Decent portable bluetooth speaker... does it exist? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Decent portable bluetooth speaker... does it exist?

I'd like to have a portable bluetooth speaker for travel. Something that will stream pandora/spotify/etc while staying in a hotel room. I'd probably use it at work too, while at my desk.

At work, I may just end up getting a Sonos Play:1 or Play:3, but if I could buy one speaker for both uses, that would be best. It would be tough to travel with a Sonos Play:1, because it would always require a wired connection and power.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 11:58 AM
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Even though the name sends shudders down the spine, this company does some things well. I have listened to many BT speakers and I have yet to find one that comes close to the Bose Soundlink Mini. Check out reviews from trusted sites; better yet, one of your local big box stores should be your "target" (mentioning no names). Take a trip and listen for yourself; I have 2.

Best,

Brian
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 01:46 PM
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I own a BOSE soundlink II, great little speaker, very portable, Bluetooth works great and a lot of sound from it's compact size. I would recommend it.
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, recommendations for Bose products on AVS! Never thought I'd see the day

I'm going to check out the Bose mini and the UE Boom in the next few days. I think they're both in stock at the local shops, just trying to find out if there was anything better, or equally as good for less $$.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briansxx View Post
Even though the name sends shudders down the spine, this company does some things well. I have listened to many BT speakers and I have yet to find one that comes close to the Bose Soundlink Mini. Check out reviews from trusted sites; better yet, one of your local big box stores should be your "target" (mentioning no names). Take a trip and listen for yourself; I have 2.

Best,

Brian
Reluctantly, I must agree...I auditioned several brands
At Xmas and the Bose sounded better than the other
Brands at Best Buy. (Shudders) bought for my daughter
It paired with her phone in moments.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 03:18 PM
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I've been traveling with the JBL Charge. I would totally recommend unless you need something that can do speakerphone. But I travel 2-3 weeks a month and I think it has great sound for what it is. I had BB price match newegg and save about $50. Sound quality is very good. Decent bass and can get pretty loud.
As a plus the Charge also acts as an external battery that you can charge USB devices from. So for me that was a big bonus.
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 04:01 PM
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I use the BOOM Swimmer. I like the how its waterproof so it means I can take my music and podcasts with me to the shower.

I frequently use it in Hotel rooms to boost the volume when I am watching netflix from my tablet.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 04:55 PM
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I should mention I did audition the Bose Mini and found it was way too bass heavy for me. I think the JBL has a more balanced sound.
Plus, no ability to charge USB devices from the Bose and a higher price tag.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-16-2014, 06:57 PM
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Another vote for the Bose Soundlink Mini. I've got one and it sounds great to me, better than the full sized Soundlink.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-17-2014, 02:11 AM
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Since you mentioned BT & travel I'd like just throw something else out there for you, good for actual traveling or in hotels when you want to turn it up without disturbing the neighbors.

Phiaton PS 20 BT Bluetooth Stereo Headset, probably some of the best base and "full" sound I've ever heard from earphones, B/T or not. Charges with micro usb for convenience a full charge lasts a pretty long time, and they don't completely wipe out ambient noise, so you don't end up being the douche who can't hear with his earphones in, in public.
Look around and you can find them for around $80.00.
Just a thought.
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-18-2014, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post
I use the BOOM Swimmer. I like the how its waterproof so it means I can take my music and podcasts with me to the shower.

I frequently use it in Hotel rooms to boost the volume when I am watching netflix from my tablet.
+1

I have the JBL Charge. After demoing a dozen bluetooth speakers in the under $150 range, that is the one I went with.

For under $100, the Soundfreaq SFQ-04 is quite nice in SQ because it has some soundstage but needs a proprietary wall adapater. The SHARKK Bluetooth 4.0 BoomBox was the best price/performance value to me for under $100. The TDK A33 is very good, but bigger and heavier than some of the other models and requires a proprietary adapter.

While the Soundfreaq had perhaps the best sound out of all of them for critical listening (although less volume than the Charge), I came to the conclusion that bluetooth speakers are a poor choice for critical listening. A $300 or $400 bluetooth speaker can easily be bested by a pair of Zero Point Tenore Carbo IEMs and a Clip Zip or Clip+ DAP (or an iPhone or other good SQ phone). To me, a bluetooth speaker is best for filling a room with sound while doing other things and for being very portable. The Charge does that very well. Strong mids with some midbass presence (many of the smaller portable BT speakers have no midbass). Great volume for its size. The Sharkk is surprisingly good--every bit as good as the Amazon reviews claim--but the Charge has more max volume, making it more suitable for use outside. The Charge's tube design also works well. Standing the Charge on its end helps when it is placed say in the middle of a table to help reduce the reflections. And while the TDK and Soundfreaq are a bit better in some ways than the Charge, neither is very portable either because of size, weight, or the inconvenience of not being able to charge using a USB cable to a standard USB wall wart.

As for the Bose BT speakers, I was not overly impressed by them. They are OK, but ultimately not very portable.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-18-2014, 05:53 PM
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Another vote for JBL here. Even the smaller Flip sounds pretty decent.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm hoping to audition some of these this weekend. I hadn't thought of the JBL before, so that's on the list now as well.
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 08:23 AM
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A few tips for demoing in store:

1) Take a 3.5mm patch cable with you. Sometimes you can hook your phone directly up to the display speaker to see how it sounds.
2) Be wary of the demo music some have programmed in making the speakers sound better than they will be for you. By that I mean that the audio recordings could be EQ'd to enhance the sound (Bose is notorious for doing this with in store speaker displays). You really want to bluetooth pair your phone with the speaker or use a cable to get a better idea how they sound.
3) Some speakers may sound more crappy than they are because they will have been abused in the displays. Plus, the store environments are acoustical nightmares compared to say a room at home (or a hotel room when traveling).

If your credit card can bear it, my advice would be to pick up a couple of bluetooth speakers here, a couple there (e.g., BestBuy, Target, etc.) and demo in home. Then return all but the one you like the best. The store displays are just really horrible for figuring out which will sound better for you.

Oh and a tip. Sansa Clip+ or Clip Zips are great little mp3 players for plugging directly into a bluetooth speaker. They take microsd cards so you can load them up with mp3s, and a Clip with bluetooth speaker is instant portable speaker box. Plus, the direct connection (headphone jack of phone or mp3 player) will usually sound better than transmitting over bluetooth. Bluetooth is a fairly compressed audio format that reduces SQ (unless you have aptX--that's better).

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 08:39 AM
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I auditioned the JBL, Bose, and jambox all at target. I cranked them up too in order to see where there was the most distortion.
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