Sound Blaster ROAR: 21st Century Boombox

    To be honest, this is one of the most difficult "reviews" that I have ever written. You simply don’t know where to start, since you want to tell about everything all at once. And emotions overwhelm, and the voice of reason howls a wolf, and in general “full pe”.

    SB Roar is, on the one hand, another representative of “mobile” audio devices, and on the other, a multimedia processor that simply, efficiently and tastefully solves the problem of “listening to music”. And with the third - perhaps ROAR - this is an excellent, albeit unconscious, attempt to resurrect portable audio centers legendary for the 70s, 80s and 90s .


    Everyone says that the appearance resembles a book: well, I will not be original, it is. Size resembles a volume of War and Peace; weight, too. Despite the 100% Asian roots of the company, the appearance turned out to be completely “European”. Accurate lines, smooth curves, high-quality materials - it's nice to see and take in hands, and usability.

    The entire front-top part is covered by a neat mesh, the “control panel” is represented by a rubberized soft-touch surface that does not collect dirt and fingerprints, the side faces are also covered by a “mesh”, but of a slightly different design and size. Behind this protection are three speakers, two passive emitters, two separate amplifiers, a wireless unit and a control module for this piece of happiness.


    Actually, the column most effectively and easily solves the problem of listening to music: three ways to connect, the ability to work both stationary, from the network, and "in the field", excellent sound quality (about it a little later) and even the ability to work without any connection with any or device.

    By wire, music can be transmitted through a classic mini-jack or (optionally) via a USB 3.0 cable. In either case, you can (and need) install a column control panel on the computer (the software is easy to find on the Creative website), after which the usual 2.1 system turns into a multimedia center with its own set of presets, an equalizer and other post-processing delights .

    Wirelessly - NFC + Bluetooth (or just BT, if Cook didn’t tell anyone to enjoy the benefits of progress in the field of wireless interfaces) with the A2DP protocol and (optionally, if the device supports it) AptX audio codec (here iOS users, as far as I know, are also in flight, but for them the column is capable of AAC).

    In addition to the above methods of connecting to an audio source, you can insert a regular MicroSD card into the column, with which it will play MP3 files itself. All necessary control keys are located on the back of the device:

    In addition, as you may have noticed, there are recording buttons, as well as a “parent” USB-connector. No, unfortunately, you cannot combine 2 speakers into the audio system through it, but you can recharge a mobile device far from civilization from the built-in 6,000 mAh battery. And the record buttons are nothing more than a voice recorder. That is, it is quite possible to use the column as a universal “corporate” solution for audioconferencing discussions of working moments, and as a “headset” it works perfectly - the ROAR microphone makes sound much cleaner and more pleasant than the built-in 90% webcams and laptops trash. In skype, in general, everyone asked, "Have you bought new headphones with a microphone"?


    The controls are concentrated on two planes - on the "upper" side - (where the power button is), and on the "back" (where the interface connectors).

    Buttons, as you see, are signed, it is necessary to explain the work of only one of them - ROAR. She is responsible for the inclusion of some enhancers (it is not clear whether she removes the power save mode, or makes corrections to the amplifiers, or activates some additional equalizer preset), which clearly and completely recognizable make the sound “deeper”, “juicier ", In the photographic language - expand the dynamic range. It is not clear why it was made a “button”, and not a sliding knob on the back, but the effect is pleasant and understandable.

    Audio features

    As I wrote a little higher, in the column there are three speakers at once: two “tweeters” are directed forward (if you put it with the power button up, as was planned by the authors of this device), the mid- and low-frequency speaker is directed upwards, and the two sides contain passive membranes that add some more low frequencies to the capabilities of this “audiobook”.

    Sound ... sound ... for the size of the source, it is simply amazing. The volume margin is indecent. Quality is also difficult to describe in censored words. All other mobile speakers, including BOSE Soundlink Bluetooth and Jawbones, either smoke aside, or have a different form factor, or both. The tops are detailed and clear, the middle frequencies are juicy and voluminous, and you simply do not expect low frequencies from such a little thing. Not to say that you’re drowning in them, tea, not a 20-inch subwoofer, but the depth of sound is really surprising. No wonder they set passive emitters and bother with separate amplifiers. For sound (adjusted for size and mobility) - five with two pluses.

    Non-audio capabilities

    In addition to the sound-reproducing part, from which surveyors and users drool over the entire Internet, the column is able to: work as an alarm clock (classic), play not only MP3s, but also WMA / WAV from the card, record telephone / skype conversations (which are through it pass), work as a siren (not much will happen on a picnic), work as a regular “alarm clock”, encouraging the owner with loud noises at regular intervals, and, as a countermeasure, lull him to sleep. A special “good night” mode will smoothly lower the playback volume, and then independently turn off the power of the ROAR.

    The manufacturer promises autonomous navigation on one battery charge up to 8 hours, but I (using a couple of hours for several days in a row) did not charge the speaker from Monday to Friday, that is, the promised time is fully confirmed in practice, although for continuous playback at maximum volume, I think the results are somewhat more modest.

    Unusual user case

    Actually, in addition to the device itself, which was on my test, I had the good fortune to communicate with several friends who purchased such a thing as ... an audio system in the car. It plays loudly, works with a smartphone, without wires, and even at work / at home it can be used for its intended purpose. The question “why?” Usually answered something like: “to buy a head + normal sound in a car costs 20, this thing costs 9 and is used in three places at once”. Not that I would mind, but why not?


    A clear winner in the quality, quantity and duration of positive emotions among mobile speakers. Suitable for home and office, and for a picnic, and in the car, and in general. Perfectly assembled, works great, an excellent set of pleasant things in a very compact case and with a very reasonable price tag. Column, by the way, won the Ret Dot Award 2014 .

    Issue price and competitors

    Creative Soundblaster in Yandex Market is offered at a price of 9,000 rubles.

    Competitors can be chosen in two directions: the same price and the same quality. Let's start with quality.

    Beats Beatbox Portable

    Price in the region of 13 thousand rubles , weight - 4 kilograms. Not a competitor in form factor, one and a half times more expensive.

    Beats Pill XL

    Price - the same 13 thousand , weight - 1.5 kilos, “tablet” design. Again, almost one and a half times more expensive.

    BOSE SoundLink Bluetooth II

    Stunning appearance, high-quality sound, everything is only 1.3 KG and the average price on the Yandex market is around 16,000 rubles.

    BOSE SoundLink Bluetooth III

    The third version also looks good, sounds great, and costs the same 16,000 .

    Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker

    11 thousand rubles . Great look. But it sounds worse than ROAR, at least in my (and not only mine, foreign surveyors also think so) subjective look. And the volume in it is less.

    Jawbone big jambox

    An excellent, loud and light speaker, which is not very convenient to move (sharp corners in a backpack - this is just my dream). I have nothing against it, but the design and price tag are not for everybody. And ROAR, nevertheless, plays louder, albeit a little.
    On the market they ask in the region of 11.5 - 12 thousand rubles. Already closer.

    Well, what can you buy in Russia for the same money as ROAR (the list is big, I don’t see the point here) - it either plays worse, quieter, more muffled or just “sad”, or it has a completely different form factor. There are simply no competitors in terms of ratio (quality + dimensions + weight ~ 1.1 KG) / price . Well, if anyone had experience with ROAR and disagrees with me - let the first one throw a stone at me in the comments. ;)

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