- Subwoofer is as boomy as intended
- Split speaker mode works up to a 6-feet distance
- A ton of connectivity options, including Bluetooth
- Remote included
- Slightly high price for a non-smart speaker
- Very short power cable
With the digital world that we live in, a way to output sound has become important. It’s made earbuds, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and soundbars big business. The GOKUID Storm Soundbar does double duty, as it could also be considered a Bluetooth speaker. I take a look at it in this review to see if it checks the boxes.
The GOKUID Storm Soundbar has an included subwoofer and connects through Bluetooth. It can also accept a wide variety of wired inputs. Cables are included for each of these inputs in the box, making it easy to connect the speaker to most setups right away. This is where it can fit into the Bluetooth speaker category as well, as it can be split into two separate speakers with included stands.
Since the setup is as a subwoofer with two speakers, the Storm accepts and outputs 2.1 Channels of Stereo Audio. 5.1 Surround Sound and 7.1 Surround Sound are not supported.
You’ll also find your typical instruction manuals and packing materials as well as an assortment of audio and power cables. There’s even a remote control, though it’ll require a few AAA batteries. The full list of supported inputs are:
- Bluetooth 5.0, up to 10 meters
- Aux input
- Optical input through PCM
- Coaxial input
- HDMI ARC Input
- USB 2.0/3.0 support for MP3 playback, limited to 128 GB drives with exFAT or FAT32 partitions
While the Soundbar can be split, it still needs to be connected by an audio line cable and mounted on stands. The cable must be connecting the two speakers when splitting them and making adjustments. According to GOKUID, this split-speaker design is meant to encourage adjustments when the speaker is mounted in larger-than-normal entertainment centers and TVs.
In the picture above, I’ve included a shot of the short line cable intended for use with the speakers when they’re combined. You can split and stand the speakers about six feet from each other with the long line cable and dual stands included in the box. You’ll need to bring your own line cable for longer distances, but that should be enough for even the biggest TV in your entertainment center.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the power cable. For the speakers to be powered properly, the right speaker must always be connected to power, and the power cable is only about six feet long. If your power outlet is on the left of your setup, it can be very problematic to get the speakers running. It’s simply odd to have such an important cable be so short.
For speakers that seem to be so well-built otherwise, having such a short power cable on any kind of home entertainment setup is a fairly confusing decision, especially if these speakers are expected to be paired with larger TVs and entertainment centers.
The Listening Experience
When listening to the GOKUID Storm Speakers in either the soundbar or split configurations, I found them to be loud and clear, backed by a decently powerful subwoofer. Even when I eventually decided to mount the subwoofer and speakers under my bed, I could still hear the sound surprisingly clearly. it was an experience akin to wearing headphones in bed without actually wearing them, which was nice. The subwoofer, even muffled by the mattress, could still be felt and heard, too.
I tested a wide variety of music genres and ranges, from hip-hop to metal to electronic and beyond. Whatever I listened to, the GOKUID Storm Speakers played it back fairly faithfully with a nice amount of bass kick added in. Sound effects when watching movies or playing games were also represented well, especially when the speakers were in a split standing configuration.
Later, I decided to install the speakers in a split standing configuration on my PC desk. This is where I first ran into the issue with the power cable length, since my Uninterruptible Power Supply and outlets are on the left side of my desk, past my PC. I also discovered that the included power cable doesn’t seem to have much that shields it from interference, requiring me to route it separately from the rest of the cabling in my desk setup.
The speakers sounded superb in their split configuration on my desk, with the subwoofer underneath providing powerful and clear bass. I was fairly pleased with the subwoofer in general and found that its effect was enhanced by the split speaker configuration providing a proper stereo audio experience.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned interference caused very loud static whenever it was triggered. If you aren’t sure you can route the included cables away from interference or supply your own shielded cables, you may not want to use these speakers in a desk setup with a lot of other wires. Higher-quality cabling could have improved the experience.
At the time of writing, the GoKUID Storm Soundbar is available for $99.99. This is fairly decent for a convertible soundbar or Bluetooth speaker with a subwoofer, but it’s not as competitive as it should be, considering smart speakers are available for a similar price.
Additionally, the short power cable and its lack of shielding from interference are considerable downsides. The included cables leave a lot to be desired, and I anticipate that many users may want to bring their own cables where possible. Considering how good these speakers are otherwise, it’s a genuine shame to have these shortcomings.
I found that these speakers in either their soundbar or split standing configuration sounded great; the subwoofer had more than enough punch to satisfy me. If you want a flexible sound setup for your entertainment center, desk, or bedroom, then the GOKUID Storm Soundbar is definitely worth your consideration.
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