No support for high-res codecs such as aptX or LDAC
Soundboks GO is a well-built speaker designed to be used in any weather. It sounds great almost everywhere at higher volumes, but it has too much oomph to be effective in small indoor spaces.
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Best Prices Today: Soundboks Go
Soundboks speakers look and feel like components from a pro-grade PA system, but their capabilities are more in line with consumer audio speakers. If you need something with a bit more muscle for your outdoor cookouts or want to DJ your own parties, the Soundboks GO will impress your guests and deliver a whole lot of volume.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best Bluetooth speakers, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
Soundboks Go specifications
The Soundboks Go is the smaller—believe it or not—more portable companion to the company’s $999 Soundboks speaker. Smaller doesn’t mean lightweight, though; each Go measures 12 x 18 x 10 inches (HxWxD) and weighs 20 pounds. It’s heavy enough that you’d be wise to consider the optional $59 carrier strap if you’ll be lugging the speaker to outdoor events.
Still, that’s quite a bit smaller than the third-generation Soundboks, which measures 25.6 × 17 × 13 inches and weighs 34 pounds. That’s big enough to move from hand-carry to hand-truck for everyone but the strongest user.
The Soundboks Go’s design makes it look like it would fit into an amp stack at a music festival. The honeycomb grill and silver logo echoes the look of old-school Bose or Peavey PA speakers. The case and grill are made of ABS and polycarbonate, and there’s a silicone rubber bumper around the edges to protect your legs from the bruises that bumps from the hard case would cause. There’s a polyester strap running around the case and a TPE handle.
The speaker features Merus Audio Eximo amp switching for its 2 × 72-watt continuous Class D amplifiers. There’s a 10-inch woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The bass ports are positioned around the woofer, making this a speaker that’s sending its audio in one direction.
The Soundboks Go offers Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and a 3.5mm audio input. That’s a downgrade from the regular Soundboks, which in addition offers a 3.5mm audio output and dual combo microphone or instrument (XLR, 1/4-inch) inputs.
Pairing two Soundboks Go speakers
Pairing proved to be a challenge. The enclosed manual describes how to use Eleven Engineering’s Skaa pairing technology to set up one speaker as a host before connecting additional speakers. This method was unreliable at best. If I did get them to connect, the pairing was lost on next usage and the frustrating process started over.
A caveat here is that I’ve never had luck with Skaa on any devices I’ve tried. There’s a possibility of long-term operator error here. One thing that Soundboks could do to help is to make a demonstration video that walks users through the Skaa pairing process.
There is, however, a solution not described in the user manual, and it involves the Soundboks app. Using an iPhone, I paired with two Soundboks Go speakers in my Bluetooth settings and then used the app to create a Team.
Once you’ve figured out the pairing, you have options. Both speakers can continue to broadcast in mono, which is useful if you’re putting each speaker on opposite ends of a space. But the speakers shine when you assign left or right channels to each speaker—you’ll get excellent stereo separation.
The Soundboks Go operates on battery power
A removable battery called the Batteryboks powers the Soundboks Go. The battery, which is just as solidly built as the speaker, slots into a well on the rear side of the case. You can buy backup Batteryboks speakers for $149 each.
Battery life was outstanding at mid-volume, offering 40 hours of playback on a charge. If you’re blasting full volume at a party, that drops to 10 hours. That’s obviously not enough for a full-day event or a weekend away from a power source. If you’re planning to use one or two speakers in your amateur or semi-pro party setup, you might want to budget for backup batteries.
Soundboks’ Direkt app delivers live performances
If you’re an iOS user, Soundboks offers a live listening experience called Direkt for its speaker owners. On Friday and Saturday nights, the company livestreams DJ sets direct from clubs and studios around the world. In May 2022, the lineup included appearances by Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, Lunice live from Montreal, and Jarreau Vandal live from Amsterdam.
Here’s hoping that Soundboks continues the series for years to come. The experience manages to be both remote and communal at the same time. You may be enjoying the dance party at home, but there are potentially thousands of other people sharing the experience around the world at the same time. If you miss the live set, it streams for 24 hours after it’s over.
Soundboks claims that its founders were inspired to create the company in 2014 after attending Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, one of Europe’s greatest music festivals. Everything about the design, the functionality and the impressive Direkt streaming platform suggests the company wants to recreate a communal listening experience, preferably an outdoor one.
The Soundboks GO is a great Bluetooth speaker, but it’s not designed for home listening. To take advantage of its strengths, you’ll need to use it outdoors or at least in very large indoor space. The speaker sounds best at higher volumes and, while lacking all the bass of the larger Soundboks, still delivers impressive low end for a speaker its size. If you can afford them both, two Soundboks GO speakers make an impressive stereo pair.