Let's talk portable Bluetooth Speakers

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by GroovesInMiddleAmerica, Jun 11, 2017.

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  1. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    The crux of my issue is I can't smoke cigars in my flat and I am in no mood to wire up turntable speakers for outside. So I'm primarily looking for something that I can chill outside for a few hours with and spotify my life away, that's waterproof. Portable for taking places or just moving into a room where there's no stereo would be cool.

    I'm having a hard time sorting through the reviews of stuff on Amazon with the subjectivity of what sounds "good" vs. what is acceptable to some people and not others.

    So really what I want is

    1. Portable (ish)
    2. Solid battery life
    3. Good sound, it will mostly be used outside and I don't want it to sound tinny.
    4. Bluetooth and 3.5mm cable hookup.
    5. Waterproof, since rain creeps on us in this state.
    I'd rather do this than keep buying D-cell batteries for my old portable iHome, which has more or less out lived it's $10 usefulness and kinda sounds like shit anyways.

    I'm leaning towards the JBL Flip 4

    [​IMG]
    https://www.amazon.com/JBL-Waterproof-Portable-Bluetooth-Black/dp/B06WGY3B3T/ref=sr_1_36?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1497209284&sr=1-36&keywords=bluetooth+speaker+waterproof&th=1

    But do I need to spend that much for good sound quality?

    This Biiq Infinite X is only $55.

    [​IMG]
    https://www.amazon.com/Bliiq-Infini...sr=1-33&keywords=bluetooth+speaker+waterproof


    This waterproof sport speaker only $35
    [​IMG]

    https://www.amazon.com/Rocktech-Wat...sr=1-19&keywords=bluetooth+speaker+waterproof


    And lots of other options including
    https://www.amazon.com/AOMAIS-II-Po...1497208495&sr=1-17&keywords=bluetooth+speaker

    https://www.amazon.com/Photive-Wire...sr=1-12&keywords=bluetooth+speaker+waterproof

    https://www.amazon.com/Photive-Wate...sr=1-18&keywords=bluetooth+speaker+waterproof

    https://www.amazon.com/Altec-Lansing-LifeJacket-Generation-Bluetooth/dp/B00JYQOXA4/ref=sr_1_30?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1497209284&sr=1-30&keywords=bluetooth+speaker+waterproof&th=1

    All of these have good reviews, is it really a situation of spend more get more? How much are just marketing gimmicks? It's hard to trust reviews when I have a pretty good ear for sound quality and then there's others like my wife who didn't notice that the entire left channel had gone out in her car once.

    Any ownership stories? Stuff you've liked or disliked, etc? I'm new to the whole bluetooth audio thing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  2. lee newman

    lee newman Well-Known Member

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    Let me know what you come up with. @Morgan Newman and I both have this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-So...&ie=UTF8&qid=1497209965&sr=1-1&keywords=oontz

    Looks like they have updated it quite a bit given the search I just ran on Amazon, but this is the exact one we both got a while back.

    It is very small about five inches wide altogether. Is miles better than iphone or laptop speakers. It's better than the powered speakers my wife runs to her laptop at work (although those are logitech, but much better than any I had heard previous) - you know the crappy little four inch hi deals.

    It is insanely portable, it will fit in your cup holder for god's sake. It is rechargeable and lasts several hours on one charge.

    Its durable. It is IPx5 water resistant, whatever that means. I primarily use it these days when I am grilling or working in the garden, it has been subject to dirt and spills. I bought it to use in our tiny apartment kitchen and it also survived that environment and abuse.

    It also has your 3.5 mm hook up.

    I would not call it audiophile quality, but it is not tinny and I am still impressed with its bass response.

    I really am not versed in these things though. It does sound better than most similar devices sold at target or the verizon shop, especially for the price. I believe I bought it for the same price in March of last year. I believe Morgan has had her's about half a year longer.
     
  3. Alexander

    Alexander Well-Known Member

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    If you want to drop a little more cash: The UE Boom 2 is waterproof and sounds great (I bought one for an ex-girlfriend of mine). I have a Bose Mini Soundlink 2 (which has fantastic sound quality, but no waterproofing) and I would say the sound quality is very comparable. Something to consider.
     
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  4. MattHasIdeas

    MattHasIdeas Well-Known Member

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    Beat me to it. The UE Boom 2 is what I have. It is absolutely excellent, and you can often find it on sale for around $100-$120
     
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  5. oldschoolkirby

    oldschoolkirby Well-Known Member

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    GroovesInMiddleAmerica and 6od like this.
  6. 6od

    6od Well-Known Member

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    YUP. this is exactly what i was going to link too.

    but this is also why i haven't bought a. lie toothspeaker. the one wirecutter recommends is ALMOST perfect... the almost for me is stickying pudding huge though, because it doesn't have any track buttons. so no forward or back.

    i shall hold out. but i always check wirecutter/sweet home for everything. i don't blindly go with their pick, but their research and reasons definitely help me make my decisions.
     
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  7. displayname

    displayname Well-Known Member

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    I'm only going to speak to the ones I have experience with, so here we go.

    First off, one of the best features of new bluetooth speakers is the ability to link them. So you might want to factor that in if you're often using them with friends that may already have a certain brand. But Bluetooth 5.0 will also make this less useful in about a year or two.

    JBL Flip 4 is great. I was surprised how well it worked for us on a boat. But the Charge is worth the upgrade. It's a big improvement in sound, and easily filled my deck and patio for a party of about 20 people. Wasn't anywhere near full volume.

    Some friends of mine have a pair of the Altec Lansing LifeJacket's. They have a little more "oomph" than some of the others. With two of them the pairing can get loud. Like louder than you should need. The sound signature is notably different than most other options, so that's worth noting.

    Lastly I would also add the UE Boom 2 or MegaBoom. Another set that is well thought out, and just works.

    Lastly, I used to have a Bose Soundlink. It was great for awhile, but it stopped taking a charge after about a year and half. It would also get some bass rattle on heavy bass tracks after about 6 months. I think if it's sitting in a home and not on the go much it might be an ok fit, but I wouldn't say I strongly recommend it unless it came down to about half the price or less.
     
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  8. swamp

    swamp Well-Known Member

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    I own two different ~$200 Bluetooth speakers, neither of which are water proof. This is just FYI for people looking for recommendations, in general.

    [​IMG]

    Marshall Stockwell Portable Bluetooth Speaker

    I got a discount price for this as part of a
    promotion for Spotify Premium users, like two years ago, and I dig it. It looks nice and sounds really good for its size. I use it whenever I am not listening to my turn table via my nice headphones.

    [​IMG]

    Soundfreaq SFQ-06 Sound Platform 2 Bluetooth Speaker System

    This was my previous go-to speaker but it started to rattle. I must have blown something out. It was very good though. There is also a function
    where you can buy two of these and then sync them as a stereo sound set up thing. I never did that though, so I don't know how that'd sound. Note that I did get the Soundfreaq model just below this one (it's called the Kick or something) and I thought it sucked and sounded tinny. I returned it and got this instead and was very happy.
     
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  9. 6od

    6od Well-Known Member

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  10. tfremont

    tfremont Member

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    I think the bose soundlink is by far the best for portability and full sound especially on the bottom. But waterproof . . .
     
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  11. killahwhale

    killahwhale Well-Known Member

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    Bose Soundlink Mini 2 is the best bluetooth speaker I've ever owned but it's not waterproof.
     
  12. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    I've heard a lot of good stuff about this one, but the waterproof thing is critical for me. While I'm not much of a boater or pool guy, it will get used a lot in the shower and outside like at the park or for picnics. With random rain squalls not that uncommon, I don't want to worry about something getting ruined when I could reasonably go for an option that I know will hold up.
     
  13. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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    I own it and I will second this. It's great for streaming spotify or whatever streaming platform. I would say it's designed for pop music/top 40's and brings a big sound to my parties in my moderately sized apartment living room. Depending on what service you put it on the bass can kind of sound a bit off though.

    What I dislike is it's really annoying to quickly pair a new device like when I'm switching between my phone and someone elses.
     
  14. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    After chatting with my wife and discussing various options, we decided on the UE Boom 2. At $200 there's no way, but I grabbed one on ebay for $109, just about the same price as the JBL flip 4 since that had tax on amazon. I like the sound quality, the indestructibleness and the integration. I also personally wanted something in a color that stands out so we can not easily lose it. It should be here Wednesday, we'll see how it goes. Thanks everyone for your help!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Tillman

    Tillman Well-Known Member

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    I have the JBL Charge that I got a couple of years ago, it's not waterproof but it sounds pretty damn good.. I see that the new one is waterproof.

    my buddy recently got the JBL Xtreme, which is bigger/more expensive but sounds great.. I also think that it's waterproof
     
  16. Alexander

    Alexander Well-Known Member

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    Another case closed.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. AnalogueAnomaly

    AnalogueAnomaly Well-Known Member

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    Im gonna say look out for deals on Beoplay, well worth the little extra!

    IMG_0366.JPG
     
  18. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    This is the first Ive seen one if these, can you tell me what you like about it?
     
  19. AnalogueAnomaly

    AnalogueAnomaly Well-Known Member

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    Solid build, long lasting power, and mind boggling sound quality (I'm an engineer - and couldn't resist taking it apart to see where all the bass was coming from)
     
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  20. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    Their products are really cool.

    Good to know there's a solid option if I want to drop $3k on a ridiculous massive speaker https://www.beoplay.com/products/beoplaya9#buy
     
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