The loudest Bluetooth performance speaker has dropped and it is the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3. How do I know it is the loudest speaker? The volume dial has an 11 on it. I have turned it up to 11 at a park and I can confirm, it is like being up close to a concert stage. For a limited time, you can get the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3, one of the most impressive Bluetooth speakers for $849, a savings of $150.
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Boomboxes from the 1980s and 1990s were hot back in the day and that size and style are back, now with a great deal more tech and audio clarity. Enter the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3, complete with a powder-coated honeycomb styled steel speaker grill, which comes in five different colors, to eight silicone balls that protect its corners.
What’s In The Box
Testing The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 Bluetooth Party Speaker at The Park By @24k
- SOUNDBOKS Gen 3
- Charger (With Euro wall plug cable)
- Manual (Also downloadable)
What does $849 get you from SOUNDBOKS? If you are an audio nerd, here come its tech specs. If you are not and you want arguably the clearest, loudest portable party speaker available, then the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is it.
The amplifier has Merus Audio eximo switching, 3 x 72W RMS class D amps, and an advanced bass DSP. For its driver units, it comes with 2 x 10” 96 dB woofers and 1 x 1” 104 dB compression driver tweeter. The acoustics have an effective frequency range of 40Hz – 20kHz and a custom sound profile with bass enhancer.
Connecting the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is where it is at with Bluetooth 5.0 (SOUNDBOKS app available to control audio settings, EQ, power mode, and more), SKAA Pro Wireless (wirelessly connect up to five total nearby SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 speakers), and the Pro Panel. The Pro Panel has 2 x combo microphone/instrument (XLR, 1/4”) input, 1 x 3.55mm stereo input, and 1 x 3.5mm stereo output. A bond button opposite of the power button is available for advanced JOIN settings.
Overall it weighs 34 pounds, which I found easy enough to lift in and out of a car and its dimensions are 25.6” x 17” x 13” (H x W x D). I found the perfect spot for it in my home for testing, a corner near a wall to bounce the low-frequency effects back into the room.
It has an excellent amount of bass that travels on the two outdoor settings, adjustable in the app. The indoor setting reduces the bass some, but it is still punchy enough for my liking. All of my audio listening was done with the EQ on default. With a few tweaks of its EQ, I am sure one could dial it in to the most preferred sound profile.
After the SOUNDSBOKS app is downloaded, it does require you to set up a full account. I like the days when an app was ready to go without creating a username, password, and confirming an email address.
Once those steps are out of the way, it checks for the latest SOUNDBOKS 3 firmware. The firmware update takes about 30 minutes to install and the process requires the BATTERYBOKS to be at a solid three lights to four lights charge level. There are 11 steps to updating the speaker and it requires you to unplug the BATTERYBOKS and plug it back in, according to the clear on-screen instructions.
Do not worry if the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 firmware update does not work on the first attempt. The speaker tech is resilient enough to handle another attempt. Most Bluetooth devices out there become bricks if their updates do not work. I liked that this speaker had a recovery feature.
With this many bells and whistles, there is usually a product engineer that wants to add a bright blue LED to the front to show when it is on. I am excited to tell you that there are no such lights. And when you check the BATTERYBOKS level, the indication lights disappear after a few seconds too. The only lights that are on continuously are recessed where the volume dial is located.
If you are living that RGB video game lifestyle, the back of the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is a perfect place to attach a string of LEDs for a cool effect near a wall or corner of a room. The swappable grill allows you to better match it to your room décor.
Using my SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 at the park was a treat. It was easy enough to load onto a small luggage cart and set it up exactly where I wanted. When I brought it back home, I found a perfect spot in the corner of the room so the low-frequency effects it produced could bounce back into the room. I continue to find myself admiring its honeycomb grille styling.
I am a stickler for no extra hum, hissing, or popping when any speaker is or is not playing music. I heard none of that with the SOUNDSBOKS Gen 3 when streaming music or while listening to a digital track. I can imagine that listening to physical media like records or CDs should sound even better with a direct AUX audio connection to its Pro Panel.
Small shelf speakers are one thing to listen to your Spotify playlist from. The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is something else entirely different. My ears immediately picked up parts to songs that I had not heard clearly before. These are the same songs that I have listened to for years with high-quality earbuds all of the way up to mid-sized Bluetooth speakers. Like with anything on the luxury side of the scale, this speaker and all of its engineering lands firmly in the ‘McLaren’ level.
I can tell that the SOUNDBOKS designers and engineers came together to produce quite possibly the best Bluetooth speaker that I am likely to try this decade, if not longer.
How Long Does The Battery Really Last?
The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 uses the BATTERYBOKS, which is also compatible with the previous generations too. The battery lasts for about 40 hours on mid-range volume and on maximum outdoors volume for 5 hours. Testing for this was by using Spotify’s top 100 songs on repeat using a Bluetooth connection. Optimizations for the battery and power usage may be included in future firmware updates.
It can last at 40 hours at mid-volume, 5 hours at full volume; it takes about 3.5 hours to fully recharge and is 99.84Wh in capacity. The battery can be recharged with the included wall adapter and power the speaker simultaneously.
How Loud is The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3?
The SOUNDBOKS 3 can play up to 126dB, which can be compared to being in the front row of a concert. Remember those Vuvuzela horns from various soccer championship games? Those horns can get to be 120 dB at a 1m distance.
Can I Connect Instruments and Microphones to The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3?
Its Pro Panel on the back has 2x ‘XLR/6.35mm Jack’ combo inputs (CH1 & CH2) that can be used to connect DJ mixers, microphones, various instruments, etc. If a microphone is going to be connected to the Pro Panel, the SOUNDBOKS app is suggested for use to adjust the gain.
Can I Connect Multiple SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 Speakers?
Using SKAA wireless technology, the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is changing the game with this wireless network, which allows up to a whopping five SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 speakers to connect. You may also connect a SOUNDBOKS Gen 1 or 2 to the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 by running an AUX cable from the AUX out of the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 to the AUX Input of a SOUNDBOKS Gen 2 or 2.
What Inputs Does The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 Have?
The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is equipped with the new Pro Panel on the back. Pro Panel has 2x ‘XLR/6.35mm Jack’ combo inputs (CH1 & CH2), 1 x 3.5mm AUX input and 1x 3.5 AUX output. You may also connect wirelessly to the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 via Bluetooth 5.0.
Is The SOUNDBOKS 3 Waterproof?
The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is not waterproof, however, all internal electrical components are coated to comply with an IP65 rating. The SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 is also designed to withstand temps from 14 to + 104F (-10 to +40C) and elements such a rain, sand, and the occasional beer spill. How long would you like to be in sub-freezing temps or anything above 100F? Generally, if you are uncomfortable with the weather outside, it is probably best not to use the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3 in those conditions.
What About The SOUNDBOKS app?
The SOUNDBOKS app is useful on iOS and Android. For sound settings, it can configure custom EQ or the selection of SOUNDSBOKS’ optimized sound modes such as Bass+, Power, and Indoor. The selection of true stereo roles are options; such as left, right, and mono. Generally, the app offers the ability of the user to adjust its volume, power off the speaker, and see the inputs connected to the speaker(s) so that it is easier to understand the wireless setup. It also helps new users along with registering an account, the setup of a wireless connection to the speaker, and TeamUp, which connects to a specific host-speaker or to switch the host-speaker. There are Pro Panel configurations for mic, DJ mixer, guitar, and active instruments. A full input EQ control is available for the Pro inputs XLR or 1/4″/6.3mm jack too. The wireless settings in the app include auto-connect for audio, toggle for SKAA Pro mode, and pincode for audio and the app. The pincode prevents anyone else from controlling the speakers. The app will automatically check, when connected to the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3, for any new firmware updates.
Can you hear me now? Most everyone in the general area will hear what jams that you are dropping with the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3. When I was using mine at the park, people gravitated to where I was the moment I turned it on. Set it up in 6 seconds, turn the party up to 11 (126 dB), and get your flash mob trending, like it’s New Year’s Eve 1999.
Until stock runs out, you can get the SOUNDBOKS Gen 3, a speaker that goes up to a volume level 11 for $849, a savings of $150.
Rating 4.5 Stars
- SOUNDBOKS app can control a multitude of audio settings not available on an iPhone or Android phone, like wave EQ and sound profiles
- Solid engineering with many ways to connect it to audio devices
- BATTERYBOKS recharges with power pass-through
- Turn up the party to 11
- Replaceable BATTERYBOKS
- SOUNDBOKS app cannot read BATTERYBOKS power level
- SOUNDBOKS app cannot remotely turn on the speaker via Bluetooth
- No optical audio port
Disclosure: This product has been supplied at no cost for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not paid by the manufacturer for the review. Photos may be courtesy of the manufacturer.