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Portable Speakers!! Consumers love portable speakers, and millions of these devices are sold each year. Of course, hundreds of companies sell such speakers. One company might sell an entire lineup of Bluetooth speakers with different features and designs. Choosing between all of these options can be a daunting task. If you’re buying a portable speaker, then you’ll want to keep certain things in mind before choosing one to buy. Otherwise, you could end up regretting your purchase.
Portable Speakers Working Procedure
Portable speakers use Bluetooth connectivity to provide the link between the music source and the portable speakers.
Note on Bluetooth:
Bluetooth is a wireless connectivity standard for short range communications. Using the 2.48 GHz ISM band and techniques like frequency hopping, it has developed into a standard that can be used not only for audio connections but very many other forms of wireless connectivity including IoT where low power is of the essence.
The Portable speakers contains the Bluetooth connectivity, an amplifier, and the speakers. A battery is also included making the speaker self contained and portable.
Often an auxiliary input may also be provided enabling wired connectivity if required.
The controls on the Bluetooth speaker generally consist of the On / Off switch, volume controls, a pairing button and indicator, and in some instances NFC may be available to make pairing easier.
Features Required in Portable Speakers
The quality of wireless speakers varies greatly depending on the model. While cheaply-made ones often sound tinny and distorted, higher-end models can deliver quite good audio quality. Better-made units also last longer. Other characteristics of good wireless speakers include
- Compatibility: Capable of connecting to a range of other devices via industry-standard technologies.
- Portability: Lightweight enough to move from location to location, with good battery life (for battery-powered ones).
- Style: Aesthetic appeal
- The primary advantage of Bluetooth speakers is its portability, which makes it easy to share music and makes listening to music a social experience with other people wherever you are. Portable Bluetooth speakers enable you to easily and effortlessly listen to music on the move anytime and anywhere. The majority of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market are also light weight and extremely small, which add to their portability factor.
- Since portable Bluetooth speakers are also wireless, they also add to its sociability factor. These types of speakers are ideal for outdoor use, since there is no need to bother with cables and adapters. Out camping, at the park, or on a picnic? Get the music party going with your bluetooth speakers!
- Powerful sound. Although portable Bluetooth speakers are small, they pack a big sound. The concert level quality of sound in the VAVA speaker for example, can go mano a mano with many larger, standard desktop speakers.
- Low power consumption. Another impressive feature of portable Bluetooth speakers are that they are energy efficient. Despite their quality of sound, portable Bluetooth speakers require a low amount of power and consume incredibly low power. A good Bluetooth rechargeable battery can work non stop for hours. The VAVA for example can play music continuously for up to 10 hours with its rechargeable battery.
- Not just for playing music, portable Bluetooth speakers can be used for other functions. The VAVA for example, can charge up your music playing devices such as smartphones and tablets.
- No installation requirements. Installation requirements are not necessary for portable Bluetooth speakers. They won’t need any installations or human intervention to be connected with your source device.
- Price point. Last but not least, anyone on any kind of budget can find a portable Bluetooth speaker that is within the range of what they are able to spend.
Buyers Guide To Buy Portable Speakers
Before you can decide on the best portable speaker for you, its necessary to determine what it is wanted for. The best buy portable speakers for the home, may not be the best for travelling, as the requirements will be totally different.
There are several points to consider when buying a Bluetooth speaker:
- Battery life: Battery life is a key parameter to consider. You don’t want to be recharging the speaker every hour. It should be able to last as long as you expect to need it. The small speakers tend to have smaller batteries and don’t last as long, but some of the larger ones can expect to last for 24 hours! More typical lengths of operation may be four to ten hours, and it will be specified as average battery life. The reason for this is that the louder you play the speaker, the more current it will use and the battery won’t last as long before it needs recharging. However when buying he Bluetooth loudspeaker, make sure the battery life is long enough for what you need. Also remember that the Li-ion batteries used do not like being completely discharged, so charge them up before you use the speaker, and don’t leave it discharged. Also as the batteries get older, so the amount of charge they can store falls.
- Audio quality: Obviously it is nice to have a Bluetooth speaker that sounds goo. Often they give specifications for total harmonic distortion and below 1% is a good aim. The lower the better. Some speakers will not give a specification for this, so you may want to listen to it. Also the frequency response is very important. Some speakers sound better than others and this is often as a result of a much better frequency response. Figures include the top and bottom frequencies that are heard before the response rolls away. Figures like 100 Hz to 20 kHz might be seen. The 100 Hz point is the low frequency and 20 kHz the top frequency. As most of us cannot hear up to 20 kHz, especially as we get older, the top frequency is not quite as important. The low frequency point indicates the level of bass we may expect – the lower it goes the better.
- Style: There are very many different styles which are available for Bluetooth speakers. This means that it is possible to choose the style which most suits what you want.
- Size: Bluetooth speakers come in a variety of sizes. There are the small conical or cylindrical types aimed at very portable operation and for packing into luggage, and larger ones that tend to provide better quality audio. These may be rectangular or even again cylindrical. Generally the larger they are the better the audio quality, and the larger ones can have a larger battery for longer use.
- Audio power: Not all Bluetooth speakers have this parameter specified. When it is stated, it is given in watts. Ten watts is loud, although the efficiency of the speakers in such a small case means they will not be very efficient. Be aware that more power is needed for large rooms and for use outside.
- Waterproof : As Bluetooth speakers are convenient, often because of the fact that they are portable, means that they will be placed in many area, even near water. Water and electronics don’t mix, so it is often very useful to have a speaker that has been made waterproof . Some speakers are even submersible but it is more common to have ones that are water resistant. Water resistant speakers are especially useful when being used at a poolside or on the beach.
- Bluetooth version: Often there will be a specification for the Bluetooth version. Bluetooth v.1 was the first version that came out many years ago, and it is quite a rarity to find any equipment that uses this now. Version 2.1 is seen a lot but there are also many products that uses later versions like Bluetooth 4.0 and even Bluetooth 5.
- Connecting multiple speakers: Some speakers have the ability to connect to an second speaker for stereo sound. If stereo sound is important, then this is a feature that is worth investigating and putting on the “wants” list as there are now quite a few speakers that do it.
- NFC: Connecting a music source like a phone or iPod to Bluetooth speakers is normally very easy. However it is possible to use NFC, near field communications on NFC enabled speakers to bypass the settings and just start playing music. NFC allows compatible devices to connect to a speaker via Bluetooth simply by tapping the two together. The downside is that even though iPhones have an NFC capability, it is used for Apple Pay, and as a result NFC has been devoted to only this for security reasons. This means that this capability is only useful with Android phones. But, hey, it is very simple to connect with Bluetooth these days.
- Wired inputs: Many older devices like the iPod classic do not have Bluetooth. Either you can buy a small Bluetooth transmitter, or you could even consider a good old wired audio cable! Virtually all speakers have a 3.5mm jack input so it is still possible to connected wire-only devices via a suitable cable. Before assuming any particular speak has a jack input, it is always best to check.
- Speakerphone capability: It may be that using a phone as the music source, you may need to take calls. This can be done using speakers that have a microphone incorporated along with speakerphone functionality. This can be useful if the speaker is to be used by a desk – probably quite annoying for others if it is used by the side of a swimming pool, as everyone will hear the conversation.
Technical Issues With Wireless Speakers
Besides their reputation for uneven sound quality, two other technical challenges can hinder the effectiveness of wireless speakers
- Signal Interference: Radio signals in the air from other household gadgets can interfere with wireless speakers, degrading sound quality and (in extreme cases) causing their audio to drop out completely.
- Power Cords: except for the smaller Bluetooth models, wireless speakers must be plugged into wall outlets, arguably making them not truly wireless.
The first stage in picking the best portable speakers to buy is to decide exactly what you want to use it for. Some speakers may be for use on the home – others may be for outside, listing when you are barbequing outside, etc., others may be a portable speaker for when you are travelling. This will Help you to buy the best one.