We have seen plenty of Bluetooth speakers appear in the market. From those cheap pocket-size speakers companies love to brand and giveaway during conferences to well-known brands delivering quality speakers with decent sound.
What I haven’t seen before is large, good quality performance speakers – and I mean size and sound. SOUNDBOKS changed this a few years ago, and they have recently landed in New Zealand.
The first product to be available locally was the concert-sized SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 but just announced was the SOUNDBOKS Go, their take on a smaller speaker with no-compromise sound.
While the SOUNDBOKS Go name might indicate a more portable speaker, it is still a big box measuring 459 x 316 x 266 mm and weighing 9.2 Kg. But fear not, despite the size and weight, it is still pretty easy to carry around.
Built on an ABS and polycarbonate cabinet with silicone protective bumpers and a thermoplastic elastomer handle, this box can withstand a few bumps on its way to a party.
The SOUNDBOKS Go is exceptionally well built, and it looks good for something that might spend most of its time in the corner while people enjoy themselves.
SOUNDBOKS put together two 72 Watt Merus Audio eximo amplifiers driving a 10” woofer and 1” tweeter covering a frequency from 40 Hz to 20 kHz. In something I can only surmise is a reference to the cult movie This is Spinal Tap, the volume knob goes from 0 to 11. And it shows. The sound is pretty good and can really rock you.
A massive swappable battery (99.84Wh or 7.8Ah capacity at 12,8V) keeps the SOUNDBOKS Go powered for up to 40 hours at mid-volume or ten hours at full volume.
You can charge this battery directly from the mains, preferably offline, but you have the option to use it while charging, taking care to use it a 50% power. Five LEDs on the back of the battery indicate current battery life and charging status.
You can connect to the SOUNDBOKS Go wirelessly via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm stereo input. The Bluetooth connection is pretty simple and each SOUNDBOKS Go comes with a unique code attached to its body so it’s easy to identify the box you are connecting to. This is handy because one of its features is the ability to link up to five SOUNDBOKS speakers (both SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 and SOUNDBOKS Go models) in a single system. I didn’t get the chance to test this as just one SOUNDBOKS Go was available at the time of this review but sounds like a way to power a big party.
I tested the SOUNDBOKS Go using Bluetooth from a variety of devices and they (mostly) worked as expected – including a few Android phones and a couple of laptops from different manufacturers. The only device I could not get to connect was my Panasonic 2021 LED TV, which for some reason listed the SOUNDBOKS Go but would not connect to it.
The user interface on the SOUNDBOKS Go itself is pretty easy to use. The large volume knob doubles as a power on/off and turning it on automatically starts Bluetooth pairing. The other button is used to configure the team feature when multiple devices are connected.
It is highly recommended that you install the SOUNDBOKS app on your phone. At first, I thought the bass was a bit too heavy for the music I had playing but the app allows you to select some equaliser presets or create your own and once I changed that it felt much more like what I wanted – and this means covering jazz, pop and classical music.
I also found that there was an update for the SOUNDBOKS Go when I first started the app, so I recommend you use it at least to check for updates.
The SOUNDBOKS Go has an IP65 rating, which means it will be ok with a bit of water splash or drink spill – just not dunk it in water and leave there for hours.
The new SOUNDBOKS Go will be available in New Zealand from the 26 April.