Some Bluetooth speakers are meant to play really loud audio, some are designed to be extremely portable and others are made to be on the forefront of product design and technology. The $429 Monster Superstar RaveBox does a little bit of everything, offering loud, clear audio with a dome of flashing lights that makes the speaker a virtual party in a box — albeit a large and expensive one. However, the absence of essential buttons and a karaoke microphone is a puzzling choice that keeps the RaveBox from reaching its full potential.
The RaveBox, the second product in Monster''s boom-box series, takes its design cues from the Monster Blaster. Similarly styled with a rounded, triangular shape; a padded carrying handle; and aluminum grilles, the RaveBox is a modern take on the boom box that adds a few new features.
Ditching the boxy shape of old-school boom boxes, the RaveBox sports a triangular design with rounded edges. The most obvious difference between the RaveBox and the Blaster is the clear window on one end that contains multicolored LED lights. When turned on by a small button, these LEDs put on a light show of spinning colors and patterns, thanks to the rotating internal prismatic window.
On the opposite end, basic controls are contained in a rubberized circular panel surrounded by a bronze ring.
While the sides are nearly identical, there is a small rubber gasket covering the charging port, a 3.5mm auxiliary jack, microphone input and a USB port that's used to charge a smartphone. Four blue lights to indicate charge level can be seen through the cover. Monster claims that the RaveBox is waterproof and splash-proof, with an IPX5 rating. However, this is slightly exaggerated, as a product has to be rated at least IPX7 in order to be fully submerged without being damaged.
Unlike smaller Bluetooth speakers meant to be lightweight and portable, the 8 x 19.8 x 8.1-inch Monster RaveBox weighs a hefty 16.8 pounds.
Setup and Controls
Connecting my Android phone to the Superstar RaveBox over Bluetooth was a breeze using the built-in NFC. If you're an iOS user, you simply press and hold the power button to put the RaveBox into pairing mode and follow the voice prompts.
There aren't any fancy controls or button combinations for operating the RaveBox; rather, there's just a power button, volume rocker and mode button to control indoor-versus-outdoor acoustic tuning.
Unfortunately, there isn't a way to control audio with buttons for Play/Pause or Track Forward/Previous, which seems like a missed opportunity. And unfortunately, there is no built-in microphone, which would have let you answer a phone call hands-free at the pool or the beach..
One thing is for certain: The RaveBox can put out some monstrously loud sound. I wouldn't say it's as refined as the audio from similar devices, but it's designed for backyard barbecues or pool parties rather than everyday home use.
The Mode button on the side of the unit toggles the sound profile from indoor to outdoor.Indoor enhances the bass and offers a much bigger, fuller sound, while indoor highlights the treble. This distinction helps smaller sound waves travel farther when in wide-open spaces, like a backyard.
The RaveBox has a proprietary feature called V-Sound, which uses a tweeter and midrange drivers on both sides of the unit to help direct sound outward. The downward-facing subwoofer and bass radiator result in some serious low-end sound. When I listened to Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" on Inside mode, I heard deep, soothing bass; bright piano chords; and crisp percussion. I was pleasantly surprised that West's Auto-Tune-distorted vocals didn't overwhelm the track. The audio quality didn't change when I switched over to Outdoor mode. The soundstage got a bit roomier and the piano sounded more pronounced, but the overall track remained loud and clear.
When I switched over to The Chainsmokers "Don't Let Me Down," I was impressed by the details, such as the breathiness of the vocalists and the clean bongos in the background. The highs were clean and airy, filling my room with balanced audio. When I took the RaveBox to the roof and switched to Outdoor mode, I didn't lose any of the detail, particularly around the highs.
While using the RaveBox, I noticed that it does a good job of directing sound upward when placed on the floor. However, it also sounds good when stood up on the end so that the light show can shine upward onto the ceiling.
Although the RaveBox has shiny lights, booming bass and overall good sound, its omission of some features means it's more of a shindig than a full-blown party. For example, this boom box screams karaoke, yet Monster did not add a microphone.
Battery Life and Bluetooth
Monster claims that the RaveBox has a 12-hour battery life, even at higher volumes with the bass blasting. During a Memorial Day weekend party, we had the RaveBox cranked up to nearly max volume with the light show spinning constantly, and after 5 or 6 hours, the device still had two of four indicators of power left.
While streaming music to the boom box, you can charge your phone or tablet by plugging it into the RaveBox's rear panel.
Once paired with a device, the RaveBox reconnects quickly each time it's turned on. It has the typical 33-foot range you'd expect from a Bluetooth device. However, on multiple occasions, I experienced minor dropouts or interference if my phone was in my pocket or I walked into an adjoining room.
In the right setting, the Monster Superstar RaveBox can be a great addition to your party. The Bluetooth speaker pumps out some booming tunes that can be heard in a relatively large outdoor space, and it has a full sound profile. And with up to 12 hours of battery life, the ability to charge a smartphone and a cool LED light-show effect, it will certainly be a crowd-pleaser.
The biggest downside of this speaker is its price, especially because it lacks a PA/karaoke microphone, onboard track control and hands-free phone operation. At $429, the Monster Superstar RaveBox is more expensive than the $350 Braven XXL, our top recommendation for tailgating. But if you are looking to be the superstar of the party, the RaveBox is worth checking out.
Credit: Tom's Guide