JBL Boombox Speaker Review

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No one doubts the influential role of the boombox throughout history. These portable sound systems were the reason behind the emergence of subcultures in the ‘80s and ‘90s. After specializing in Bluetooth audio and splash-proof devices, JBL has begun a whole new era with its Bombastic Boombox.

We tried this device out for weeks and couldn’t help but feel amazed at its volume and clarity of sound. Its flamboyant front certainly looks very good too and is simply the icing on the top.

It doesn’t come with any extra features, such as a built-in voice assistant. However, credit needs to be given where due, the JBL Boombox is an ideal mixture of incorporating musical history and modern sound quality that today’s music fans will appreciate.

What Are The Features Of The JBL Boombox?

The JBL Boombox has many outstanding features that make it an excellent option for music lovers. We’ve detailed some of them down below.

1. Design

The Boombox aligns with the basic design principles JBL has used throughout the years. Two passive radiators are featured in the unit, adding a bit of visual flair to an otherwise simple monochromatic appearance. The cylinder is home to the dual 20mm tweeters, receiving their power from the two 4-inch woofers, all of which have been symmetrically set under the grille.

2. Waterproof

Plastic and fabric have been used to create a water-resistant speaker, so you can take it with you anywhere.

3. Size

This speaker comes at an XL size. Weighing a good 11.6 pounds, the cylinder is kept in place with a sturdy handle so that you don’t have to worry about carrying it around on your shoulders. The heft seems to be just right when you take a look at the size of the speaker. Being 10 x 19.5 x 7.7 in height, width, and depth, it is surely anything but small.

4. User-Friendly

In user-friendly fashion, JBL has kept a few buttons at the front of the speaker: Play/pause, volume up/down, and Bluetooth. The former two are connected to the control of the user’s mobile device. Thus, there isn’t a separate control when linked with the Boombox. It doesn’t have any buttons to skip tracks either, so, we needed to double-tap play/pause to move a track forward. There is also a Connect+ button to create a link with other JBL stereo speakers.

5. Additional Features

The back of the JBM boombox has two USB ports (to charge phone batteries), the power adapter, a micro USB port to upgrade firmware, and a 3.5mm Aux-in. Strangely enough, JBL doesn’t add any audio cables which are compatible with these ports away from the box. Besides a power adaptor, there is nothing else.  It comes with a built-in mic for voice calls, and the body is IPX-7 rated, which means you don’t have to be concerned about any water splashes rain getting in the way of your Boombox fun.

6. JBL Connect

In case you wish to speed up the setup, you can use the JBL Connect app for Android and iOS. You don’t need them to use the Boombox. However, they can help switch between the Outdoor and Indoor modes, or from Party to Stereo, and vice-versa (which can only be done if you have linked the Boombox with other JBL speakers).

7. No Custom Audio Profile

One hitch noted was that the Boombox didn’t have an equalizer or a custom audio profile for you to adjust the sound according to your preferences. This is an aspect we would have preferred to see considering the worth of the speaker, and the fact that it is a feature commonly found on speakers with similar prices on the market.

Is the JBL Boombox worth it?

The Boombox has an Outdoor and Indoor mode. After testing both the Outdoor and Indoor modes of the speaker, we observed that the only real difference between them is the extra bass the Outdoor mode brings to the table. Although, even without that addition – the Boombox is loud enough.

A magnificent element is the lack of distortion the Boombox has even at higher volumes. You can adjust the audio spectrum to obtain more bass out of the Boombox. JBL did a great job at balancing the mids and highs to create a sound that turned out to be much clearer than had been expected.

Even though the speaker plays in mono without any physical stereo application, the Boombox sounds like that isn’t the case. It has enough to allow for instruments and vocals to feel distinct from each other. It needs to be kept in mind, though, that the Boombox is not an audiophile product, the accuracy of the music is altered by the heavy bass. However, the soundstage most definitely compensates for that. Most speakers tend to go a bit overboard, placing certain genres at risk. But this is where the Boombox is different – it was perfect for each genre we played.

We even tested it out with a TV using the Aux-In connection and were surprisingly happy with the result we saw. The Boombox is just what you want to witness the full impact of video games and action movies with heavy explosions and violent gunfights.

According to JBL, the Boombox has a rating of 24 hours of playback per charge. We witnessed that that was quite accurate at halfway volume over a blend of wired connections or Bluetooth. The higher the volume of the audio, the likelier it was to last for a lesser amount of time.

There was one major problem, though. Each time the battery of the Boombox was low (say, around 20%), we’d hear a weird, low, buzzing noise. After a short while, it gets super annoying and becomes almost impossible to stand. We are not sure why this exists, but we are assuming that a firmware update could help fix the issue. Considering the price of the speaker, such a problem should not occur. Thankfully, it only occurs at low battery levels, as otherwise, the Boombox would just be a major pain to use.

So, what’s the final verdict?

The Boombox is the kind of speaker that attracts a crowd. It has what it takes to keep one entertained, but the best use of its capabilities comes while addressing many together.

We wouldn’t recommend the Boombox for use at home. Form factors that take up lesser home space can be used to search for a similar sound, but if you want to play music at a beach, the pool, or a huge party, than the Boombox is precisely what you are looking for.

Last update was on: August 11, 2020 9:13 pm

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