Sony SRS-XB3 review: It’s all about the bass …

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”.

srsxb3rThe 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.