Information Applying to All Speakers

Speaker Ranking

Compared to Home Audio

None of the portable Bluetooth speakers will be as satisfying as high end home audio or bookshelf speakers which when properly selected and set up can present a 3d sound image with depth, height and pinpoint location accuracy along with a neutral response and extended treble and bass along with more midrange and treble clarity. Enjoy these portable speakers for what they are, a way to enjoy music in any room or any place you bring them. For the closest to ultra high end audio, check out the Vifa Helsinki or a TWS pair of Earfun Uboom L in that order.

Many of the Powered Bookshelf speakers will be very close to high end home audio and can present a 3d sound image with depth, height and pinpoint location accuracy.

Studio Monitors vs Hifi speakers

There’s a class of speakers known as studio monitors which have a goal of not covering up imperfections and being as neutral and resolving as possible which allows you to mix and master recordings well. These speakers can be used for general music listening, but due to their ability to not mask imperfections, may not sound as fun or as good as speakers designed for hifi use. For general listening you may prefer other less resolving speakers. Speaker companies who produce high end studio monitors that are known to be very resolving are Genelec, Neumann, APS and Yamaha.

Multi Speaker Pairing

Almost all of the speakers can wirelessly stereo pair (referred to as TWS) with the same model speaker for 6db more output and wide stereo separation. Search using ctl-f for “TWS: Yes” or the specific technology name to find them.

Some Bluetooth speakers can do non-stereo pairing with more than 2 speakers, JBL has Connect+ or Partyboost (not compatible) up to 100 speakers, Sony has Wireless PartyChain and Party Connect (not compatible) up to 100 speakers, Soundcore has Partycast and Partycast 2.0 (both compatible) up to 100 speakers, Bose has Party mode, Mifa has PartyAdd up to 100 speakers, Ultimate Ears has PartyUp up to 50 speakers, Marshall has Marshall Stack, and Samsung has Giga Party with up to 10 speakers. All speakers in the rankings are labeled with the technology they support, not all speakers support them. Search using ctl-f for “Party Mode: Yes” or the specific technology name to find them.

Note: Some of these multi speaker technologies may not work if you have a Bluetooth 4.x or less device like many laptops.

Multi Speaker Pairing of Different Brands

If you want to stream Bluetooth to multiple models of speakers that don’t support party mode you can use TCL Super Bluetooth or Samsung Dual Audio although you may have speakers with different latency that may seem out of sync.

Note, JBL daisychain is not compatible with any other non-JBL speaker and is possibly a fully digital signal.

Latency Concerns

DJing, playing an instrument, singing, or playing first person shooter games require latency below around 15ms (~1/100s). Watching video generally requires latency below 200ms (1/5s). Youtube on Android appears to automatically adjust for Bluetooth speaker latency, but not on iPhone.

Bass At High Levels

Almost all these speakers start cutting out bass around 60-80% to get to their maximum volume without distortion. Bigger speakers generally have deeper bass, there’s no way around physics.

Battery Life

Battery life is generally rated at medium volume. Running at full volume, expect 25-33% (example: 10 hours drops to 2.5-3.3 hours) of rated battery life.

Volume Steps

Iphones seem to be limited to 16 volume steps using the side buttons which is generally not enough. Click on the volume slider on the screen to access all 32 steps. Android has 24 volume steps which is better.

Disabling Audio Tones

Newer speakers from Soundcore, Tribit, JBL, Ultimate Ears, and Minirig can disable their startup, pairing and shutdown sounds by changing a setting in their app.

Changing Tracks

Nearly all speakers can skip forward tracks by pressing play twice and skip back by pressing play 3 times. Certain speakers may use a different button press.

Speaker Firmware Installation on a Mac

To install firmware on a speaker requiring a PC on a Mac, see these instructions