14 JBL Party Box gOccasionally there are circumstances under which a desire for sound quality is indisputably outweighed by the quest for volume. I may be speaking hi fi heresy here but I know this to be true because I have been there. Okay, I was young and when one is young, stupid and throwing a party one’s top priority in a music system is not nuance, depth, definition et al, it’s Loud.

Loud, like someone has to yell to be heard by the person beside them. Loud as in a hard driving bass beat that rolls out of the house, down the street and on to the next suburb.

The problem in my case was a lack of money, and what money I had was all going on beer and pizzas anyway. So I ‘borrowed’ my dad’s Wharfedales and cranked them up so hard the voice coils melted and the suburb was thrown into an eerie silence. A valuable life lesson for someone who, from that point on, had to buy his own speakers.

JBL Party Box bLook at JBL’s new Party Box 300 and you’d suspect it could set the dogs barking throughout surrounding postcodes. This thing is roughly the height of a bar fridge and at around 16 kilograms it’s seriously heavy and awkward to carry despite grab handles at each end. You must plan carefully before moving it. But it’s also seriously solid. And it has cool stuff like Bluetooth and colourful, ever changing disco lights that pulsate in time with the beat.

There are two 16.5 cm woofers and three six cm tweeters in there that produce what JBL assures is its ‘signature sound’. If you’re wondering about JBL’s signature sound it involves a great deal of bass. This is further enhanced by a button marked ‘bass boost’.

And the Party Box 300 is in it for the long haul. It carries a massive rechargeable battery that’s good for 18 hours after a five-hour charge. It can take a Bluetooth signal (it’s only standard SBC but no one is likely to notice) RCAs, USB or a 3.5 mm minijack. There are separate inputs for a guitar and a microphone and both have a level control. Two Party Box 300s can be set up as a stereo pair, either wirelessly through Bluetooth or hard-wired through the RCAs.

The lighting circumnavigating the woofers can be altered through four modes, meter, pulse, party and off, but there’s no indication of which is which. Just scroll till you find the one you like.

14 JBL Party Box hThe bass it produces is extreme, floor shaking stuff that ensures no one in the house will get to sleep when it’s cranked. And the bass stays relatively clean even with the volume maxed. The three tweeters – two at the top, one at left bottom – are, like most tweeters, highly directional. You must sit in front of this speaker to hear meaningful high end in the music. Moving to the sides, or even standing up, causes the high range to trail off fast.

With all the promise it presents I was kind of disappointed to discover that at full stretch the Party Box 300 is not earth-shakingly loud. It’s certainly loud enough for a garage full of dancing people but it falls well short of the type of volume that melts voice coils. I guess there’s electronic protection built in to prevent this.

That, and/or JBL is conscious of angry lawyers alleging client hearing damage or disruption of someone’s quality of life. Ho hum.

Also a bit surprising is that at $599.95 there’s no remote.

First published by smh.com.au April 2019.


Tags: ,