Many of us have some form of portable we can use for parties and gatherings outdoors but many of these speakers lose their effectiveness once they are out in the wide open world. For those who still want their outdoor, portable speakers to sound loud there are party speakers.
The Soundboks Go speaker fits right into the middle of this category with a large, durable, portable speaker that is LOUD. When we agreed to review this we really did not envisage just how big it was. When it arrived at my place of business I was blown away by its size. Surely this must sound great and be super loud right? Read on to find out if it fits the outdoor party remit.
Massive sound requires a massive speaker
At a tick over 9kg (9.2kg to be exact) the Soundboks Go is not the lightest speaker around but most of you will be able to carry it one handed with the carry handle (or using the optional carry strap). It is a tad awkward to carry, coming in at 459 x 316 x 266mm but if you want a decent outdoor party speaker expect them to come in around this size.
The outside of the speaker is a reinforced ABS/poly unibody design with rubber edges adding to its ruggedness. If you take it to the beach or the pool it will be able to handle small splashes thanks to IP65 water and dust resistance rating of its electronics. It does have three bass ports which are not rated so the entire speaker itself is not waterproof so don’t go throwing it into the pool.
The large sound is created by a 10-inch woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter with an effective frequency range of 40Hz-20kHz. The speaker itself supports Bluetooth 5.0 allowing for a quality connection between it and your device.
Large and sturdy
First, and most important of all, the Soundboks Go speaker is incredibly sturdy. The rubber bumpers around all the edges add to the sturdiness which gives you a lot of confidence – and this is required given how relatively heavy it is, you will no doubt bang it against something more than once.
The speaker has the sub exhaust ports at the front of the speaker so you can’t stick it against a wall to amplify the bass kicking out from it. Even though the speaker is designed to be used as a party speaker you probably won’t need to increase the bass it produces because it is pretty damn good as it is. Could it be better? Certainly, but it’s certainly acceptable as it is.
As you would expect from such a large speaker the sound is LARGE. I tested it inside and had to turn it down quite a bit as it was LOUD. Turning the speaker down though drops the bass quite a bit though – at high volume is when the bass really kicks in so turn it up and turn it up LOUD.
The speaker still has decent chops in the mid to high end range at all volumes with the sound fairly “bright” – don’t go expecting “audiophile-quality” sound from it but I was surprised at now clear the sound really was.
The sound profile can be adjusted using the app on your phone. Within the app not only do you pair other Soundbok speakers but also change the equaliser for the music. It gives you choices of power, bass and indoors eq. If these don’t suit you can also create a custom one (or more). Yes, you can create multiple custom profiles and save each of them – switching between them is simple too.
Big controls too
Setup and control of the speaker is super simple. I paired the speaker directly with my phone just as you would using all Bluetooth speakers. I also connected it with the Soundboks app on my phone allowing for EQ control along with a few other settings.
The top of the speaker includes a large power button which doubles as a volume knob and lighting around it to indicate the volume level you have it set at. The smaller orange button next to this is the “bond” button which provides a number of functions depending on how many times you click it. You can use it to scroll through various transmitters, mute the speaker, factory reset and more.
Large swappable battery
One thing you cannot do is use the speaker while charging it if the battery is greater than 50%. This is disappointing because if you are at a party you have better things to do than keep an eye on the percentage of the battery.
This should not give you any issues though because the battery is advertised as lasting for 40 hours if played at a volume of 50% – in case you were wondering, 50% is very loud and to be honest would not have to be exceeded except in the rowdiest of parties. At full volume the speaker chews through the juice with the battery lasting “up to 10 hours” at full volume. Easy solution is to charge it before going to the party, then play it as loud as you want – surely your party won’t last more than 10 hours?
If you are one of these people with endless parties you can get spare batteries that can be easily swapped in and out of the speaker. The battery also has a button on it that reveals the charge level of the battery which is handy.
The speaker is loud and with decent quality sound but it is not perfect. As I mentioned above the bass exhaust ports are front-facing and thus cannot be amplified using a wall etc. The exhaust ports also make the speaker a little less durable – do not go getting dirt etc in those ports if you want it to continue to sound great.
There is a 3.5mm Aux-In but not one for a 1/4-inch input microphone so party karaoke through it is not easy. You can pair other Soundboks speakers to it though if you want a full stereo sound.
The speaker is “just” 9kg, but it isn’t the easiest of things to carry given the sheer bulk of it. It will swing and bang against your legs if you are carrying it too far if using the in-built carry handle. Soundboks do offer an optional carry strap which will help if carting the speaker around for longer periods and distances, but it looks like it will still bang against your legs — it will just stop your arms from falling off from carrying 9kg so far.
Should you buy it?
Large party speakers that are portable and water resistant are not cheap. They require the ability to play music loud outside while at the same time being lightweight and sturdy — not an easy proposition hence the cost involved. The Soundboks Go is all of these and has the requisite price to match.
It is not alone in its price though with all other large party speakers priced at very similar levels and it certainly fits the brief. The music played out of the Soundboks Go is indeed loud but at the same time is a decent quality, much better than I expected. It is splash proof to a certain degree, definitely rugged and durable and, assuming you have more strength than a 5 year old child, is portable.
The Soundboks Go is one party speaker I can definitely recommend if you want to get out and about and take the party with you — maybe not the best for Winter but come Spring and Summer it is perfect for those gatherings in the park or at the beach. The Soundboks Go is available now from the Soundboks website or other major retailers such as JB Hi-Fi for RRP$1,099.