Portable Speaker Guide

pick out the right portable speaker system

Portable speakers have been around for decades now, but a lot has changed in the industry since the orignal boombox was introduced.  Technology has evolved and the source of our music has changed too.  Thousands of portable speakers have entered the market in various shapes, sizes, and costs.  We wanted to compile a list of things to consider when you buy a portable speaker.  Maybe Boombotix speakers are right for your lifestyle, but if not, we’re glad we can help find an audio device that works for YOU.

HOW DO I GAUGE PORTABLE SPEAKER SOUND PERFORMANCE?

Don’t listen to anything manufacturers say about power consumption. Power ratings should be in Watts (W).  Loudness should be in Decibels (dB).  Consider the distance that the manufacturer measures dB from.  Also keep in mind you can have a loud speaker that sounds like crap.  The Boombotix Boombot2 hits 87dB with a high quality recorded song which is great for a room, studio or small group.  Other manufacturers like Logitech and Jawbone make larger portable speaker systems that are louder, but a bit less portable.  Most portable speakers have Class D amps that have a high efficiency.

What other features should i look for in a portable speaker?

  • Bluetooth connectivity (at least 2.1)
  • Device compatibility.  Make sure it works with your music source.
  • Volume/Track adjustment controls
  • Connector types (most common is 8mm or 1/8″ for standard headphone jacks)
  • How many speaker drivers are there?  Is it a mono speaker or just stereo?

should you get a speaker with rechargeable batteries?

In this day and age, there is no reason to every use a speaker that uses alkaline batteries (D-Cell, AA, AAA).  These types of batteries cause a lot of material waste, they’re heavy, and they get expensive as you replace each one.  Buy a speaker with a rechargeable battery source using lightweight lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries.  They may cost a little bit more up front, but it will be well worth it if you really like to travel with your speaker.

How do i determine if a speaker is portable enough?

Picture yourself using the product.  What is your most practical use case is? If you are primarily using it to lug to the beach, are you the type that needs deep, rich, pumping bass or are you fine with a little bit of bump for the background?  Look at the way the speaker is transported.  Does it have a simple handle?  Does it have a clip-on design?  Is the design of the speaker conducive towards the environment that it is being placed in?  Boombotix speakers have added seal and connector covers to make them more resilient to dust and moisture.

Yellow topography Boombot

portable speaker pricing

Portable speakers range anywhere from $20-400.  When considering the pricing, be sure that you are getting value.  Look at the manufacturer warranty terms.  If you are making a substantial investment in a product, you should expect that the manufacturer will support the longevity of the product in normal working operation.  If the speaker is designed to be ultraportable, then it should be able to take a beating.  If something happens in the field (you crash, you fall, or butter fingers gets the better of you), a good manufacturer of a portable speaker system should have your back to some extent.  We have a policy called the No Matter What warranty program where we offer free repair or replacement for all of our speakers.

Also consider the build quality of the product.  Boombotix speakers are made of thick high impact ABS plastic with a durable soft touch coating.  Some cheaper speakers use thin flexible plastics which make the product less durable and even sound poor.

in summary

We hope that you find this article helpful.  We’ve spent a lot of time and thought developing portable speakers that fit our active lifestyle.  If you are looking for a larger system there are a lot of great options out there, but if you like to put your music in motion, we hope you will consider investing in a Boombotix speaker.

Water resistant portable speaker guide

our guide of speakers that can get wet and nasty

In the world of water resistant portable speakers there are a TON of shapes, sizes and price ranges to pick from, but very few are actually water resistant.  We wanted to do a little more research on the portable speaker space so you don’t have to.  If you are adventurous and demand a little more than stationary docking from your sound system, check this guide of systems that fit the bill for handling the elements.

What does IP stand for?

IP stand for ingress protection rating.  Speaker that are truly water resistant should have an IP rating. There are usually two digits that come along with an IP rating (IP-XX).  The first digit corresponds to the water resistance and the second digit corresponds to the resilience to dust.  Devices that reach IP-6X can be submersed and ones that are IP-5X can be exposes to a fair amount of moisture, rain, or snow.  Tests are administered by 3rd party labs and they involve spraying specific amounts of water using jets.  Each housing is inspected at the end of the tests to determine if leakage occurred.

Typically the sound systems we evaluated range from $30-150 priced in such a way that you don’t have to feel the pain of the casual drop and bump.  Some manufacturer’s have varying warranty lengths from Boombotix’s NO MATTER WHAT WARRANTY program to the buy at your own risk gamble.

Water resistant portable speaker

The Boombots are derived from urban vinyl toy design fused with ruggedized industrial design. They give you an audio adventure wherever life takes you.  IP53 with a NO MATTER WHAT one year warranty.  Get saucy.

Outdoor Technologies weather resistant speaker

These speakers can take a good beating, but for the size, we’re not too impressed with the sound output. It’s bout 30% bigger than a Jawbone Jambox, but puts out about 30% less volume. How is that possible? It is a burly package nonetheless.

waterproof portable speaker

The Grace ECO Extreme houses your smartphone inside it while playing from a 3W speaker. With AA batteries, the unit comes in a bit on the heavy side and you’ll be pumping $5 of alkaline into here every 30 hours. IP6X

 

rex water resistant speaker

The REX is one of the newest developments in Boombotix labs. REX is scheduled to ship in Q1 of 2013 with a noise-canceling microphone and Siri integration.  IP5X

waterproof portable speaker

Perhaps a little bit on the large side to take on a hike, these EcoXGear waterproof speakers can take quite a bit of moisture. A good speaker solution for those just looking to stay posted.

water resistant portable speaker

This Philips Shoqbox for sure looks like it can take a beating with it’s ruggedized super industrial design. This resembles a very common architecture like the Jawbone Jambox, but with that next layer of weatherproofing. At $155, it also beats out the Jambox in price.

water resistant speaker

This play off the Jammy Pack is yet another heinous way to wear a speaker. That thing is huge. Please tell me that nobody ACTUALLY does this. This unit also takes AA batteries so we would NOT recommend.

Ski Season is coming back!!

And we are jonesin’ for some pow shots

This morning I found myself lusting for powder when I woke up to the abrasive sound of a street cleaning vehicle going by.  My mind wished that it was a snow cat laying down corduroy on the back of High T.  Alas, it wasn’t.  It is only August.  In any case, if I can’t ski, I might as well sit down on Adobe Premier Pro and edit all of last year’s footage.  Sometimes it is good to just do SOMETHING with it so it doesn’t end up buried in the abyss of your hardrive.

Last season got off to a slow start but one way or another, our team was able to put together some pretty sick shots. No matter how rough the conditions, you really just have to stay mobile and jump on the opportunities you get to ride powder. One of the things we love about Boombot speakers is that even if the conditions are sub-par, at least you have a dance party on your pocket and you can jam out in every lift line and long cold chairlift ride life throws your way.

Shot on location: Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Squaw Valley

Track: Waves (Chilly Gonzales Piano Remix)

 

IDENTITY Festival – Mountain View August 17th

Identity Festival Lineup

Tomorrow we are heading down to Mountain View to some warmer climate at the iHome Identity Festival.  They are displaying this wall of artist collaboration iHome boomboxes.  We’ll have to see for ourselves, but we are willing to bet that a wall of our finest pro audio grade Boombots mixed with our bass cannon will be able to bring this thing down.

boombox wall

The lineup is ACTUALLY pretty SICK.  We are super excited to go.  We’ll be out there filming some #rageface so let’s see what you guys got.  Hashtag #boombotix and if we can find you we’ll give you some bling!

Main Stage
Kaskade
Pretty Lights
Disco Biscuits
Booka Shade
Pete Tong
Modestep
Jessie and the Toy Boys

Dim Mak Stage
Steve Aoki
Nervo
The Crystal Method
Jessie and the Toy Boys
Hercules and Love Affair
Holy Ghost!
Datsik
Le Castle Vania
Doorly

Beatport Stage
White Shadow
LA Riots
Pete Tong
Aeroplane
Chad Hugo
Marshall Barnes
The Eye

From Boomboxes to Boombotix – How Portable Music has Changed Our Culture

The boombox was exploded onto the American market in the mid 70′s, capturing the attention of the urban adolescent communities nationwide. Soon, no stoop in LA, NYC, and DC was without music, with booming tunes from cassetes and the radio, flooding the sound waves with tunes. Hip hop crews took to the streets, boombox in tow, such as King Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, and none other than the Beastie Boys. These artists were able to capture the public’s attention, and truly build a name for themselves in the streets.

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