Monday, 30th October 2017

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Powerful surround sound minus wires

Speakers have turned cylindrical, especially the large ones that are likely to have movie-hall sound

By Prasun Chaudhuri
  • Published 11.11.18, 6:02 PM
  • Updated 11.11.18, 6:02 PM
  • 3 mins read
Bose Soundlink Revolve and Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Sourced by The Telegraph

GADGET: Bose Soundlink Revolve and Bose Soundlink Revolve+

TECH SPECS: Wireless portable Bluetooth speaker, 360 degree surround sound, Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts, access Siri or Google Assistant

PRICE: Rs 19,900 and Rs 24,500, respectively

BEST FOR: Booming music, indoors or outdoors 

Gone are the days of brick-like boomboxes — rectangular with those obvious roundish speakers and a whole lot of switches and knobs to fiddle with. With the omnipresence of bluetooth and wireless fidelity, most speakers have turned cylindrical, especially the large ones that are likely to have movie-hall sound. It gives you the feeling that you are surrounded by the sound even if you are partying on a lawn or crowded rooftop.

Last year Bose launched a pair of Bluetooth speakers, the SoundLink Revolve and Revolve+. You can call them perfect siblings since they both have a cylindrical look — a hybrid of a largish beer can and a Google Home speaker.

They come in black or silver and are velvety to the touch. Both play “360° omnidirectional audio” and “the Revolve+ in particular is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker it has ever produced,” says the company.

Despite that claim, both the speakers offer an incredible sound experience — clear, deep-throated and shot out perfectly in all directions. Apparently, to an audio expert the Revolve is a bit less powerful than its larger sibling, but to me its audio performance is quite laudable.

I tested both the speakers with Abida Parveen’s booming Yaar ko Hamne Jabaja Dekha. Revolve delivered significant bass thump for its size, with little distortion at top volume; bass depth was full and pleasant at the mid-level too. With Revolve+, however, there was no distortion at the highest level. But you get the richest bass response at a slightly less than maximum volume.

The important differences between the two speakers lie in size and battery life. The Revolve is about six inches tall while the Revolve+ is 7.2 inches with a larger diameter and a fixed handle for easy carrying that adds to its height. The Revolve can run for up to 12 hours whereas its taller sibling has a runtime of 16 hours.

Both the speakers have a built-in microphone and a button to switch on Siri and Google Assistant. Even though I didn’t test any of these under a shower, they are supposed to be reasonably water resistant (IPX4). Also, they are quite tough and can withstand a fall from a five-foot table. These features make the speakers ideal for parties in the wild or by the pool. The built-in microphone is useful for speakerphone calls or to activate Siri or Google Assistant.

You can connect the devices with Bose Connect, the free, easy-to-use app that can be used with multiple Bose products. With SoundLink Revolve, you can use the app to control volume, playback, pairing and party mode (if you have multiple Bose speakers). You can also disable voice prompts and set an auto-off timer to save battery life (it defaults to 20 minutes).

The only grouse is that the Bose Soundlink speakers are quite pricey. But if you are finicky about sound quality, you must get one of these siblings to fill your room with quality music.

JBL Boom Box
JBL Boom Box Sourced by The Telegraph

For a day-long sound feast 

The JBL Boom Box is supposedly the most powerful, portable Bluetooth speaker. It delivers monstrous sound along with the hardest hitting bass. Also, its massive 20,000mAh battery (actually, a built-in Power Bank) lets you enjoy music non-stop for 24 hours without missing a beat. Also, it is rugged enough to survive the wildest party. Since it’s IPX7 waterproof, you can take it along to outdoors or pool parties.

The boombox produces unbelievable sound — crisp and clear with a bass that is deep but not too encompassing.

You can download the JBL Connect app for extra features, to switch to different modes — such as, Party mode or Stereo mode, or between indoor and outdoor modes — to optimise sound wherever you play the boombox.

However, it’s pricey (Rs 24,772 on Amazon India), but worth it. If you are looking for tremendous sound quality, your pocket will have to take a beating.