- Great sound, rich boomy bass response
- Plays directly from microSD card
- Bass boost is really good
- Takes ages to power down when not in use
- Rubber buttons take finger marks
- Can't edit EQ presets on the app
Bluetooth speakers are a must for the music fan. Headphones and earbuds are fine outside for the comfort and sanity of members of the public who don’t share your wicked taste in music. But when you’re alone as well as with friends, who may not share your so-called “taste” but do at least tolerate it, you need a speaker. Tronsmart has a reputation for making cost-effective, good-quality audio products. Having enjoyed their earbuds, I was curious how the Tronsmart Studio Bluetooth Speaker would measure up.
Inside the Box
The Tronsmart Studio Bluetooth Speaker is a 30W retro-styled Bluetooth speaker with aux input and a microSD card slot. It charges with a USB-C cable and has presumably spill-proof rubber-covered buttons on the top. These buttons control on/off, volume, and pause and play, and activate the two modes; SoundPulse and TuneConn advanced broadcast. The latter links multiple Tronsmart Studio speakers and syncs them into a network of speakers that will all play the same sound. You can also load custom EQ modes into the speaker from the Tronsmart app on your iOS or Android phone.
There are three drivers: a centre bass speaker and two smaller treble drivers on either side for stereo imaging. There are also four passive bass radiators that wobble magnetically to provide that authentic bass vibe. The dynamic range is from 60Hz up to 20KHz, which is of course subjective and dependent on your age and hearing profile.
The case is a hardened aluminum and very sturdy. The weight is under 1kg (2lbs.), although it feels substantial and sits on its wide rubber foot very firmly, meaning it never rattles or bounces around.
The case is certified as IP4, which means it has ingress protection against particles larger than 1mm but is not entirely sand and waterproof. Indoors and in the garden it’s fine, but take it to the beach, and you’re on your own.
It charges in about two to three hours and play reportedly runs for about 10 to 15 hours under ideal conditions of temperature and volume. I didn’t time it exactly but I was able to listen for six to eight hours. The speaker comes complete with an aux stereo audio lead and a USB-C charging cable.
I’m always politely astonished when Bluetooth speakers work well. My education in loudspeaker design was the bigger the better. Good sound production is all about moving air around and having enormous resonant wooden cases containing voids full of big pockets of air.
Of course, technology has moved on, and you can get good, full sound, even out of tiny speakers. The micro speakers in an iPhone or Android phone deliver remarkable sound for their size, for example. I tested the speaker with a loudspeaker test video from YouTube and detected 60Hz – 10KHz, but I’ve lost a little bit on the top end of my hearing, so you may hear more than I can. It seems to have a very good range and passed all the rattle tests easily.
SoundPulse is Tronsmart’s technology for sound boosting, which adds real oofing bass and clarity to the sound. While it’s great, it’s not for all situations. Sometimes it’s overkill, but it’s nice to have it when you need it.
The Tronsmart app adds remote control and EQ to the speaker via Bluetooth. With the app, you can remotely adjust the shape of the sound with a variety of presets. You can set the EQ, which works best in the room you happen to be in.
3D mode on the app seems to work best when the speakers are on a level with your ears. The effect is stunning, with certain sounds in the stereo spectrum seeming to come from a good one to two feet to the left or right of the speaker. This is some kind of weird audio magic, but it’s really effective and enjoyable and adds something, especially with spacious, airy music with a wide stereo image.
There are not many downsides to this speaker, just small irritations. The rubber buttons are a matte finish and durable but take finger marks really easily. I don’t know if my fingers are especially greasy, but on the speaker I tested, the centers of the buttons always look shiny, which is annoying but not fatal.
Also, I wish there were some way of editing the EQ presets to tailor them to the space you find yourself in. There are enough to find one that works, but I’m a tinkerer and like to adjust things manually where I can.
Another thing which was odd is that if you pause your music, the speaker doesn’t seem to power down for a long time. This means your battery drains if you don’t remember to turn it off. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I have other speakers which power down after a few minutes of non-use, and it is annoying that they do it so quickly. So the Studio Speaker’s long time of not powering down can be seen as an advantage or disadvantage.
Additionally, you can turn the speaker off through the app without getting out of your chair, so that’s a plus, but annoyingly, you can’t turn it on again from the app.
The Tronsmart Studio Bluetooth Speaker is is a very decent speaker for the price, with excellent features and very few downsides. It has great sound with a lot of poke, and it looks stylish, in a retro kind of way. You can get it now for just $69.99.
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