Review: Braun LE01 and Braun LE03 wireless speakers

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Today we reviewed the Braun LE01 and Braun LE03 wireless speakers that mark the return of the German brand in the world of hi-fi and, more specifically, the wireless audio market. Braun’s talented designers, notably Dieter Rams, were responsible for many innovations since the mid fifties and now Braun has decided to revamp the design of its iconic LE1 speaker.

Braun LE03 and Braun LE01: instantly appealing design and features.

New ways of distributing and listening to music have left their mark. Compatible with WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, the speakers in the Braun LE range can stream music from a smartphone, a tablet or a computer. They also include Google Assistant, which allows you to control music playback and any smart objects in your home vocally. 

The Braun LE03 speaker retails at €379, the Braun LE02 at €799, and the Braun LE01 at €1199. Are the audio performance and user experience as good as they should be?

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: the brand

Since 1921, Braun has forged itself a great reputation internationally with iconic designs based on the concept “less is more” that has inspired designers around the world for almost a century.

Dieter Rams at his desk with the Braun T1000 radio in front of him and a Braun audio system on Vitsœ 606 furniture designed by him in the background.

At the heart of this concept is the desire to simplify, clarify and improve everyday objects, a goal embodied by the designer Dieter Rams, who from 1956 onwards was responsible for many Braun audio innovations.

See our article Braun Audio: iconic design in the service of sound

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: packaging & accessories

Each speaker in the Braun LE range comes in a very beautiful grey cardboard box inside of which it is carefully packed and wrapped in a fabric cover. The Braun LE03 speaker comes with a mains cable (1.5m long), silicone pads, a quick start guide and safety information.

The Braun LE01 speaker has the same accessories as well as a pair of stainless steel feet.

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: presentation

The wireless speakers in the Braun LE series are compatible with WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. They are ideal for streaming music from a smartphone, tablet or computer and feature Google Assistant so that you can control music playback and other smart objects in your home vocally. An app is also available that allows you to configure each speaker and adjust the bass and treble levels.

Multi-room & Stereo

The German manufacturer’s Braun LE wireless speaker range forms a multi-room audio ecosystem. Each speaker can be used alone to listen to music in a room, or combined with other models in the range to stream music throughout the home.

Note that the Braun LE speakers’ multi-room function isn’t limited to speakers from this range. They can be paired with any speaker or system compatible with Chromecast or AirPlay 2. Several elements can be associated in the Google Home app or the Home (iOS) app to create a multi-room system.

Stereo pairing

Two identical Braun LE speakers can be paired and used in the same room, creating a true stereo sound system. It is recommended to use the Braun LE01 and Braun LE02 speakers vertically when used as a stereo pair so one speaker can reproduce the left channel and the other the right channel.

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When they are paired and positioned vertically, the Braun LE01 speakers act like a true pair of stereo speakers.

Design

The speakers in the Braun LE range have a minimalist design, largely inspired by the brand’s iconic releases: the influence of the LE speakers designed by Dieter Rams in the late 1950s is evident…

With their elongated shape, the Braun LE01 and Braun LE02 can be used both horizontally and vertically.

Each of the speakers in the Braun LE range features an aluminum cabinet with rounded corners. The grille on the rear panel of the Braun LE01 and Braun LE02 speakers is made of laser cut aluminum, while the front of all three speakers is covered with ultrasonic welded acoustic fabric. The LE01 and LE02 models come with a stainless steel stand. Each element has a meticulous and high-quality finish.

The manufacturer also offers a range of stands specifically designed for the three speakers: the Braun LE03 Floor Stand, Braun LE02 Floor Stand and Braun LE01 Floor Stand.

Intuitive control interface

The Braun LE multi-room speakers aren’t just controlled vocally. They can also be controlled using the interface on the top panel. This interface lets you play and pause music, change tracks and adjust the volume without having to take your smartphone out of your pocket. To ensure privacy, each of the connected speakers in the Braun LE series has a button to deactivate the microphones.

Naturally, the Braun LE wireless speakers can be controlled using the dedicated mobile app that manages audio playback and even offers separate bass and treble control.

Audio design

The Braun LE wireless speakers have a design combining front-firing drivers and passive radiators at the rear to improve the depth and range of the lows.

The Braun LE03 speaker features a low frequency driver that is almost 3.5” in diameter combined with a 5 x 3” passive radiator. The highs and mids are reproduced by a 1.5” tweeter, and the two drivers are powered by a class D amplifier whose power isn’t disclosed by the manufacturer.

The larger flagship Braun LE01 speaker is equipped with five front-firing drivers and two passive radiators at the back. Two 5.25” long-throw drivers with aluminum cones reproduce the lowest frequencies, helped by two 8 x 4.5” radiators. Three 2.5” drivers reproduce the upper mids and highs. All the drivers are powered by three class D amplifiers whose power isn’t disclosed either, controlled by a 32-bit ARM audio processor.

Connectivity

The Braun LE speakers offer a wide variety of connectivity options, as they are all WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast compatible. Consequently, you can stream music wirelessly from many sources: iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, laptops, connected DAPs…

The Braun LE speakers also feature Google Assistant so that you can use voice commands to control playback, as well as the different smart objects in your home.

The Braun LE speakers can be connected to the local network wirelessly via WiFi or using an Ethernet network cable (RJ45 port). An auxiliary input also lets you connect an external source using a mini-jack audio cable.

Braun LE01: key specifications

Operating modes

  • Braun LE01: integrated stereo speaker (positioned horizontally), mono (positioned vertically)
  • Possible to pair two Braun LE01 speakers for stereo restitution (one speaker per stereo channel)

Speaker

  • 2 x 5.25” woofers, aluminum cone, NdFe motor
  • 3 x 2.5” drivers
  • 2 x 8” x 4.5” custom-made passive radiators
  • 3 x class D amplifiers
  • Frequency response: 62Hz to 21.5kHz (-6dB)

Audio

  • 32-bit ARM digital signal processor
  • HD audio transmission: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Supported audio formats: HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC, Opus

Connectivity

  • Apple AirPlay 2
  • Integrated Chromecast™
  • Bluetooth® 4.2 with AAC
  • 3.5mm auxiliary input

Features

  • Optimization of audio equalization based on placement in the room
  • Automatic source switching (WiFi, Bluetooth, Aux)
  • Multi-room and stereo pairing: AirPlay 2, Chromecast
  • 4 x microphones for voice recognition
  • Privacy button to deactivate the microphones

Control

  • Voice control: Google Assistant
  • Physical controls: privacy button, action button, play/pause, next track, previous track, volume +, volume -, Bluetooth pairing

Network

  • Dual-band WiFi ((WLAN 802.11a/b/g/g/n/ac, 2.4 and 5GHz)
  • 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port

Compatibility

  • iPhones and iPads running iOS 10.3 and later versions
  • Android™ phones running Android 5.0 and later versions
  • Android tablets running Android 6.0 and later versions

General

  • Speaker dimensions (mm): 700 (W) x 271 (H) x 99 (D)
  • Speaker dimensions with table stand (mm): 700 (W) x 323 (H) x 159 (D)
  • Weight: 8.98kg

Materials

  • Aluminum speaker cabinet
  • Rear grille in laser cut aluminum
  • Ultrasonic welded fabric speaker grille cover
  • Custom-made stainless steel feet
  • Finishes: Black, White

Power and environmental performance

  • Operating temperatures: 0°C to 40°C
  • Storage temperatures: 0°C to 40°C
  • Humidity range: 10% to 90% max (without condensation)
  • UV damage: no UV damage for 3 years
  • Operating voltage: 100 to 240V
  • Frequency: 50 to 60Hz

Box contents

  • LE01 speaker
  • AC adapter (1.5m cable)
  • Stainless steel table stand, natural finish
  • Silicone pads
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety guide

Braun LE03: key specifications

The Braun LE03 speaker provides the same wireless features as the Braun LE01. It is more compact and provides mono sound.

Speaker

  • 1 x 3.5” woofer, aluminum cone, NdFe motor
  • 1 x 1.5” driver
  • 1 x 5” x 3” custom-made passive radiator
  • 1 x class D amplifier
  • Frequency response: 70Hz to 21kHz (-6dB)

General

  • Dimensions (mm): 170 (W) x 170 (H) x 84 (D)
  • Weight: 1.65kg

Materials

  • Aluminum speaker cabinet
  • Ultrasonic welded fabric speaker grille cover
  • Finishes: Black, White

Box contents

  • LE03 speaker
  • AC adapter (1.5m cable)
  • Silicone pads
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety guide

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: configuration

For our review of the Braun LE01 and Braun LE03 wireless speakers, we decided to use their Bluetooth connectivity as well as their integrated Chromecast to play music from the Qobuz app (Studio subscription) with an Android smartphone.

Bluetooth pairing only takes a few seconds. First, press the speaker’s Bluetooth button to enter pairing mode. Then go into the Bluetooth menu on your smartphone, tablet or computer and select the speaker from the list of available devices. You can then listen to music from any streaming app or from the connected device’s audio player.

With both the Chromecast protocol and AirPlay, the smartphone simply needs to be connected to the same local network as the speaker to be able to select it as a playback device from any audio app via the appropriate icon. Once each speaker has been set up and added to a room via the Home app (iOS) or Google Home app, music can easily be played on either speaker, or on several at the same time.

We installed the Braun LE03 speaker in our kitchen so that we could enjoy our music and podcasts. The Braun LE01 speaker was set up in the living room, mounted on a dedicated stand and placed opposite the sofa.

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: listening impressions

Braun LE03

We began the test of the Braun LE03 speaker by listening to the episode of Pop N’ Co from October 24, 2020 in which Rebecca Manzoni hosts Alain Souchon. Both the journalist’s and the signer’s voices were very clear and perfectly intelligible when they took turns talking. When listening to Âmes Fifties, the track that opens the album of the same name, the speaker displayed accuracy and delivered the music with conviction. The arrangement placed great emphasis on clear instrumental sounds to enhance the singer’s lower vocal range. The Braun LE03 wasn’t excessively bright. The listening experience was balanced and even offered nice energy in the lows, which brought depth and substance to the sound.

The Braun LE03 speaker is designed for close-range listening and therefore isn’t cut out to provide sound in large spaces. That said, it knows how to make its voice heard with almost no saturation when the volume is turned up. But ideally, it is recommended to use this speaker in a kitchen or bedroom.

Braun LE01

The Braun LE01 speaker can be placed as is on a shelf by sticking small adhesive pads on the bottom of the cabinet. It can also be placed on a piece of furniture after equipping it with the included chrome table stand.

Lastly, you can also mount the speaker on the dedicated Braun LE01 Floor Stand, which is what we did to make it easier to place in our living room.

This €279 stand is ergonomic and robust. Made of high-quality, heavy and sturdy black steel, it conveniently allows you to hide the cable inside the pole. The speaker is extremely secure when mounted on this stand.

Once the Braun LE01 was positioned in front of the sofa, we played our test playlist via the Qobuz app by using the speaker’s Chromecast connectivity.

As with the smallest model in the range, this speaker provided great clarity and offered the listener a wealth of details. The sound was generally balanced with nicely structured frequency ranges and smoothness. The high-mids were a little accentuated, but not excessively so. The highs were bright and clearly outlined, the lows reactive, spacious and nuanced. The speaker didn’t reach exceedingly low frequencies, but those it did offer were pleasantly dynamic and well-defined.

Concerning spatialization, the Braun LE01 speaker didn’t provide a very wide soundstage despite its stereo design. The stereo effects were audible, but didn’t spread out far to the left and right of the speaker. Similarly, the sound wasn’t extremely deep and remained rather frontal and centered. It is recommended to pair two stand-mounted Braun LE01 speakers if you are looking for a better structured and more spacious soundstage.

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: compared to…

Audio Pro Drumfire

During our review of the Audio Pro Drumfire speaker, we were impressed by the generosity in the lower end of the spectrum thanks to its separate subwoofer equipped with an 8” driver. We also enjoyed the balance and reactivity of the mids, but the highs lacked some structure and softness. The reproduction provided by the Braun LE01 speaker is globally more balanced. The bass is leaner and more responsive. The mids are well rendered and the highs are more precise and detailed, with beautiful clarity that isn’t tiring to listen to.

Elipson W35

The Elipson W35 speaker offers responsive, powerful and well-controlled lows, even at high volume. It goes a little deeper than the Braun LE01. The French speaker also produces more realistic and better integrated mids that aren’t as prominent. The W35’s highest frequencies are very smooth. They aren’t as vibrant or detailed as those of the Braun speaker, which is brighter in this frequency range, giving it greater clarity and a little more accuracy. The sound signature of the Elipson W35 is a little warmer overall.

In terms of spatialization, the French speaker is more impressive thanks to its spherical design: its left and right drivers project sound outwards, adequately widening the sound field. Lastly, its optical input is an advantage when connecting a 4K TV, for example.

Naim Mu-so 2

Like the Braun speaker, the Naim Mu-so 2 displays nice overall balance with crisp and realistic highs that are bright without being aggressive. The lows are well structured, the mids are realistic without being emphasized. In terms of spatialization, the soundstage is a little wider than that of the Braun LE01. The music has more space to breathe and isn’t restricted by the dimensions of the speaker.

The Naim Mu-so 2 is much more generous when it comes to connectors. It has an HDMI ARC connector, an optical input and a USB audio port while the Braun speaker only features a mini-jack input in addition to its network connectivity.

Braun LE01 & Braun LE03: conclusion

The Braun LE01 wireless multi-room speaker and its smaller counterpart the Braun LE03 are appealing in more ways than one. Their iconic design, quality workmanship, ease of use, network connectivity and acoustic qualities place them among the best in their category.

They deliver a clear, powerful and well structured sound that is pretty balanced, with many details for the listener to enjoy. The energetic and reactive lows could be a little deeper to offer an even more immersive and realistic sound.

It is a shame that the connectors are so sparse: an optical input and/or an HDMI ARC connector would have been a plus.

What we liked

  • The design and build quality
  • The simple setup and ease of use
  • The clear and detailed sound, with satisfying lows

What we would have liked

  • A more spacious soundstage
  • An optical input and an HDMI ARC connector

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