It was always only a matter of time before the famous boombox of 1980s New York street corners made a comeback. But since many people carry much of their personal music library around in their pocket on a smartphone or MP3 player, is now the right time to stage a comeback?
TDK has been smart in realising that portable speakers such as Jawbone's Jambox (reviewed in Brunch, Oct 16, 2011) and others are in fact just modern day boomboxes, so it has embraced the technology and called its new device what it really is.
But, as gadgets get smaller, would anyone ever carry round such a huge thing? And have we grown out of our beatbox days? Let's take a look at the two-speaker A73 Wireless Boombox and see if TDK is on the mark.
Unlikely to go unnoticed, TDK has gone big with the Wireless Boombox. Weighing over 5kg, it might be a little too heavy to lug down the street on your shoulder, but the handle on top allows for easy carrying by the waist. The design is strikingly simple, with a clean black chassis and forward-facing speakers on the front and a subwoofer round the back. The front also houses two control dials, and a digital display rounds out the minimalist details for what is, after all, a straightforward gadget. It's a premium device, priced accordingly, and it looks and feels it.
Using the device couldn't be easier. It swiftly connects to a music source via Bluetooth, once it's selected from one of the front control dials.
The sound comes courtesy of two 5cm drivers and two 13cm passive radiators, with a built-in 13cm subwoofer to round out the bottom end. Sound quality overall is excellent, with a crispness right through the range. Some reviewers have spoken of a bass-heavy sound, but it is a beatbox after all. It handles the full range, from classical and jazz to drum and bass smoothly, although highly produced electronic music does drop off at either end of the range. The basic bass and treble levels can be adjusted via one of the front control dials.
It comes with a built-in FM radio, an auxiliary 3.5mm stereo input, and a remote control, although most music management will be manipulated from the audio source (ie your smartphone or other music player).
Power comes from an in-built rechargeable battery, offering around five hours of playback. TDK hasn't skimped on the battery and the weight is worth the extended life. Usefully, the USB port at the back can charge a device too.
TDK has pitched the Wireless Boombox perfectly. It's a fun device with good sound quality and it's easy on the eye.
At 13,900 baht, it is an indulgence, but will garner attention with its old school design. Not the most practical portable speaker on the market, it still wins fans and will start appearing in public. If it was 4,000 baht cheaper, it might appear in more Christmas stockings.