At first look, you could mistake it to be an attractively designed utensil or a flying saucer-shaped toy of a small boy, but make no mistake this is the JBL Voyager—a wireless home audio system that incorporates a detachable wireless speaker. Until now, we have seen wireless speakers in different shapes, sizes and wattage, but this innovation from Harmon
International is a class apart. It’s a stunner in terms of looks and it distinguishes itself in a crowded market with its powerful performance.
Before we delve into the tech intricacies of this new-age device, first a small brief on its creator. Harman International is an American audio and infotainment equipment company. It designs, manufactures and markets audio and infotainment products for the car, the home, theatres and venues, as well as electronics for audio professionals. Harman International’s consumer group makes loudspeakers, CD and DVD players, CD recorders, and amplifiers under several brand names such as Harman Kardon, JBL, and Infinity.
Back to the Voyager and its relevance in present-day times. If you haven’t noticed, portable speakers are becoming a must-have accessory for music fans these days. In recent months, I have reviewed two great products from Bose—Soundlink
Mini Bluetooth Speaker and Soundlink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II—and I was left with a everlasting impression of what sound quality is really all about.
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But buying a standalone system for the home and a portable speaker for work can be expensive…which is why JBL is combining them into one product. Basically, the Voyager is a portable Bluetooth speaker with an integrated sub-woofer and a central speaker you can detach and take with you. It combines a portable speaker with a sub-woofer system. To put it in simple terms, you’ll get both power and portability with this Rs 19,990-a-piece audio system.
In terms of body dynamics, the Voyager measures 210 x 127 mm in diameter and height and has a Lithium polymer (7.4V 1000mAh) battery with a lifetime of five hours. At 1.14 kg, they don’t feel heavy and inconvenient when you pick these up for the first time. They feel quite solid in terms of build quality as well. In
audio specifications, the Voyager has amplifier power of 2 x 7.5 watts (portable unit) plus 1 x 15 watts (sub-woofer), frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz and signal-to-noise ratio of 80 dB. Input connections are Bluetooth and a jack, Bluetooth frequency range of 2.402 GHz-2.480 GHz and Bluetooth transmitter power of 0~4dBm.
Okay, enough of the tech talk. Let us talk about the product’s real-life performance. Set up won’t take long and it is fairly straight forward. Firstly, the speakers emit no noise if you set the volume to the lowest setting. You can establish connectivity with your tablet, mobile phone or a laptop which support wireless connectivity. When pairing over Bluetooth, the speakers will emit an audible signal letting you know if and when you are connected to your audio source. At my end, I connected the Voyager with a BlackBerry phone and a Dell laptop.
For starters, the dual drivers and sub-woofer bring you all the sonic muscle-power of a full-range JBL home audio system, complete with aux-in and USB ports for charging your smartphones and tablets. But that’s just half the fun: you can easily undock the portable Bluetooth speaker out of the main system and roam throughout your home or office, taking it anywhere you like.
At my end, I detached the speaker from the main system and placed it in a separate room, almost 18 feet away and yet there was not disruption in connectivity. The speakers worked good and sounded better than many conventional home audio systems. The sound that comes out of both of systems (coupled or decoupled) is astoundingly loud. But what’s the single most impressive thing about the sound output with these is that we could literally crank up the volume to the maximum, which can easily fill a large living room if you have got a small get together, and without a hint of crackling or distorting audio.
Balancing style, price, and sound quality can be tough when choosing speakers. But all things considered, if you are looking for a portable speaker, JBL is always worth considering. The Voyager is a great device that gives you a lot more for your money than you might first expect.
* Type: Wireless home audio system with portable Bluetooth speaker
* Dimensions: 210 x 127 mm
* Transducers: 2.1 system with dual driver 45 mm and woofer 77 mm
* Amplifier power: 2 x 7.5W (portable unit) + 1 x 15W (Subwoofer)
* Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
* Signal-to-noise ration: 80 dB
* Weight: 1.14 kg
Estimated street price: Rs 19,990