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...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

News: and speaker comparison tool (beta)

Dear readers&friends,

Maybe some have already noticed, but oluvsgadgets is now reachable through its own domain:

I would also like to give my trusty readers the ability to try out my speaker comparison tool.
There is still some work to be done with this speaker audio database, but many will hopefully appreciate the ability to test it already now in an unfinished state. There are some bugs, and some features like "real volume" is not working properly yet, as well as "volume guide". The tutorial links at the top "how to use the tool" and details about the "recording setup" are also just placeholders so far and when everything is finished there will be an introduction video published on Youtube to make it really official.

There are currently more than 30 different speakers added, I also have measurements for nearly all of these speakers, but I have to edit and prepare them first before being able to add them to the database. I will also work on the description for each speaker, but as I am continuously adding more and more speakers (next will be the Marshall Kilburn for example and the JBL Xtreme shortly after), I have little time to work on all the small details now, therefore I would like you to try everything out as is.
The tool only works on desktop systems so far, as there seems to be a limitation with Android and iOS which are not able to play 2 videos simultaneously.

I hope you will enjoy it, feel free to play with it. I am not really sure yet, how good the tool will work and how much acceptance it will gain. But I hope it will become helpful at some point.

Here you go:

yours, Oluv

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review: JBL Charge 2+ where's the plus?

It's time for an update of the JBL Charge 2. After Bose added "II" to their new Soundlink Mini, Sony made an X33 out of the old X3, now JBL added a "+" to the new JBL Charge 2 which in contrast to the other two seems to be the better portable speaker for the upcoming summer especially because of its claimed water resistance. I thought I will do a detailed review of the Charge 2+ but after trying it out, I would say that it is the same speaker as it was before without the "+". Not much has changed or improved at all, therefore if you are really interested in all the details about the JBL Charge 2+ you can also read my original review of the JBL Charge 2, just simply ignore all my ranting about any distortion or DSP issues of the first version, as the JBL Charge 2+ has none of those problems. But when buying a Charge 2 you can always check if the latest firmware is installed. The latest firmware (1.4.1) finally fixed all problems for the Charge 2 as well and made both sound and perform virtually identical. If you have a JBL Charge 2 with the latest firmware, in reality you have a JBL Charge 2+ just without the alleged water resistance. The JBL Charge 2 can be meanwhile found for much less (Deutsche Telekom started offering it for 88€ recently), therefore I would rather go for the old unit, as I don't really believe any of the JBL Charge 2+ water resistance claims. If you are still interested jump in to read what has changed or what hasn't changed at all between the two.

News: Class A speakers - Braven BRV-PRO, UE Roll...

It is quite rare that iLounge gives an "A"-mark for a speaker, which according to them would mean "highly recommended". Now 2 recent releases got an A with the Braven BRV-PRO which got a straight flat A, the highest mark for any portable speaker (only some few other portable speakers received an A from them so far, like the JBL Flip, the G-Project G-Boom, Soundfreaq Sound Kick, id America TouchTone and the Soundfreaq Pocket Kick (you can find my own review of the Pocket Kick here btw). The other one being the UE Roll, which although just an A- is still highly recommended and impressive.

Of course I would like to test both speakers and give you some real unbiased opinion on them, but the Braven BRV-PRO costs 178€ here in Europe, when I could get two JBL Charge 2 for the same price with the recent offer from Deutsche Telekom. The UE Roll costs even 129€ in Europe and given that this is a European product, I find it questionable that it should only cost 99$ in the US. In this case I would definitely rather choose another Denon Envaya Mini instead.

Therefore folks, probably no review from me on these highly recommended speakers as I am not going to spend 300€ for these toys, but will rather invest the money in something more serious like the new JBL Xtreme, which in fact is already on order... This one will probably get a "C" on iLounge btw, just like the JBL Charge 2 which only got a "B+" from them. But I want to hear real music, not play lasso with my speaker or fetch it with my dog!

Of course any first hands-on experience on these is highly appreciated, feel free to comment if you already heard them and find them really that great!