The New Soundboks Review

The World’s Loudest Battery Powered Speaker

Soundboks are a young company, started by three friends with the desire to create the worlds loudest Bluetooth speaker. The speaker had to be louder than anything else on the campsite. It had to outlast the revellers too, being durable and with outstanding battery life. The result was the first ever Soundboks. Built inside the founders’ garages, the speaker used a revolutionary replaceable battery system. Soundboks started with just 400 speakers. However, after a successful Kickstarter and Y-Combinator and Soundboks are a global company. With over 500,000 speakers used in every corner of the world.

Now on their third model, Soundboks has created a speaker that caters for the needs of professional users. Adding a wealth of pro features, is the all-new Soundboks, a speaker we never knew we needed? Let’s find out!

The Build

One look at the Soundboks and it’s clear that this is a speaker built for life on the road. Large, bulky and extremely rugged, this speaker means business. A powder-coated aluminium frame protects the edges of a plywood speaker cabinet while large silicone ball protects each corner. The central sound-hole that runs through the chassis, this is covered by flush metal carry handles. The handles make this 15kg beast a little easier to transport. The battery pocket and control panel is recessed, again increasing durability.

The New Soundboks

The superb construction of the speaker is complemented by an IP65 rated coating on all the electronics, allowing the speaker to get wet without dying. The controls on the Soundboks are equally rugged, the large buttons are rubber coated, and the volume dial (which turns all the way up to 11!) is rubber coated and knurled, perfect for wet hands! The Soundboks is at home in a bedroom, on a ski slope or boat party. A true all-rounder.

The Sound

Powered by three 72W RMS class D amplifiers, the Soundboks has three individual drivers. Bass and mids are handled by two 10″ woofers which drop as low as 40hz and punch at 96db. Sandwiched between the two woofers is a 1-inch tweeter which itself is capable of 20kHz and an impressive 104db! Combined the total output of this portable, battery-powered speaker is a whopping 126db! By far the loudest speaker currently on the market.

Soundboks Side

The sound even when played at full volume is distortion-free, with impressive clarity and separation between the instruments. The pulse reflex port runs the entire width of the speaker and allows the bass to be shockingly loud. Add the advanced bass sound processing, and the Soundboks produces sound a custom to a modular PA system than any wireless speaker that’s come before it.

This impressive output from a battery speaker is capable thanks to Merus Audio Eximo amp switching technology. Essentially the Soundboks is capable of managing the power usage dependant on the currently playing audio. Switching amplifiers down or off when not required allows the Soundboks to stretch the battery life to 40 hours when at 50% volume. However, if played at the full volume, the battery life is reduced to a still impressive 4 hours.

Soundboks Battery

Team Up

The Soundboks speakers use Bluetooth 5.0 technology to pair to laptops and phones. Bluetooth is okay for personal listening. However, for DJ’ing the latency of 120ms is far too high. The alternative wireless standard, Apple Airplay is even higher with 2000-3000ms. Thankfully when connecting speakers together wirelessly, Soundboks has implemented a wireless technology called SKAA

SKAA builds upon a standard called Pro Audio Wireless technology. PAW is used on stage by artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Eminem amongst many others. PAW technology features a long-range and high bit rate meaning speakers can be separated with no loss in audio quality. SKAA also features low interference from other 2.4Ghz like smartphones and wifi which helps when playing in busy environments.  

Soundboks Volume

The Soundboks Team Up feature allows speakers to connect wirelessly, allowing up to five speakers to play from one source. With an impressive range and locked latency (a rather low 40ms), users can plug into one speaker and fill a whole football pitch with noise! Pairing is as easy as setting one speaker as host and setting the others to host. No passwords, minimal fuss and using the application, users can even set the speakers to play in stereo, which is very impressive.

The Soundboks App

The Soundboks mobile application is available for iPhone and Android mobile devices. The app allows for easy setup and programming of the speakers. It’s not required to have the application to use the speakers but unlocking the additional settings can optimise the listening experience, especially when using more than one speaker at once.

The application can search and connect to up to five speakers at once. Once a speaker has been connected and selected, the app can be used to remote control the team-up mode, volume and power of the speaker. Clicking the settings button reveals the advanced options; these include pro panel, upgrade, Bluetooth and sound.

Pro Panel

The Pro Panel settings allow the user to change the level and input mode for the two XLR inputs found on the rear of the speaker. The gain level is adjustable to compensate for weak sources with two large up faders. Each channel is assignable to Mixer mode or Mic. Mixer mode is ideal for musical inputs such as DJ mixers and instruments, whereas Mic mode optimises the speaker for use for vocal work.

Upgrade

Upgrade mode allows the user to check and update the firmware on the Soundboks speakers. The speaker is wirelessly updated using the phones internet connection. 

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth connectivity of a Soundboks speaker doesn’t require a passcode to pair from default. The user can add a password if necessary within the Bluetooth settings menu. The option to automatically connect when the speaker powers on is also available.

Sound

The user can change EQ from within the sound settings. Three preset modes are available. The default Power mode allows the speaker to run at a maximum of 126dB for five hours. The indoor setting backs off the low end, allowing comfortable enjoyment of music without annoying the neighbours. This mode enables the speakers to output 117db full volume for 7 hours. Finally, in Bass+ mode the speaker runs at 126db with strong low end for around 3 hours.

From default, all Soundboks speakers are mono. However, with dual XLR and stereo AUX inputs being available, the mobile application allows the user to change which channel the speaker plays. When teamed up with two speakers, this allows the user to create a true wireless stereo set up. Assigning one speaker to play the left channel and another the right. Very impressive as there is a fixed lag between the speakers, meaning no delay.

Conclusion

The new Soundboks is quite simply a fantastic speaker that both professionals and the home user will love. Allowing DJ’s to play virtually anywhere with PA levels of volume opens up a new world of possibilities, especially for events held in remote locations such as boat parties or ski festivals. 

Of course, this performance comes at a price and retailing at $999 this speaker isn’t cheap. In fact, looking at it from a Bluetooth speakers point of view and it’s possibly one of the most expensive units you can buy. That said, compared to PA speakers of this power, the Soundboks is very affordable, especially considering its unique versatility. 

We are massive fans of this speaker and the freedom it provides. From a DJ’s perspective, it’s the ideal tool for house parties or sets in random locations. The XLR inputs and ability to link more wireless speakers without crushing lag is revolutionary. With the rise in portable DJ products such as the Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 and Denon DJ Prime GO. The Soundboks is the perfect companion for DJ’s with creativity that stretches beyond the power cable!

Video Review

Video Performance

Published: 1st June 2020

RRP: $999
★★★★★

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