Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best portable stereo 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated September 1, 2020
Best portable stereo of 2018
I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best portable stereo that you can buy this year. Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing portable stereo should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition.
Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this portable stereo win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
Why did this portable stereo come in second place?
I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
Why did this portable stereo take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials.
portable stereo Buyer’s Guide
While it’s easy to get caught up in the other features, the first thing you should look at when shopping for a Bluetooth speaker is the physical dimensions of the speaker.
There’s no faster way to be disappointed in your purchase than to spend a bunch of money buying a new Bluetooth speaker only to find that it’s way bigger (or smaller) than you anticipated leaving you with a speaker that’s really inconvenient to bring the places you want to bring it (or so small it lacks the space for the physical speakers to deliver the sound you crave).
Bluetooth speakers generally fall into two primary size categories. On the one side you have the ultra-portables that aren’t exactly pocket size but could easily be stuffed in a coat pocket, small bag, or purse. The Braven BRV-falls soundly into that category with a volume roughly that of can of soda (albeit a bit boxier). You won’t be sticking it in the back pocket of your jeans but at such a small size and weighing only 1ounces, it’s easy enough to toss it in a bag and take it with you.
The NYNE Bass, on the other hand, represents the semi-portable/table-top end of the Bluetooth speaker market. It is most certainly not coat pocket friendly nor even suitable for a small bag or purse. It’s roughly the size of a breadbox, large enough to merit a carry handle molded into the upper portion of the unit, and weighs 6.pounds (nearly times heavier than the Braven).
Now, before you fall under the spell of miniaturization and small form-factor consumer electronics let’s take a look at the other features to see where the trade-offs arise when opting for one speaker weight class over another.
If you’re looking for a big speaker to place out on the patio, ruggedized construction might not be a high priority. If you’re looking for a speaker to take to the beach, however, a speaker that can survive a splash or two becomes more important.
There’s not specific definition of “ruggedized” as far as the Bluetooth speaker market is concerned, so you’ll need to read the fine print for each speaker you consider.
The Nyne, for example, is a very sturdily constructed unit (the edges of the unit are rubberized, and we’re fairly confident it could survive a tumble to the patio surface just fine), but the manufacturer makes no claim that it is a ruggedized unit.
The Braven, on the other hand, is specifically advertised as a waterproof ruggedized Bluetooth speaker that can withstand full submersion for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. We’ve dunked it in buckets, stuck it in the corner of a shower (and, by the way, it sounds absolutely fantastic when combined with the acoustics of a tiled bathroom), and kicked it around (metaphorically that is) at the beach. The speaker is designed for the moderate abuse that a beach goer/camper would throw at it and includes features such as sealed speaker membranes, a waterproof case, and a rubber-sealed cap that fits over the ports when they aren’t in use.
Bringing It All Together
When it’s time to actually do some shopping, prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of speakers on the market. To brace yourself for the tidal wave of units even a simple search yields, read over the feature list above and prioritize your needs.
Battery life isn’t improved over original
Despite its small size, this option offers surprisingly good sound performance and, get this, up to 40 hours of battery life when listening at medium volume. We were able to get nearly 20 hours out of it at a high volume.
Job Site Radio
Isn’t retro a great thing? Boomboxes might be considered a thing of the past, but with new upgrades, they are making a comeback, and with vengeance. Bringing the portability of an mpplayer but packing the sound punch of a full-on stereo, best boombox let you bring the party with you.
From dorms, offices, and picnics to beaches and kitchens, you have a choice of multiple places and formats to play your music on. However there so many boomboxes out there on the market today, each model with a different kind of user personality in mind. In this boombox buying guide 2018, we’ll give you every bit of information you need to find the boombox that fits your style, needs, and budget. Let’s start from the beginning.
We all know that music is important for our emotional well-being which is the reason investing in a boombox is something worth considering. To get the maximum benefits out of this investment, however, one has to ensure that you can get the different boombox available on the market. Without an idea of how to select the best unit, the chances are that you will not gain the maximum benefits out of your investments. As such, we are here to help you select the right boombox so that you can take advantage of the best sound quality and value for your money. In this article, are the best boombox reviews 2018, and a guideline to help you select the perfect boombox. Have a look at it and be sure to have an easy time once you set out to make your purchase.
The Anker SoundCore makes the best cheap Bluetooth speaker even better, offering big sound and a 24-hour battery within a wonderfully compact design. It’s also water resistant now, making it an even better companion for a quick trip to the pool or beach.
Yes; Google Assistant
The JBL Link 20 is one of the few third-party Bluetooth speakers that taps into Google Assistant, allowing you to do things like check the weather or control your smart home wherever you are. It’s also simply a great premium speaker, with balanced audio, a rugged, waterproof design, and hours of battery life.
How We Test Bluetooth Speakers
To evaluate each Bluetooth speaker, we listen to a wide range of music and test the device’s durability, if applicable. We also test speakerphone capabilities (if available) and play tunes continuously to see how long the speakers’ batteries last. We also consider the quality of the design and ease of use and setup.
Other features we consider include whether a given Bluetooth speaker supports Siri and/or Google Assistant voice prompts, as well whether as it has any rugged features such as dust- and waterproofing.
What about battery life? While not too long ago the standard battery life for a Bluetooth speaker was around five hours, we’ve reached a golden age in Bluetooth accessory battery life and with many budget speakers offering upwards of 7-hours per charge, we wouldn’t recommend buying a speaker that offers anything less.
Every now and again, you’ll come across a Bluetooth speaker that offers a remote. While a remote can be useful in certain environments, especially if the volume of the speaker is controlled independently instead of mirroring the input volume, it’s not essential.
This is especially true if you intend to play music from your smartphone via Bluetooth, as you’ll already have the media controls you need in your hand.
Water and dust resistance
If the Psyc Monic’s styling is a bit too in-your-face then Aukey’s Eclipse is an excellent alternative. It’s roughly the same size but has a nice woven black fabric covering most of the body, with an attractive metal base.
There are more buttons on top than the Monic, so you get volume and separate track skip buttons. Plus, there’s a microphone so you can use it for hands-free phone calls.
At the back is a micro USB charging port and a 3.5mm minijack aux input so you can play music from an old MPplayer or anything else that doesn’t have Bluetooth.
It’s simple to pair your phone with the speaker and we found that the Bluetooth range was larger than Aukey claims, streaming music reliably at a distance of around 15m.
There are two 10W drivers and passive “subwoofers” at either end of the speaker. And they sound amazing. Considering how small it is, the Eclipse delivers much more volume than you’d expect – easily enough to fill a room.
And even at top volume, there’s no noticeable distortion. Bass is surprisingly powerful, but it doesn’t crowd out everything else, so no matter what style of music you play, you’ll be pleased with the quality.
We tested it by watching three films back to back at around 7percent of max. volume and it was perfectly loud enough and still had battery power left.
This is because there’s a 4000mAh battery inside which Aukey says lasts at least 1hours. It’s a few pounds more than the Monic, but we think it’s worth it.
The Oontz and its stylish sibling the Oontz Angle are a few reliable options here. Among the lesser-known entrants, I’ve had good luck with the Phoenix from Beacon Audio and I’m also quite partial to the nice-looking, compact and durable speakers from Bem Wireless that are marketed to university students.
Ultra-rugged or compact
Some of the smallest Bluetooth speakers out there are looking to carve out that niche to become the go-to way to enjoy and share sound on the trail, the road or anywhere else where extreme durability and compactness are required.
Outdoor Technology is a standout here, with a speaker, the Buckshot, that can likely survive being dropped off a cliff or into a creek and is about the size of a candy bar. The Philips Shoqbox also gets rave reviews from active outdoor audiophiles.
Sony WM EX194S
One of the last Walkmans to be built, the WMEX194S is a fairly basic player but it incorporates technology that provides extremely smooth tape speed and low power consumption. This gives it a claimed 2hour playing time from two AA batteries, which combined with good sound quality makes it a popular choice. Or for a cheaper alternative, check out little sister model WM-EX180 which has a great build quality for price.
Sony WM-D6C Walkman Pro
Sony’s Professional Walkman is one of the most desirable tape recorders ever made. Not only because its build quality is so high or that there are so many features squeezed into its compact form, but ultimately because it sounds so good. There aren’t many cassette decks that inspire enthusiasts to wax lyrical about sound but this is one of them, possibly the only one that isn’t a Nakamichi. Used by professionals to portable replace reel to reel recorder in the Eighties it retains a cult following but, thankfully, has not featured in any sci-fi movies to date.
Kick It: The clunky street shoe design actually performs a pair of functions. The large tread on the bottom helps keep it in place while the loop gives you an integrated attachment for toting this around with your gear. Bluetooth connectivity is decent, though it doesn’t use aptX or any other enhancement feature, so the range is limited. To counteract that, there’s also a standard 3.5mm input on the side for getting your audio on the chain, so to speak. It also has a micro-USB which makes it a basic charging station for your standard devices, adding function to the funky form.
Cycling Companion: The boomBOTTLE+ was made specifically to fit into the drink holster offered by most bicycle companies. The goal is to reduce the amount of weight a cyclist carries while also providing them with sound sans earbuds. Triple driver audio in a balanced body helps create a superior acoustic chamber that puts music into the air with greater concentration so it can travel further and sound better as it comes out. At both the higher and lower frequencies, you’ll lose a little clarity, which reduces the bumping bass or the banshee highs, but the rich, warm, comfortable mid-range still creates an affecting experience in a small, inexpensive package.
Playtime: 20 Hours
Fan Favorite: No serious audiophile is going to be able to make peace with any Bluetooth speaker, since the technology doesn’t yet allow for true high-definition, but the Kilburn is as close as you’re going to come. The boxy look conjures up classic speaker boxes the likes of which roadies have been lugging since the invention of electric guitars. This old-school style is to help bring the look and the sound of those speakers to anyone’s home. The Kilburn strives for 10’s across the board, and it pushes close, even when playing songs that are riddled with nuance. Clean separation between vocals and background add to the experience, and the long-distance Bluetooth connectivity can go almost as far as the sound.
Flat Rate: B&O Play, a segment of Bang & Olufsen, has done something we never thought we would see from the high-end audio giant: Made a portable Bluetooth speaker. As always, Bang and the bunch have brought their incomparable quality control to bear and the Ais a screaming addition to any speaker library. Designed in answer to the Big Jambox from Jawbone, the Auses aptX, a new Bluetooth standard that offers CD-quality sound, which is more than the compressed Bluetooth signal has been able to handle previously. It does deliver amazingly clear sound that isn’t affected by lying flat or being propped up, but there’s no waterproofing or durability to be had; so portability is limited to climate-controlled atmospheres.
KEF X300A Wireless
We use the Focal XS Book Wireless with a computer setup located next to our little product photo studio at Head-Fi HQ. The computer rig feeds the XS Book Wireless via its analog input, and my iPhone will be paired to the XS Book Wireless via Bluetooth. So, sitting at that computer, the XS Book Wireless system serves as that computer system’s speakers. However, if I’m going to be taking photos or working in the general area (but not sitting down at the desk), I’ll be able to stream music to it from my iPhone, to listen to the XS Book Wireless’ reasonably room-filling sound from wherever I am in that area.
Though Focal is best known for its magnificent, ultra-expensive loudspeakers, the XS Book Wireless is another set of its excellent, reasonably-priced loudspeakers that allows you some of the Focal audio magic wherever you have a computer or mobile phone to stream music to it.
Bluetooth transmitters can help breathe life back into your “old school” electronics without the expense of purchasing a brand new tv or stereo set. Or you can use them to enhance your digital experience.
You might think it will involve various high-tech gadgets and a bunch of wiring and cords, but that’s the beauty of Bluetooth transmitters.
The aim is to connect/upgrade electronics to their former glory; without the messy tangle of cords and wires.
You’ll find that these handy devices can be used inside the home, your car or even a motorcycle. For this purpose, you’ll want to look for a small compact design. Fortunately, the majority of the transmitters reviewed here fit within these criteria.
Additionally, some are for solo use; meaning the transmitter won’t pair with more than one set of headphones.
If you’re the only user, this shouldn’t bother you. Yet, if you intend to watch movies or listen to music with someone other than yourself; consider transmitters that will pair up with an extra set of headphones.
You may notice that some transmitter/receiver in 1’s includes volume and media controls. These controls won’t function unless the particular unit is set to receiver mode.
Setup and pairing are simple.
It only took minutes and comparing to other customer’s reviews, this seems fairly typical.
Charging is a breeze since the included USB cable makes it possible to keep the unit plugged in while in use. This means you don’t have to put your favorite tv show on pause and wait hours for it to charge.
As far as we can tell, there seems to be no lag in music audio, but there is a slightly noticeable lag with video. It’s not too noticeable, but if you pay well enough attention, you’ll see it.
Perhaps our favorite feature of this particular transmitter is the ability to use with up to two devices at once.
That means you and another person can pair your headphones to the transmitter and watch the same movie. That’s a win-win right there.
Signal range is 3feet, and we were surprised to find that this particular device handles walls and other obstructions quite well.
There were only two things that annoyed us about this particular product; the annoying beeps, and the lack of volume adjustment.
The beeps are designed to alert you to the device turning off/on or when it’s time to plug it in (if you haven’t already). If you’re not prepared though, the horrible noise is enough to make you jump out of your skin.
As for volume adjustment, you’ll have to adjust it manually, as this product doesn’t feature a volume control. Not a big deal, but it is a useful feature.
TaoTronics Bluetooth 4.Transmitter 2-in-1
Another runner-up for the TaoTronics manufacturer, this device is also a transmitter/receiver duo. Right out of the box, the device was easy to setup and pair to our headphones.
At the most, it took minutes’ tops to have everything hooked up and running. One of the things we liked the most, was the ability for the transmitter to “remember” our phones or headphones.
It was pretty much set and forget from the first day it was setup.
Aside from the ease of setup, TaoTronics seems to favor the small portable build, and this thoughtful design carried over to this particular product.
Light and portable was name of the game, and that makes this particular in easy to transport to a family member’s house or to use with other electronics.
Unlike some other transmitters, there’s never any worry about the battery running low since TaoTronics will charge itself while plugged in and running.
It can all be done from the device itself.
Everything sounds great, and in truth it is- but there were a few minor annoyances we noticed.
The led flashing blue light on the device can be particularly bothersome if you’re trying to watch a movie. Some may not notice this or even care, but if you do, you can cover the light or put the device behind the tv.
Additionally, some devices have been known to stop working. If troubleshooting (located in the included manual) doesn’t work; the support staff is helpful. If worse comes to worse, you may be able to get a replacement for free. Fortunately for us and many others, we haven’t needed to do this, but it is something we thought you should be aware of.
Overall, this is our top pick for a low latency Bluetooth transmitter that offers incredible sound at an affordable price.
Now onto the good.
When you are sitting still, we noticed no sound degradation for either movie or music. There is a small lag with movies.
If you’re listening to music, this won’t bother you, but it’s not until you go to watch your favorite tv show that you notice the lip movements and audio are off a smidge bit.
Overall, it’s a good product for the price, but we are disappointed a slight bit.
Whereas the other two TaoTronics handled movement and some minor obstructions well, this one will not tolerate them at all.
Still, if you don’t mind sitting still for the entire duration of your movie, this won’t bother you one bit.
Miccus Home RTX Mini
Right off the bat, we noticed that this particular transmitter 2-wasn’t as easy to setup. The instructions that are included were incredibly vague.
Not a problem for us, since we’re accustomed to using these already, but it could prove challenging for people who have no idea what they’re doing.
Ourselves and other consumers report an average of seconds or less to setup, and we agree.
One thing that intrigued us was how intuitive the device was.
How we tested
We started with a listening session spanning two days, in which we gave new speakers a long listen, connecting them via Bluetooth through a Samsung Galaxy Sphone and playing the same four test tracks, and compared them with each other and our former picks. We first set the level loud enough to listen to but not so loud it would push the speakers into gross distortion. Then we cranked up the top performers to see how loud they could play, and how good they’d sound doing it.
This let us narrow the group down to the most competitive dozen models for blind testing sessions with our listening panel of four experts. In each session we used a custom-built 16-output switcher, in conjunction with an NTi Minilyzer and Mini SPL, so we could level-match and quickly switch between each speaker.
The UE Roll 2’s integral bungee cord makes it easy to hang the speaker from a shower faucet and lots of other places, too.
The original UE Roll was our unanimous pick for best portable speaker when we tested 30 new models last year, and we feel just as strongly about its replacement, the UE Roll Like the original, the UE Roll sounds full, with smooth reproduction of everything from bass notes to cymbals, and it plays loud enough to fill a hotel room or a beach blanket with sound. It’s so watertight it will survive being dunked one meter underwater for 30 minutes. Seven months of worldwide traveling with the original Roll have only confirmed our love of this design. The only real downside is that it lacks a speakerphone function.
Packaging & Accessories
Open it up and it’s all fairly simple. You get a single Bluetooth Minirig speaker (we chose black but the come in a range of colours)…… and a travel pouch. I still can’t work out why other companies producing high-end travel don’t include a case (*cough* Bang & Olufsen *cough*) but its inclusion here is a nice touch. The case fits the Minirigs snuggly, not adding much extra bulk and helps add that extra layer of protection on top of what is already an extremely robust speaker.
Detailed, Clear & Full Bodied – The best sounding portable wireless speaker we have heard.
The sound on a single Minirig speaker was matched only by the Beoplay Ain my side by side testing. It managed to get louder and maintain a high level of detail before any of my JBL, Gearor Taotronics units started to distort. Even when pushed way past the point of comfortable listening the sound doesn’t degrade as sharply as any of those units. The clarity and detail retrieved at normal levels is remarkable for something so small.
The combination of it being able to get so loud and the quantity of bass from such a small unit is what impressed me most. I thought some of the other speakers that I own from this price category are excellent and any issues they did have could be forgiven because of that eternal struggle of balancing sound, price and size. I didn’t expect it to be as markedly different from what I had heard before but it was. The Minirigs is not just a little better, it is a lot better.
As mentioned I usually just don’t bother with Bluetooth speaker reviews. Not unless I feel that I have found something special enough to share with our audience that is pretty obsessed with sound and very picky on performance. Thats possibly the biggest compliment I can make to the Minirig’s. That they sound so good, that they performed so well in the build and battery tests that they managed to earn their way onto our site. For some price will still be a little bit too steep but for me, this is the perfect balance of price, performance and all around quality you can get. With all that said couldn’t help but give the Minirig’s speakers our Audiophile On Gold Award.
Radios over £150 are top-of-the-range models with amazing state-of-the-art features. For this price you can expect WiFi connectivity, DAB+, crisp sound quality and quality engineering. You can also buy radios like the Pure Evoke C-Fand the Roberts Blutune100 (pictured below), that function as a DAB radio, wireless speakers, and CD player.
A little pricier than other options
If you’re looking to step it up a notch, the Cyber Acoustics 2.set is what you need.
You get two satellite (2’’) drivers in a set of desktop speakers along with a 5.25’’ subwoofer. If you’re the type that wants a full-on audio experience, this is for you. You can take your Chromebook out during the day, and come home to plug it in at night.
The setup obviously isn’t portable, so it’s for those who plan to leave their speakers at home.
The control pod.
This thing attaches to the subwoofer (well, everything does pretty much). You then place it wherever is convenient for you with easy access. You can do everything with it.
It has a volume control knob, audio jack, bass boost, on/off switch, auxiliary input jack, and a LED light to indicate power. This offers extreme convenience at the touch of your finger. You can instantly turn the bass boost up or down.
You can instantly adjust the total volume. You can plug in a pair of headphones and the sound will play through your headphones instead of the speakers. You can instantly turn the power on and off. You can plug in an aux cable from your phone, tablet, or gaming system (this setup can play sound from two devices at the same time).
The Cyber Acoustics 2.system makes a perfect speaker setup for your Chromebook. It’s affordable and has excellent sound output with lots of connectivity and a handy control pod.
As a performing musician you want a PA system that can deliver your sound with clarity and definition. But with so many different pieces of equipment designed for different live performance needs, it can be difficult to know just what it is you should be looking for.
Certainly, there are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a PA. For instance, you’ll need to think about the size of your audience, where your performances will be, how portable you need your system to be and how much money you can invest.
This guide will help walk you through these and other important considerations to help you find the gear that’s right for you, whether you’re buying your first PA system or looking to add equipment to your existing system.
PA Systems in a Nutshell
Different PA equipment will have different capabilities, features, and designs associated with each of these functions. Your specific needs will determine what you want out of each.
Prepackaged PA Systems
If you don’t want to get too deeply into the nuts and bolts of PA equipment, you might want to consider one of our complete, live sound PA system packages that include everything you need to get up and running. If you’re new to PA gear, these systems can help you avoid the problems that can arise from mismatched PA components. And by purchasing bundled gear, you can save a lot of money.
Musician’s Friend carries prepackaged systems from great brands like Yamaha, Fender, Behringer, JBL, Peavey, Mackie, Kustom, and many more—all at the best prices you’ll find anywhere—guaranteed.
The Yamaha EMX5016CF / S115V PA Package with Monitors offers a complete live-sound performance solution with carefully matched components for plug ‘n’ play simplicity.
Musician’s Friend offers hundreds of live sound packages to match a wide range of performance needs and budgets.
All-in-one Modular PA Systems
For solo acts, duos and other smaller groups that play in venues lacking a built-in PA, a modular tower system can be a clean, simple way to get heard with a minimum of fuss. These systems typically house a speaker array, mixer and power amp in a single, column-like structure that breaks down for easy transport. Because the components have been optimized to work with each other and the speaker arrays are designed to generate high-quality, room-filling sound, these systems offer an affordable, portable option to standard PAs.
The JBL EON ONE Linear-Array PA System is an excellent example, delivering robust sound that’s highly intelligible. JBL engineers have created an array that serves up pro-quality sound to every corner of the room. A 10” bass-reflex subwoofer adds the kind of bottom end that can sometimes be a weak spot in similar systems. With its Bluetooth streaming capability, you have the option of going wireless—a great feature for active musicians, instructors, and other presenters who roam the stage or room. The 6-band mixer is simple to use and lets you easily connect all your gear. A parametric EQ section helps you dial in your sound with independent channel volume controls, a master volume and an onboard reverb.
The JBL EON ONE is so portable you can carry the entire PA with a single hand, then set it up in seconds.
With its great sound dispersion. the JBL EON ONE is at home in all kinds of settings.
Other modular PAs to consider include the Bose LCompact System with its two inputs, it’s a solid choice for singer-songwriters. The 800-watt Harbinger MuV MLS800 Line Array PA System houses a 3-channel mixer plus HF drivers and an 8” LF driver for convincing sound in smaller venues. For bigger gigs, multiple units can be daisy-chained.
PA Power Amplifiers
One of the most important questions when it comes to PA systems is “How much power do I need?” This is a consideration when purchasing a power amp for the system.The power amp’s job is to boost the low-level signals coming from the mixer and broadcast them through the speakers. How much power it produces is measured in watts. And you want to make sure you’ve got enough wattage to fill the venue without compromising the sound quality.
Exactly how many watts you need hinges on a number of variables. The most obvious of these is the performance location (room size, indoor/outdoor, acoustics). However, there are additional factors that complicate the issue. For instance, there is the efficiency of the speakers (i.e., how much sound the speakers produce per watt of power). There also is the concept of headroom (how much power it takes to handle peaks without distorting) and the desired volume level of the music.
Using speakers with average sensitivity, a rock band playing in a medium-sized club will need around 1,500 watts total power at a minimum, whereas a pop or jazz group might need between 250-750 watts. For simple folk music in the same venue, that requirement can come down to as little as 60 watts. Keep in mind though that these power estimates are generalizations; difficult performance spaces and music with a lot of dynamics can require considerably more power. As we note below, factoring in plenty of headroom will help ensure great sound when you’re performing in a challenging environment.
The very portable Crown XLS100Power Amplifier delivers 350 watts of clean power at ohms and offers extensive user controls including onboard DSP.
It’s important to buy an amp with plenty of power to drive your speakers plus enough headroom to prevent distortion. When shopping for speakers, you’ll see that they have a power rating, measured in watts. As a general rule, you will probably want an amp with twice the wattage of your speaker’s rated power handling to ensure a clean, undistorted signal gets to them. We will discuss this further when we cover PA speakers and their power requirements.
Keep in mind that a stereo power amp provides two channels, each able to drive its own speaker load. So if your amp provides 500 watts per channel, a pair of speakers rated for 250 watts would be a good fit. Note that the rated output for stereo power amps is usually given on a per-channel basis. A rating of “2x450W” indicates that the amp generates up to 450 watts into each of its stereo channels.
Getting to know the mixer
Learning to use a mixer might initially look like a daunting task, with all the buttons, knobs, and faders. But keep in mind that every channel has the same controls. Once you learn how to control one channel, you’ll know how to control every channel.
Compression and limiting
A compressor as the name suggests compresses the overall dynamics of the audio signal limiting the amount of variation between the loudest and softest sounds.It smooths your sound and protects gear by helping to avoid damage caused by clipping—a speaker-destroying phenomenon resulting from overdriving the amplifier into distortion. Well designed compressors not only prevent signal distortion, but add pleasing sustain to your sound.
The dbx 166xs has both compressor and limiter functions to smooth out live sound by producing tighter mixes and fattening up drum sounds.
A similar tool, the limiter keeps your speakers and ears from getting blown out by limiting the peaks in the music. A limiter allows compression to occur only above a set threshold, and the compression ratio can be very high. This prevents clipping, distortion, and other related problems.
Other common processors
Sonic enhancers such as the BBE Sonic Maximizer give your sound more presence by delaying the low frequencies relative to the higher ones, removing subtle inaccuracies in timing to preserve the sonic characteristics of live instruments.
The BBE 382i Stereo Sonic Maximizer enhances high- and low-frequency to help clarify and add punch to your sound.
There are many other processors that offer a huge selection of sound-shaping options to meet all your effects needs. Browse the huge selection of signal processors at Musician’s Friend.
Once your mixer, signal processing gear, and power amp have shaped your audio signals, it’s your speakers’ job to turn those signals back into physical sound waves. Speakers reinterpret the signal by using the voltage from the amplifier to move their cones back and forth, producing the sound waves that reach the audience’s ears.
Maybe it goes without saying, but speakers play a critical role in delivering quality sound to an audience, and it’s an area where quality gear can make a real difference.
As is true for the power amp, the size of the venue you play will help you decide on the power handling (wattage) and size of the speakers needed. For example, smaller gigs, conferences, and lectures may require about 350-500 watts, while club bands, garage bands, and mobile DJs may need 500-1,000 watts, or even more, depending on the venues they perform in.
Weighing in at a hefty 10lb. each, this pair of Yamaha C215V speaker cabinets have dual 15” woofers and compression drivers mounted on horns to handle high frequencies. Best used in permanent installations, they handle up to 1,000 watts of continuous power.
PA Monitor Speakers
Musicians need to be able to hear themselves and other performers clearly to sound their best, which is why stage monitors are essential. While floor monitors can cause feedback and increase the risk of hearing damage, they are preferred over in-ear monitors by many performers because they are easier to use. These usually wedge-shaped speakers allow performers to hear themselves and play better because of it.
The popular Yamaha A12M Floor Monitor has a a 12” woofer, 1” high-frequency horn, and handles 300 watts of continuous power.
Almost every PA system will need mics. With so many types to choose from, you may want to consult the Musician’s Friend Microphone Buying Guide to get familiar with the basics.
There are two major microphone types: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic mics are durable, reliable, and made for onstage use. For vocals you will likely want one similar to the legendary Shure SM58.
The Shure SM5is among the most popular onstage dynamic mics thanks to its bulletproof construction, excellent audio performance, and its versatility in capturing everything from vocals to guitar cabinets.
Condenser mics are made to capture more subtleties, handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs) and capture fast transients. They are usually used for recording, but can also be perfect for live sound. They’re often positioned above drum kits to capture the sound of cymbals. Condenser mics require phantom power, so you will need to ensure that your mixer includes sufficient phantom-powered inputs.
The Blue enCORE 300 Condenser Vocal Mic is designed for highly detailed reproduction of the voice and is built to withstand hand-held use onstage.
To minimize feedback, you also will want a mic that is unidirectional (as opposed to omnidirectional) for vocals and instruments. Unidirectional mics are available with cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid pickup patterns. Cardioid mics are ideal for live sound situations because of their wide, forgiving pattern.
If you decide to use condenser mics in your system, they usually require phantom power, which means the power needed to run the mic must be delivered from another source, usually the mixer or a mic preamp, through the mic cable, or from a separate standalone phantom power device. If you buy a phantom-powered mic, make sure you have a power source available.
Other PA essentials
We highly recommend getting a cable tester. If your system isn’t working correctly, a cable tester can save you hours of troubleshooting. We also recommend that once you find the defective cable, you immediately throw it away rather than putting it in a box to be accidentally used again someday, only to find that it (still) doesn’t work.
You may also want a dB meter; many venues require that you don’t exceed a certain volume level, and a dB meter will let you accurately monitor your volume.
Browse the complete selection of cable testers and dB meters at Musician’s Friend.
If your PA system is not being installed, you’ll need some heavy-duty cases or bags to transport your gear. Well built, durable cases are essential to protect your valuable equipment.
Speaker stands and brackets are another must-have accessory. Make sure to get sturdy, reliable nonskid stands that are strong enough to hold your gear securely. Check out the individual adjustability of each stand and make sure it will get your gear into an optimal position. Read specs to ensure the stands are rated to handle the weight of your speaker cabinets.
Microphone stands are also an essential accessory for most PA rigs. You’ll find a broad range of mic stands designed to position mics for vocalists, instruments, and speaker cabinets. Choose designs with stable bases/tripods that will resist being easily knocked over during performance. Mic stands with adjustable booms allow more flexible placement.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your portable stereo wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of portable stereo
- №1 — For ZOEE S1 Outdoor Portable Stereo Speaker Portable Case by Khanka
- №2 — Bluetooth Headphones Neckband Xtonek Wireless Headset
- №3 — Jensen CD-490 Sport Stereo CD Player with AM/FM Radio and Aux Line-In