Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fugoo XL - donation campaign and giveaway raffle

With every new video that I post I am asked why I don't review the Fugoo XL and compare it to the JBL Xtreme. The answer is simple: because I couldn't get a unit yet.
I have been in contact with Fugoo for some time now back when the small Fugoo was released in Europe last year. I also asked about the Fugoo XL immediately when it was announced the first time and was originally promised to receive a unit as soon as they became available. Unfortunately now when they have been finally out in the U.S. for nearly one month, I didn't get any answer about a possible unit anymore. I might have the chance to grab one when it becomes available in Europe which is supposed to be at the end of November, but this may be a bit late for many who are interested and still not sure which speaker will suite them more: Fugoo XL or JBL Xtreme!

As I want to stay as unbiased as possible for my reviews and not count on charities from companies who in return expect positive reviews for their free review samples, I would prefer to buy the speaker on my own. Unfortunately currently I cannot afford buying the Fugoo XL as it is available only in the U.S so far. It would cost me around 480€ including shipping costs, taxes and customs fees to get it to Europe. I already ordered the new and just announced Libratone Zipp Mini some days ago, which seems pretty interesting as well, therefore I cannot buy another speaker right now.
That's why I decided to start a kind of donation campaign for a review unit of the new Fugoo XL speaker.

My idea would be to ask for donations to cover the ordering costs of the Fugoo XL in order to be able to prepare an extensive review, make some comparison videos and add it to the audio-database. When everything is done at the end of my review I would of course give the speaker away and raffle it among all those who donated for it. My goal would be to achieve 500$ which would hopefully cover the shipping to Europe with some rest amount so that I can hopefully ship the speaker worldwide to the "winner" who will be chosen at random with some kind of lottery.

Why 500$?

some rough calculation:
300$ - Fugoo XL
~30$ - express shipping to an U.S. address of a friend or service
~80$ - shipping to Europe
+ 22% taxes and customs fees

I would like to collect 500$ until the end of October 2015. As soon as 500$ are reached, I will order the Fugoo XL "Style" immediately from Bestbuy or Amazon depending on availability, also because it is the cheapest model while "Sport" doesn't seem to be in stock yet. Then I will hopefully still have enough time for shipping it to Europe and doing my videos including a review etc. If everything works out, my plan would be to have the first videos up in mid November.
If 500 people donate 1$ each, the goal would be achieved quickly. I will stop the donation if the amount exceeds 550$, but I need some safety buffer depending on where I will have to ship the speaker afterwards. I have no idea how much shipping might cost to Australia for example!

If I don't manage to achieve 500$ until 1st November I will of course return all payments to the original donators, so there would be no risk for you that I keep the money unjustifiably. If you like the idea and would like to contribute but also to get the chance of winning the Fugoo XL afterwards, please donate through the button below.

(Update: I changed the payment method to now, as the with the usual donation procedure paypal charged around 14% fees from the donated amount. This way I will have quite a loss in case I have to refund all donations if the final goal isn't reached. On just leave the box at the bottom unchecked, as you don't pay for any goods).

Update 2: donations are closed now, the donation goal was reached, more updates coming soon!

Of course I will prepare Vlogs of any step and goal achieved and post them on Youtube, so that you stay up to date. And at the end there will also be a video of the final tombola, where the official winner of the Fugoo XL will be drawn. Maybe I can even broadcast it "live" through Youtube.

I hope it's obvious that I have no financial interest or profit from this campaign and simply want to contribute my part for anyone interested in the Fugoo XL.

I hope you like this idea and beg for some support.

Thanks a lot, your O!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Audio Pro Addon T3 - smaller and better than the Marshall Kilburn?

Prior to the IFA I didn't know much about the Swedish speaker company "Audio Pro". I have seen their Addon T10 speaker quite often when browsing through amazon, but it didn't catch that much of my attention until I discovered their latest announcement of the portable Addon T3 Bluetooth speaker.
Someone on Youtube claimed that the T3 sounded so much better so than he had to return his JBL Xtreme, while Whafhifi even awarded the T3 the first place in their Bluetooth speaker group test among other devices like JBL Xtreme, Onkyo X6 etc. And although Whathifi often awards highest ratings to rather mediocre speakers like the B&W T7 or the Cambridge Audio Go V2, I got nevertheless curious about the Addon T3 and thanks to the Austrian distributor Novisgroup I was able to receive a review sample from them, so that I could finally convince myself if this speaker really sounds that great. Jump in to find out more.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: Canton Musicbox XS - Bose clone "made in Germany"

Some time ago the original Jambox became a kind of template for many copycats which started bringing out speakers looking pretty much the same. In the meantime the Bose Soundlink Mini seems to have taken over this role as many companies are simply trying to copy the design and the sound of Bose with mostly just so-so results. Even Bose didn't change much for its Soundlink Mini II, they still pretty much look and sound the same with the same flaws and the same uncontrolled and distorted sound. And although the Soundlink Mini is far from really good sounding many companies still seem to take this as a kind of reference for their own speaker designs with the Canton Musicbox XS being probably the most extreme example I have tried so far. I highly regard Canton as a well established German speaker manufacturer delivering high-quality prodcuts and when I heard about their first Bluetooth speaker that was presented at the IFA I became really curious to hear it in person because it seemed pretty promising. Jump in to find out if the Musicbox XS is just another of these rip-offs or if Canton managed to deliver some really unique product.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

News: Coming up next...

First of all thanks to anyone who still finds it worthy to donate, I really appreciate any kind of contribution that allows me to cover my expenses.
Due to the strong interest I finally ordered the Brookstone Big Blue Party, which I only managed thanks to some income from the amazon-links you can see here. I still had to pay nearly as much for shipping and taxes to get the speaker here, just to let you know that I don't get this stuff for free.

Next I would like to excuse the lack of new posts, but I am a bit behind with my reviews because I got so many interesting speakers that I still have to cover including the Teufel Boomster, the BenQ Trevolo, but also the Aiwa Exos-9. In the meantime I had the chance to test out some further new speakers including the Canton Musicbox XS and the Audio Pro Addon T3 or the Denon Heos-1 and a promising low-budget tip: the Anker Premium Bluetooth speaker.
Now it seems as if I will even get some more soon like the long awaited RIVA S, the interesting KEF Muo and hopefully the Fugoo XL. Therefore it is hard for me to keep up with all the reviews. Writing a detailed review takes quite a long time, therefore I am considering to shorten my upcoming reviews a bit, in order to be able to finish more of them.

If you are interested in the latest news, please also check out my Youtube channel regurarly, as I keep that more up-to-date. I have more viewers and subscribers on Youtube, therefore I mostly concentrate on doing videos because these manage to generate 10 times more revenue than my site, otherwise I won't be able to do all this. Although my videos are maybe not best quality, they should nevertheless give you a pretty realistic idea of how the speakers sound as I really set a high value on audio quality. I already prepared some videos of the Teufel Boomster, of the BenQ Trevolo and also several videos covering the Aiwa Exos-9, including a funny loudness test if the Aiwa manages to annoy the whole neighbourhood:

You will also find a very recent sound comparison for the Canton Musicbox XS: (english) (german), and I am currently uploading a video for the Audio Pro Addon T3.
Although my speaker database is still in works and far from ready I am nevertheless trying to add new and new speakers. I just added the Canton Musicbox XS and the Brookstone Big Blue Party and I will add the Addon T3 and the Heos-1 next, but still need some time for additional recordings.

So coming up next I will hopefully manage to offer you some new reviews bit by bit. I will try to concentrate on the most newsworthy products that are still hardly covered anywhere yet, and then work off all the rest.

Please be patient and thanks for all your support!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

News: IFA - best portable speakers

I could not attend the IFA and I think all the hullabaloo wouldn't be the right place for me. But I read lots of announcements during my holidays and needed some time to sort everything before finally posting some summary. So here you have some late news about the IFA including some afterparty latecomers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: JBL Flip 3 - the UE Boom killer

According to JBL the Flip together with the Flip 2 are their most popular portable speakers. To tell the truth, neither of them really managed to impress me. They were rather tinny sounding, the first version had also quite harsh treble response with some honky upper bass boost, although the second version was smoothened out a bit, it still sounded far from impressive and the battery life was pretty underwhelming as well. Now JBL came up with a completely new design more similar to the new JBL Xtreme or JBL Charge 2. Let's have a look if the JBL Flip 3 (buy from amazon) is really an improvement over the predecessors.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: JBL Xtreme - how much bass can you handle?

The JBL Xtreme (buy from amazon) (not to confuse with the older and meanwhile discontinued JBL OnBeat Xtreme) suddenly appeared in an inconspicuous way without any preceding official announcement. There was just a leak on Youtube and some weeks later it was already available on the european JBL site for pre-order, which I did immediately as I had this particular feeling that JBL might really have an interesting product here. So far it doesn't seem to be available in the US yet, and to tell the truth I have no idea when it is going to be released there and why it hasn't been already released. Update: JBL Xtreme was released in the US on September 1st as well.
Looking back in the history it took JBL a long way to finally come up with some impressive portable speakers after a period with rather underwhelming devices. Although JBL always had great sounding speakers, their portable speakers were rather lacking, including all the old onTour models, the JBL Flip series, JBL Charge, to finally redefining their standard with the JBL Charge 2. The JBL Charge 2 despite having some initial issues is a pretty good sounding portable speaker in some ways even better than all competing models. The cylindric design with 2 opposing passive radiators at the sides was afterwards used for another Harman speaker: the Infinity One. The Infinity One was something like a blown up JBL Charge 2, bigger, with bigger sound and a more premium finish. Now the JBL Xtreme seems to continue with this obviously successful design and looks like a blown up Infinity One, again larger, heavier and more "extreme". Jump in to find out if the Xtreme can really take it to the extreme?

Friday, July 17, 2015

News: JBL Charge 2 firmwareupdate 1.4.1 - do it yourself

Thanks to this great community here, some anonymous contributor has published a way how to update the JBL Charge 2 on your own. The necessary firmware file was already posted by someone else some time ago, but so far there was no way how to perform the update without the right software. As many still seem to fight with JBL-support who is taking their customers for fools  claiming that there is no firmware update available for the JBL Charge 2 I think we have to thank our unknown hero for posting this. He provided an archive including the 1.4.1 firmware-file, an installation manual and the CSR BlueSuiteNow.
Of course I cannot provide any warranty that you will not brick your device, but acoording to many owners they were able to successfully update his Charge 2 from 1.3.8 to 1.4.1:

Here are some alternate download-links:

Please let us know if your update was successful!

WARNING: Some already managed to brick their speakers, so apply on your own risk!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Braven BRV-PRO

Braven BRV-PRO Review:

:by Kyle Weldon (July 1, 2015)

Bravens latest rugged outdoor entry into the portable bluetooth speaker scene is an overall solid speaker.  The design follows its little brother, the BRV-1, in many respects and for those familiar with the BRV-1, you know its a decent portable rugged speaker design.  Bravens approach on the audio spectrum is for these devices to be used in an outdoor environment.  I will break down the various aspects of the speaker below, but overall the sound signature is set for outdoor listening, with an emphasis on the midrange and treble section of the audio output.  But, the PRO does carry a good solid low end as well, once you hit certain volume levels.  Lets get into the particulars on the speaker:

Friday, June 26, 2015

First Impressions: Marshall Kilburn & JBL Xtreme... and the winner is?

It was a stressful evening. I got the Marshall Kilburn from my friend and wanted to concentrate on this next, prepare some preview video or even a full review. But arriving at home the JBL Xtreme was standing in front of my door.
I already had a short listen to the Kilburn together with my friend where we did some switching between the RIVA Turbo X and the Kilburn, and although quite a bit fuller sounding than the RIVA, the Kilburn didn't really manage to knock my socks off, but when I turned on the JBL I immediately knew this is going to be more fun. Suddenly the Kilburn started sounding a bit honky and tinny. Both are not neutral speakers like the RIVA for example, but the JBL is simply tuned for more fun. It is a bass-monster, very powerful, louder than the Kilburn, louder than the RIVA Turbo X and probably as loud as the Beats Pill XL (RIP), but with the difference, that the JBL still sounds punchy and powerful with lots of bass at maximum volume and the bass sounds like bass, not as if someone was knocking on wood. I couldn't notice any stronger distortion at maximum volume, and although there was some slight dynamic processing, it was not as extreme as on the JBL Charge 2 or on the Infinity One. The JBL Xtreme is a real party machine. Take it to the beach and crank it to the maximum, it will still sound impressive. They claim 40W but from AC-power, I tested if it became any softer from battery and although there is a slight difference in loudness when run from AC-power, I had to check several times to really hear the difference, it is by far not as pronounced as on the Harman Kardon Onyx for example. The JBL Xtreme gets just slightly louder maybe 1-2dB when plugged in, but it doesn't reduce bass or deteriorate sound by any means.
Everyone who is already in panic looking for some substitute for his Pill XL, because he sent it to Apple already, don't look any further. Even if you are still undecided if you are really going to send it in, just take the 300$ from apple and order the JBL Xtreme immediately!
Now the Megaboom really became an expensive toy.

Meanwhile I managed to prepare a short introduction of the Kilburn and soundcheck between Kilburn and the Xtreme, as well as a full review for the Xtreme here.

Please have a listen and let me know what you think:

And the winner is? I think I must have a bit more listen to the Kilburn...