Soundboks Go review: A conveyable and expandable party powerhouse

Soundboks Go

MSRP $699.00

“The Soundboks Go will make sure that any crowd starts bopping.”


  • Great sound at loud volumes
  • Sturdy cabinet and bumpers
  • Good battery life
  • Effective app support
  • Awesome when paired with other speakers


  • Not as useful indoors
  • Limited codec support
  • Pricey

Bluetooth speakers are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are super-portable, some are supposed to be poolside pals, and others are happiest while you keep them at home. But when you must rock a complete block party, or perhaps even a small concert, you’re going to want some serious power.

That’s exactly where the $699 Soundboks Go finds its area of interest. This isn’t only a speaker, it’s a celebration in a box, and meaning it may get loud. Real loud. We pumped it as much as 11 to listen to it for ourselves and whomever else showed up.

What’s within the box

Unboxing the Go won’t reveal much inside. Aside from the speaker itself, you get a battery, charging cables, and a user manual. While I did test out the speaker with the carrier strap, it’s a $50 add-on on the time of purchase (or $59 when you buy it later).


View of rubber handle of Soundboks Go.Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends

I’ve previously listened to the larger flagship Soundboks Gen3, which is practically double the dimensions of the Go, so I had a great sense of what I used to be stepping into. The Gen3 is a monster of a speaker, sporting the form of rumbling boom a DJ would need to keep a crowd bopping. So is the Soundboks Gen2, which continues to be available. The Go follows much of the identical design philosophy, albeit in a smaller frame.

The grille in front is a carbon copy, as is the button layout and battery. In truth, the battery is precisely the identical, so if you may have a Gen3 already, you need to use its battery with the Go. Soundboks has also ruggedized the Go as much as possible. It may possibly effectively take a beating, and carry on playing, though I will surely advise not being reckless given the speaker’s price tag. Rubberized silicone bumpers throughout give it some good cushioning, while the cupboard can withstand heavy splashes of water, courtesy of its official IP65 rating.

Soundboks Go with carrier strap on shouldder..Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends

It weighs 20 kilos, so not the lightest thing to hold around, but when you park it somewhere, it’s good to go. A sturdy rubberized handle at the highest is your ticket to lugging it around, unless you choose for the carrier strap, otherwise you’re simply within the mood to treat it like an old-school boombox. It even has a gap at the underside to mount it onto a compatible tripod or rig.

There’s a slot within the back to slip within the battery, which you plug into the ability port nearby. You can even plug the wall charger directly into this same port when you plan to make use of this near an influence outlet. Outdoors, nonetheless, you’ll likely must depend on battery power a complete lot more, and buying a further battery ($149) might turn into crucial.

The one other port is a 3.5mm Aux-In. Unlike the larger Gen3, there isn’t a audio output or 1/4-inch input for microphones and guitars (or other instruments). You may still DJ with it if you must, but you possibly can’t get creative with instruments, unfortunately.

That’s form of a shame, given the ability the Go wields. It has two 72-watt Class D amplifiers, together with a 10-inch woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The speaker was built to push audio out in a linear direction, so it doesn’t have drivers facing the edges, back, or top, as an illustration.

Setup and configuration

View of buttons on Soundboks Go.Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends

The quantity dial doubles as the ability button. Turn it on and a hoop of LEDs light up to point volume level, which starts at zero and cheekily goes as much as 11 — an in-joke that previous Soundboks speakers have also made. Each portion of the ring is a step in volume level, so you may have a great idea where you stand in any respect times.

Next to that could be a function button that splits into three based on what role the speaker is playing. The rationale being that you could pair as much as five Soundboks Go speakers together, with one acting as a number, while the others join. You can even decide to stereo pair them for left and right channels, which is great when you’re going to maintain them aimed in the identical direction. Or you possibly can select to maintain them each in mono and place them in totally different spots to cover more ground. The Go speaks the identical language because the Gen3, letting you pair a Go together with a Gen3 should that ever materialize.

There may be a neat workaround to get past the five-speaker restriction by means of the Aux-In port. Principally, you would want to establish two Go speakers as hosts, after which chain them along with a 3.5mm line-in cable. Soundboks doesn’t restrict how much you do that, so theoretically, you possibly can put well over a dozen of them together playing the identical audio, with full control through the Soundboks app.

Showing the Aux-In port on the Soundboks Go.Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends

All of this wireless connection magic is handled via Skaa, a wireless streaming protocol that uses the two.4GHz frequency band, but is neither Wi-Fi nor Bluetooth. Skaa provides a lower latency reference to fewer dropouts than Bluetooth. In the event you select to make use of the Skaa Pro Mode, it reduces latency even further and improves stereo sound. The one catch is that you just max out at pairing two speakers (not 4), and range drops by 20%, so you would need to position them just a little closer to one another.

Bluetooth pairing with the Soundboks Go was initially harder than I expected. I used the Soundboks app to attach, and while it clearly saw the primary speaker, it refused to make the connection. Finally, after what appeared like 15 attempts to do it, I broke through. I then added the second speaker, and that was it, pretty smooth sailing.

Using the Soundboks app

It’s not deep with features, however the app does offer useful tools. First, it was nice to see that Soundboks continues to support its products with firmware updates. I noticed the identical thing with the Gen3, and the Go was no exception during my time testing it.

Moving on, the present sound modes are largely situational. In the event you’re outside and need to actually hear what the Go can do, you select Bass+. For something powerful, yet also mindful of battery life, you go together with Power. Indoor is self-explanatory as the best route when inside. EQ permits you to adjust the sound to your individual liking, and save your favorites as presets.

The app permits you to handle pairing multiple Go speakers, in addition to settings for each. Even a volume slider is there for you when that you must make adjustments. Other settings are pretty minimal outside of that, making it fairly easy to navigate your way around it.

Sound quality

Two Soundboks Go speakers paired together.Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends

Soundboks didn’t equip the Go together with aptX codec support, and also you don’t get hi-res codecs, like LDAC or aptX Adaptive, either. There may be AAC a minimum of. Clarity and quality definitely matter, however the Go’s purpose is to get loud with as little distortion as possible. It sounds great and does what it purports to do.

You come to appreciate pretty quickly that there are two tipping points to the speaker. For example, in Bass+ mode, the difference from volume level five to 6 is important. From nine to 10 or 11, it also hits a distinct gear. I discovered these respective thresholds applied to Power, Indoor, and EQ, though they naturally resonated in a different way. After I selected to tune my very own EQ presets, the impact on sound was like sitting in between Bass+ and Power. You may get a cleaner balance this manner, but Soundboks left its deepest bass response to the aptly named Bass+.

Not surprisingly, a minimum of to me, the Go performed thoroughly at high volumes. I could set it to, say, level eight or nine, and not likely worry about distortion. It gets plenty loud at those levels, so a bigger outdoor space with a large crowd would warrant going to nine or higher. It’s overkill in a backyard with closer proximity to other homes. Unless neighbors are joining the party, they’re going to eventually complain concerning the noise.

It was made for the beach, pool, backyard barbecue, or park bash.

Unlike the Gen3, nonetheless, the Go can push volume just a little harder without bringing the proverbial roof down. I’m no DJ, but I can see one covering a great crowd with one or two Go speakers. Stereo paired together, they pack a serious punch.

Perhaps too serious for indoor use. Even with considered one of them playing singularly, I’m unsure that is the speaker you would like when you plan to make use of it mostly inside. At level five or lower, there are many other Bluetooth speakers that may match the sound quality and volume level, while coming in much lighter and smaller. The Go is an out of doors speaker first, and that will turn into patently obvious the moment you unbox it and feel how sturdy it’s.

It was made for the beach, pool, backyard barbecue, or park bash. You could possibly probably even get away with using it for other functions — perhaps a small wedding or camping trip, amongst other things.

I also found the Skaa connection between the 2 speakers I tested worked well, though I can’t be absolutely certain of how significantly better the Pro Mode was in comparison with just leaving things, as is, with the regular Skaa connection.

Battery life

The battery pack sliding into the back of the Soundboks Go.Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends

Battery life is very contingent on what mode you’re using and the way loud you’re going with it. Soundboks measures its battery estimates on full blast max volume. That’s why Bass+ will tap out at six hours, whereas Power will hit 10 hours. Play at mid-level volume, and that number can go all the way in which as much as 40 hours. It’s all relative.

It’s also unsurprising. Bass+ goes as much as 121 decibels at 11, so there’s numerous power behind the loudness. That’s why extra batteries could be crucial when you plan to make use of the Go rather a lot in outdoor settings at the very best volume levels.

Our take

The Soundboks Go isn’t low-cost at $699, or $749 if you must throw within the carrier strap. It’s $149 for every extra battery. This may turn into an expensive proposition, but that usually happens with a solid product that may serve particular niches or use cases. This isn’t the speaker for everybody, though it definitely could be the one for you when you know exactly what you’re going to do with it to entertain yourself and a crowd.

Is there a greater alternative?

Other boxes like this do exist, and there’s an interesting one within the Sony SRS-XP500. It has big sound, some lighting effects, and guitar and microphone inputs. Despite being heavier, it won’t be as rugged because the Go, and battery life maxes out at 20 hours, but quick charging for 10 minutes can get you an hour’s value of playback. Plus, the lower $400 cost looks like a bargain compared.

For something somewhat comparable in size, and just a little lighter at 16 kilos, the JBL Partybox Encore Essential takes JBL’s partybox right into a smaller frame, yet retains lots of the same features, including the flamboyant light show. Not to say the more cost-effective $300 price. For something that shaves off just a little size — and a complete lot of dollars — the Ion Audio Block Rocker Plus might be value a search for a fraction of the Go’s price. It’s older, and doesn’t have waterproofing, nor an app to customize it, but it surely does have a handle with wheels and includes karaoke features.

How long will it last?

That actually relies on how well you treat it. The IP65 rating is pretty rugged, but that doesn’t make the Go bulletproof against all the weather. Watch out near salt water and sand, as it can be hard to rid the speaker of either in the event that they get into every nook. Soundboks offers a one-year warranty to cover malfunction issues — aside from damage from water or sand.

Must you buy it?

Sure, if you may have the space for it. I don’t just mean physical space for the Soundboks Go itself, but in addition open space outdoors or indoors where the speaker can get loud. You don’t need to crank it as much as 11 each time to justify paying for it, but it surely can be a waste of power when you never pushed it beyond its default volume.

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