Monster has brought the boombox back from the dead! The new Monster Blaster is the boombox “reimagined”, and boy can it boom. The new speaker is wireless Bluetooth and can crank up to 12 hours of tunes, no “D” batteries required. It features a waterproof design, integrated handle, NFC pairing, USB device charging, a microphone input, and even a bi-directional driver design for 360 degree audio. As far as portable outdoor speakers go, this is a tough product to beat.
The Monster Blaster certainly emulates the likeness of the classic Boombox. The size, handle, and mesh speaker grill are an easy give-away. The most noticeable difference is that Blaster has a much cleaner aesthetic. The front and back is entirely speaker grill; there’s no controls, no tape deck, and no radio tuner there. Rather than a boxy shape, Monster Blaster’s front and back taper towards the top giving it a triangular shape. This is partially for design and partially for function. It can lay flat on the ground and blast tunes upward, and in all directions.
The speaker’s features are built into the triangular sides of the speaker. The controls are on one side and the ports are on the other. There’s only a few buttons. The most prominent is the on/off/pair button. Aside it are volume buttons and a mode button that switches between indoor and outdoor audio mode. There’s LED indicators for both volume and mode. On the other side there’s a battery indicator and a sealed rubber flap that reveals an auxiliary-in port, a microphone-in port, a full sized USB port, and a charging port.
Most speakers are not built half as tough as the Monster Blaster. It’s heavy, but also extremely durable. It weighs nearly 17 pounds; so the handle is not just for aesthetics. The outer mesh speaker grill casing is all metal. The design is said to not only be splashproof, but “waterproof” too. We wouldn’t bring this in the pool with us, but it should be able to jam out without problem in the thick of a rainstorm.
The full-sized USB port included can be used to charge most any Bluetooth device. You’re not only walking around with a Bluetooth speaker, you’ve got a “portable” USB charger as well! The battery is 5200mAh, which is multiple phone charges or up to 12 hours of audio playback. Higher volumes will use more battery. The most unfortunate feature of Monster Blaster is that it relies on a regular 18V wall charger and cannot charge via micro-USB or universal charger. This means you’ll always have to keep the charger it came with handy.
There’s built-in NFC for easy pairing between the speaker and your NFC-enabled phone. But if you’re sporting an iPhone, you’ll have to go through the typical pairing process. The Bluetooth range is pretty standard. If you’re in the same room without much obstruction between you and the speaker, you’ll have no problems at all. Once you get further than 30 feet or add some walls between you and the speaker then streaming reliability will vary.
Does the Monster Blaster sound as good as your old Boombox? Most definitely! And it can crank out even more bass. The Blaster is packing six speakers and a down-firing subwoofer. The speaker drivers are angled to play music from both sides and cover 360 degrees. The audio experience is very bassy, but not that it’s overwhelming. For the volumes this speaker can hit, it sounds extremely clear with little distortion at the highest volumes. It does, in fact, get very loud. This isn’t your run of the mill portable speaker. This is one of the few portable speakers that can actually power a large indoor or outdoor party. It sounds quite good inside too. Its overall a very balanced speaker with strong mids, clear highs, and heavy bass. The only gripe we have with indoor playback is that the volume could use more notches and granularity. Volume level 1 is still pretty loud and the difference between a 1 and 2 is a pretty big jump. Putting Monster Blaster into “Outdoor” mode adds a little more oomph, but we actually found that the mode comes down to personal preference and listening environment. Sometimes “Indoor” sounded better outside. Finding a sturdy flat surface for the Monster Blaster to sit on makes a big difference in audio quality. It produces bass you can really hear and feel.