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I’ve reviewed a lot of wireless speakers over the last decade-plus of writing gadget reviews on GeekDad. While they’ve certainly improved over the years, there’s always been one overriding factor that made such speakers just not as good as “real” wired speakers: the compromises that have to be made to balance portability, power, and depth of sound. A portable speaker must be small and light enough to be, well, portable. But batteries aren’t light, so manufacturers tend to try and balance battery life and power against weight and portability, ultimately leading to speakers whose sound isn’t as full as we’d really like.
Well, the folks behind Soundboks basically took the whole portability piece of the equation, and almost, but not entirely, set it aside in favor of delivering a speaker that actually sounds like you want a speaker to sound, which is why I jumped to give one a try when they offered.
The Soundboks is massive. It’s 25.6 × 17 × 13 inches, and weighs in at 34 pounds! This isn’t a speaker you toss in your backpack for some mild background music at the beach. This is a full-sized, pro-grade party/event speaker that drives amazingly full and loud sound. It has two 10” 96dB woofers and one 1” 104dB compression driver tweeter, all powered by three 72W class D amplifiers. It’s also completely ruggedized, built out of poplar wood, with a water resistant (IP65) exterior, silicone corner bumpers to protect the pointy parts, an aluminum frame, and steel grill. You can take this places, and it will survive.
As a wireless speaker, it connects via Bluetooth 5.0, and if you have them, will also connect to up to 5 more Soundboks to create a wall of sound that would satisfy Marty McFly. As a single unit, it’s shockingly good. I’m sitting out in my tiki gazebo as I write this post with SomaFm’s Space Station channel feeding electronica through the Soundboks, and it’s pounding the tunes out at me. I can hear the full range of music, from a thumping bass that no portable speaker with little 2″ drivers can dream of achieving, all the way up to a clear, crisp treble.
As for the power component, they have developed a very impressive solution. You can run it off the included plugin charger, that also juices up the battery pack, or off the included Batteryboks, a swappable 7.8 Ahr pack (that’s 78,000mAh if you want to compare it to the little phone charger you have in your bag) that will drive the speaker for up to 40 hours at mid-rage volume. That duration pretty much kills every other smaller portable speaker out there.
And beyond the Bluetooth connectivity, Soundboks is also ready for wired connections via 1.4″ or 3.5mm stereo jacks or even XLR, for proper mics and other musical instruments. And there are output jacks as well, so you can pass through the Soundboks to other devices. This is another step up that makes the Soundboks a pro-level solution for parties and other events, where you may need music or public address capabilities, and while you need to be portable, you don’t want to compromise (there’s that word again!) on the volume or clarity of the sound.
I’ll admit that the Soundboks may be overkill for a lot of people. You may not need to be able to play your music at above 90dB. You may not need 40 hours of playtime, or the ability to connect external mics or other instruments. And you may not want to lug around a 34 pound box just for some tunes by the pool.
But, on the other hand, if you DO want these things; if you really want your parties, events, and social gatherings to rumble with sound, then Soundboks is an amazing solution. Ultimately, with Soundboks, you will be the life of the party.
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