It’s all about the bass with Sony’s SRS-XB3 ($299), a portable speaker that really packs a punch when it comes pushing out the “doof, doof, doofs”.
The SRS-XB3 – I’m putting two and two together here and assuming the XB stands for Xtra Bass – comes in numerous colours. The one I got was red. It was a little garish for my liking but looked nice enough sitting on the black granite bench top in my kitchen.
It’s a heavy speaker, which is a good thing. The weight comes from the bass speaker in the back of the unit and that weight is important: It helps move air to create that deep, low bass that a good portable speaker needs The weight also means the unit won’t bounce around if you turn things up too loud.
The XB3 is paired via bluetooth (and can also be used as a speaker phone) and there’s a button on the top labelled “Extra bass”. Press this and, well, it does what it says on the tin: Provides music with extra bass. It works, too, and sound is noticeably more bassy when the button is turned on. I played music then pressed the button on and then off. On and then off. On and then off. There’s a noticeable difference in bass heavy music when it’s active.
The XB3 is being touted as a speaker for electronic house music, which isn’t really my cup of tea so I had it playing what I like through it: A bit of The Foo Fighters, some Jeff Buckley, a touch of Muse and, just because I wanted to hear it loud, Jump by Van Halen. The XB3 handled them all admirably, providing good bass, although I thought that at high volumes high end notes were a overpowered by the thumping bass. Van Halen sounded better than Jeff Buckley on the XB3, which didn’t come as a surprise.
My usual bluetooth speaker is a Logitech UE Boom and it’s a cracker of a portable speaker, if a little light on the bass. As I said earlier, I don’t like electronic house/dance music so I wouldn’t be playing the sort of music that the SRS-XB3 is aimed at but I’d be more than happy having one sitting in the backyard pumping out the tunes as I did the gardening or providing the background music while I burned the sausages on the BBQ.