices remain understandable.
If I had to compare the sound of the Samson MEDIAONE M50 to the TV speakers, there is no comparison. I have listened to more expensive sound bars that will not do justice to the soundtrack of a movie like the Samson MEDIAONE M50. What about the bass? Well, I can tell you that I did not miss having a sub in the system. The Samson MEDIAONE M50 filled my living room with enough sound to make the movie compelling. Yes, a subwoofer will add to the experience of watching a movie or listening to music, but on their own the Samson MEDIAONE M50 speakers sound grand despite their size.
I did try the bass boost button on the film. Some may prefer the added bass energy, but I thought the loss of midrange clarity and detail was too big a penalty. In my system, the timbre of the voices were tilted away from neutrality and towards tubbiness or boominess with the bass boost engaged. However, you may find that in your environment the bass boost will be a welcome adjustment. I am glad that the Samson MEDIAONE M50 has this option to accommodate different rooms and or taste for the listener.
The SAMSON MEDIAONE M 50 is a well-designed and thought-out product, and at a reasonable price. A no brainer purchase if it meets your needs.
- Great sound
- Compact size
- Eye catching design
There are many products available today for the personal audio user to select from, and as always there will be stand-out products. The Samson MEDIAONE M50 is a stand-out product because of its combination of value, sound, and ease of use. There are smaller powered speakers and bigger ones, but the Samson MEDIAONE M50 packs a lot of performance for the size and the price. If you need a compact monitor speaker system for a small or average sized room, you need to consider the Samson. I recommended it highly.