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Thread: Bluetooth speakers

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    Bluetooth speakers

    Has anyone messed around with Bluetooth speakers? Any suggested models, ones to avoid, or general comments?

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    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Are you looking at the portable kinds like the JBL, UE, Sony, etc or something else? I've looked and listened to a few of these kinds and I'm unsure which to pick for my needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    Are you looking at the portable kinds like the JBL, UE, Sony, etc or something else? I've looked and listened to a few of these kinds and I'm unsure which to pick for my needs.
    Yes, if it's not portable you might as well use wires IMHO.

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    I thought I wanted the UE boom because it seems rugged and has a proclaimed 360 degree sound but after doing more research I was lead back to the JBL units. Not that the UE boom was bad but there are a decent amount of options to consider. I listened to a few of them over the weekend at BestBuy and they sound fine but I also have pretty low expectations to start. The demo systems are hard to do any real comparison because they play random popular top-40 music at the loudest volume for only 15 seconds or so before shutting off. I think for my needs any of them will suffice. There was a Sony unit that's smallish size in a rectangle that I thought sounded pretty decent. I'll have to look up the model number on it. I also don't recall if it was waterproof like some of the others.

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    The UE Boom is not a stereo speaker. You have to pair two of them using the Double Up feature and use their app set set them to stereo in order to get stereo sound. My buddy has two of them. I've only heard one of them (not the stereo setup) when he demo'd it for me. It's decent, much better than phone or tablet's speakers, but not great. I think I would like a more traditional directional stereo speaker myself. The JBL Xtreme looks interesting from the specs and the reviews, but it is fairly large.

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    tldr; -> Well, I walked into Best Buy this evening thinking I would like the JBL Charge 3. I walked out of the store with a Sony SRS-XB3 in my hands.

    Their demo setup didn't bother me that much with the short snippets and only a few tracks. The only real problem I had is that the same tracks weren't used for each companies demos. I thought the JBL Charge 3 had missing mids / upper mids. The JBL Xtreme was too bass heavy, but might have otherwise had a better tonal balance. The UE Boom 2 and Megaboom were just bad. They must be paying off reviewers. The Sony SRS-XB3 and SRS-HG1 caught my ear having what I thought to be full rich sound. I thought they sounded better with the Extra Bass turned off and the volume turned up a little more. Of course they had different demo tracks from the JBLs so I couldn't be entirely sure. With their demo tracks I thought the HG1 maybe sounded a little bit better than the XB3. Then I had an idea. I tapped my LG G4 to the top of the XB3 since it had NFC and it prompted me to pair to the speaker. I paired and had control of it, so I played a track I knew well from my phone. I was quite happy with what I heard. I tried to pair with the HG1, but it would not pair. They had a sign up that said the XB3 was on sale for $119.99 and the HG1 was $149.99 on sale. They XB3 had longer listed battery life, I was quite happy with what I heard, they had one in black left in stock, so I bought it.

    Turns out the sale sign was for last week, but they honored it (and took it down). I used a $10 coupon BB e-mailed me and left with SRS-XB3 in hand.

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    Thanks for posting the Sony model numbers. The SRS-HG1 is the one I liked when I was listening to them in the store. My thoughts mirror yours a bit with the UE Boom. I had watched and listened to numerous reviews on the unit but when I heard it in the store I wasn't that excited by the sound. I think their tradeoff was in making it very rugged takes away from the sound quality a bit. I liked the sound of the JBL better than the UE but the Sony was the best of the bunch. I can't remember why I didn't give the SRS-XB3 a listen but maybe I should go compare the two once again. I tried pairing my phone just like you did but my NFC wouldn't connect to the unit in my BB store. I also thought the Extra Bass detracted from the sound more than it helped. With the SRS-HG1 I noticed that it rattled the casing which is what I heard more of than the music. It could just be the demo unit was beaten up which is why it didn't sound good. Sounds like you got a nice deal on the speaker.

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    Playing with the Sony at home it sounds quite good and I'm even more impressed by it. It's no match for my Airmotiv speakers at work or my hi-fi systems at home, but the quality of the sound they crammed into such a relatively small box is pretty much shocking from my perspective. It can play quite loud and cleanly with no obvious coloration or distortion to the sound. It's even got respectable low end sitting in front of it with it on my kitchen table. The biggest shortfall I see is the relative lack stereo imaging. Of course that is due to it being so small and having both the L&R speakers close together in the package. However, the XB3 like many other bluetooth speakers, supports using two of them for more traditional stereo sound with two separated speakers.

    I'm not quite to the point of buying a second one just yet. But, the next time it drops to $99 at Amazon I might have to bite.
    Last edited by Stereodude; 01-17-2017 at 11:47 PM.

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    Well, I'm a tad late to the party!

    About 4 months ago, I got my daughter a JBL Go; it was our first experience with Bluetooth speakers, and it was cheap, so I bought it on a lark. For such a small thing, it sounds amazingly good.

    After the initial amazement wore off, it was clear it lacked highs and lows (but in its defence, it is tiny). After some research, I got her a Sony SRS-X55. It is truly amazing, and she loves it. She's a music freak, constantly listening to stuff on her iPod, iPhone and laptop. She played sample pieces for me, and it's worth every penny paid for it - the clarity is really good, and all the notes come through well balanced. Highly recommended. Did you not listen to it at BB, SD?

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    BTW, I paid a tad under $140 for the SRS-X55; it was about a third off from its usual price here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mubs View Post
    Did you not listen to it at BB, SD?
    They didn't have it. It looks to be an old model.

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    I fear we might give Merc a heart attack if he happens to stumble across this thread with all the Sony love.

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    They're bound to make something decent once in a while even if by accident. I didn't buy one (yet). BestBuy was out of stock on the one I wanted anyway so I may do something similar to you and wait for a sale on them.

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    Klipsch has a set. Haven't tried em.
    150-200.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mubs View Post
    BTW, I paid a tad under $140 for the SRS-X55; it was about a third off from its usual price here.
    It looks like Costco sells this model for $129.99. I gave it a quick listen. It sounded a tad bass heavy, but it was a bit hard to really get a bead on its sound signature since the bass was rattling the display and the buzzing made it hard hear it clearly.
    Last edited by Stereodude; 01-18-2017 at 08:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Santilli View Post
    Klipsch has a set. Haven't tried em.
    150-200.
    Then are you recommending them or simply giving us a heads up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    It looks to be an old model.
    Does that make it bad? Many times, newer models perform worse than older ones!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    It looks like Costco sells this model for $129.99. I gave it a quick listen. It sounded a tad bass heavy, but it was a bit hard to really get a bead on its sound signature since the bass was rattling the display and the buzzing made it hard hear it clearly.
    It is not bass heavy! The XB3 is; the B in it stands for bass. The SRS-X55 is heavy and powerful, so it needs to be placed on a firm surface, or the stuff it's placed on will buzz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mubs View Post
    It is not bass heavy! The XB3 is; the B in it stands for bass. The SRS-X55 is heavy and powerful, so it needs to be placed on a firm surface, or the stuff it's placed on will buzz.
    The XB is Extra Bass, which is a feature, one I leave turned off. I don't have a SRS-X55 at home, and I'm not going to buy one from Costco to audition it at home. I can't really agree with your synopsis of the two based on what I've heard, but I can't definitively refute it either since I can't do a controlled demo of the SRS-X55.

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    Whatever floats your boat, mate.

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    Sony has updated the models on their website. They've now got flashing lights. I saw them at CES, but didn't pay them much mind.

    http://www.sony.com/electronics/wire...akers/srs-xb40
    http://www.sony.com/electronics/wire...akers/srs-xb30

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    I'd give those a listen when they come out. I like the water resistance more than the flashing lights but if they sound good and the price is right I may consider one of those.

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    What about the GGMM M4? The reviews are good, but several come from the Apple crowd, so they have little value to me.

    It seems bigger than the units you mention in this thread. I just need something that plays nice for a bedroom and can play audio broadcasted from another room about 20 feet away (with a wall between). The wifi mode should make this possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    It looks like Costco sells this model for $129.99.
    Down to $109.99 in the store I go to and online.

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    The Sony SRS-XB3's are $99.99 at Amazon as of now. I brought my pair of them with me to China. They've been great for listening to music in my hotel room as well as sending the audio from my tablet to when I've watched TV shows / movies.

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    SRS-XB3 is now $98 at Amazon and B&H. Picked up a blue one to give to my Dad for Father's Day.

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    I can't believe I'm a Fixture LunarMist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    SRS-XB3 is now $98 at Amazon and B&H. Picked up a blue one to give to my Dad for Father's Day.
    Are they being discontinued? I wonder if an SRS-XB3 might work well in the bathroom.
    --Lunar

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    Are they being discontinued? I wonder if an SRS-XB3 might work well in the bathroom.
    Yes, they're being discontinued. The new model is the SRS-XB30. It worked quite well in the bathroom in China for listening to tunes while I was getting ready in the morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Yes, they're being discontinued. The new model is the SRS-XB30. It worked quite well in the bathroom in China for listening to tunes while I was getting ready in the morning.
    My headphones are dying, possibly due to the shower. Before that I was using the computer speakers, but they were bulky with all the cables and one fell into the tub.
    I would be using the SONY for TV if Bluetooths can be transmitted to it. What do you use for the transmitter? I see many cheap ones with problems on the Amazon. Thanks.
    --Lunar

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    My headphones are dying, possibly due to the shower. Before that I was using the computer speakers, but they were bulky with all the cables and one fell into the tub.
    I would be using the SONY for TV if Bluetooths can be transmitted to it. What do you use for the transmitter? I see many cheap ones with problems on the Amazon. Thanks.
    I was using a MP3 player with Bluetooth capability lying on the bed outside the bathroom. You could use your phone, a computer with BT, a modern TV that supports Bluetooth audio devices, etc.

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    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up. I decided to pick one up and give it a try. I also got a carrying case to keep it protected when I travel with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    Thanks for the heads up. I decided to pick one up and give it a try. I also got a carrying case to keep it protected when I travel with it.
    What color did you get?

    I also sort of accidentally did this too. The description at B&H is rather confusing though. Sony's page.

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    I just went for the boring black for the speaker. I went for this case to hold it all for traveling. I admit to not doing a ton of research on the case.

    Is that the new model Sony speaker? Did you get it yet or did you just order it now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    I just went for the boring black for the speaker. I went for this case to hold it all for traveling. I admit to not doing a ton of research on the case.
    I didn't get a case for mine.

    Is that the new model Sony speaker? Did you get it yet or did you just order it now?
    It's an old model. It came out over a year ago. I'm not sure if it's being discontinued or just on sale. I don't exactly see a newer replacement model in the pipeline. I only just ordered it. It's quite large in case you didn't notice. 12.8" x 25.6" x 13.4" and ~27lbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    I didn't get a case for mine.


    It's an old model. It came out over a year ago. I'm not sure if it's being discontinued or just on sale. I don't exactly see a newer replacement model in the pipeline. I only just ordered it. It's quite large in case you didn't notice. 12.8" x 25.6" x 13.4" and ~27lbs.
    The XB3 weighs 27lbs. ?
    --Lunar

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    Wow, no I didn't notice the size and weight until you pointed it out. I thought the image on the Sony page was just to make it look more impressive. I could see that being a fun speaker to bring to BBQs and outdoor gatherings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    The XB3 weighs 27lbs. ?
    Yes, and I brought two of them to China with me.

    Seriously though, that's the GTK-XB7. The SRS-XB3 weighs ~2.05lbs per the Sony website.
    Last edited by Stereodude; 03-15-2017 at 03:55 PM.

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    I got a little carried away today. Oops! (new other via eBay)

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    Merc's missing out on all this hot S*ny talk.
    - 3770k, 212 EVO, Z77X-UD4H, 32GB, 660w, Titan, 840 Pro/256GB, 2TB & 1TB, Define R4, P4317Q, Unicomp/104, M500, M401dn, Win7 Pro x64.

    - Nikon D610 w/grip, 50mm/1.4G, 16-35mm/4G, 105mm/2.8G micro, 200-500mm/5.6E.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowhiker View Post
    Merc's missing out on all this hot S*ny talk.
    Hey, I'm doing my part to try to bring him back here!!! I've bought 6 Sony products since the new year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Yes, and I brought two of them to China with me.

    Seriously though, that's the GTK-XB7. The SRS-XB3 weighs ~2.05lbs per the Sony website.
    Ok, I'll order a pair.
    --Lunar

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    Ok, I'll order a pair.
    I think you'll like them, but if you don't I'd suggest sending them to Merc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    I think you'll like them, but if you don't I'd suggest sending them to Merc.
    I will start with the two nightstands in the master bedroom.
    --Lunar

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    I saw the Sony GTK-XB5 on display in Costco when I dropped by today. It's $129.99. It's large, and the GTK-XB7 is even larger.

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    Shipment is delayed for some reason.
    --Lunar

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    Shipment is delayed for some reason.
    Who did you buy from? The SRS-XB3 I bought from B&H came yesterday.

    The SRS-X88 bought via eBay came today. It was definitely new. It did a firmware update after I got it on my WiFi. I haven't had time to listen to more than a few tracks with it via Bluetooth from my Walkman, so I won't say anything about the sound for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Who did you buy from? The SRS-XB3 I bought from B&H came yesterday.
    I received one XB3, but the other is due Monday and it may take me a few days to pick it up.
    It appears that each unit actually has two small speakers, so it produces stereo by itself.
    Sound is a bit strange, but not bad for the size. Extra bass is not useful.
    The unit is rather heavy, which I suppose indicates some decent speakers unless the batteries are quite large also.
    Black is a poor color choice since the surface is rubbery on four sides and has an affinity for skin cells and other debris.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    It appears that each unit actually has two small speakers, so it produces stereo by itself.
    Yes, but you don't get much stereo image unless you're close to it and sitting dead center. With two you link them and set them to left and right instead of duplicate mode and you get a good stereo image.

    Sound is a bit strange, but not bad for the size. Extra bass is not useful.
    I've found the unit is a bit sensitive to positioning. It sounds best with near a rear wall or with some shelf in front of it. They sound weak if you have nothing around it to reinforce/reflect the sound. Sitting it on a table in front of you at arms length is good. Sitting on the floor with it nearby is also good. Putting it on top of a tall stereo speaker so it's sort of our on it's own with nothing around it to reflect the sound is not. Generally I haven't found too many scenarios where they don't sound good. And yes, the Extra Bass feature is totally useless IMHO. It sounds much better with it off.

    The unit is rather heavy, which I suppose indicates some decent speakers unless the batteries are quite large also.
    It has a decent size battery, but the speakers can't be that wimpy.
    Last edited by Stereodude; 03-18-2017 at 09:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    I haven't had time to listen to more than a few tracks with it via Bluetooth from my Walkman, so I won't say anything about the sound for now.
    So I've listened to the SRS-X88 some and it sounds good. It's definitely a step up from the XB3 having an integrated subwoofer + real 2-way stereo speakers. It can definitely fill a room with quality sound. Again, stereo imaging isn't great because it's not physically that wide spacing the L&R speakers only so far apart. It is better than a single XB3 in terms of imaging though. I've tried casting to it with Kodi + Yatse. It shows up as a Chromecast, uPnP (DLNA), and Airplay target. Functionally casting works okay, but not great. The IR remote for the unit can't skip tracks (only play and pause) when casting and there's a healthy several second pause between the tracks. I couldn't get it to work as a DLNA sink from Kodi + Yatse. I didn't try Airplay. Bluetooth audio with LDAC from the Walkman (NW-35) sounds great. The IR remote can skip tracks here by controlling the Walkman through the BT link. I haven't tried the USB A or B functionality yet. Supposedly it can act as a DAC/speaker for a PC as well as play music files from a USB flash drive.

    It would definitely made a very solid out of sight / unobtrusive good fidelity music system for a room. Sure, it's not going to impress a diehard audio person expecting the sound of a full 2.1 system, but putting it in perspective even 15 years ago no one would have believed something so small could sound this good. It's smaller than a typical boombox yet sounds nothing like one having actual audio fidelity.

    Is it worth $400? That's a tougher call. I'd say probably not unless the form factor is the primary selling point. I got it for $210 shipped (new) which changes the value equation a bit. I'll find a use for it.

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    I can't believe I'm a Fixture LunarMist's Avatar
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    At some point the cost of some small speakers might not be so much and the integrated has only one box. I have a widebody head and like speakers spaced well apart.

    I have the Bluetooths connected to the TAO, but only one device has the APX low latency. Do you use one with both channels low latency or how does that work on the S*ny?
    --Lunar

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    I have the Bluetooths connected to the TAO, but only one device has the APX low latency. Do you use one with both channels low latency or how does that work on the S*ny?
    Your post would be more understandable if you didn't mess up all the acronyms. The SRS-XB3 doesn't support aptX. It supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC. LDAC is the highest quality, but so far limited to only other Sony devices (reportedly they are opening it up to others). I don't know the priority order of the other two though. I think AAC support over Bluetooth is more of an Apple thing.

    So my Sony Walkman uses LDAC with it. I presume my LG G4 phone and Nexus 7 (2013) tablet use SBC.

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