Monster Blaster 3.0 review: A boombox that booms just right

What do you get when you fatten up a Bluetooth speaker? You get a boombox or at least a modern take on that sonic porting icon of yesteryear. For a long time, Monster has made a habit of going big in both design and sound, focusing on moving a crowd with a bang above all else.

That’s why Monster Blaster 3.0 seems so appropriate for the company. It’s a third-gen boombox with 120 watts of power for any party, but how valuable is it beyond just being able to listen to music outdoors?

Monster Blaster 3.0 review: A boombox that booms just right
Monster Blaster 3.0

Monster Blaster 3.0 review: A perfectly sounding boombox

MSRP $400.00

“A boombox like the Monster Blaster 3.0 is perfect when you have parties on your mind.”

advantages

  • Good build quality
  • It makes noise both indoors and outdoors.
  • Includes auxiliary input and microphone jacks
  • Easy pairing and setup
  • decent portability

Cons

  • Only IPX4 water resistance
  • Battery life should be better
  • Sometimes Bluetooth connections are tricky

What do you get when you fatten up a Bluetooth speaker? You get a boombox or at least a modern take on that sonic porting icon of yesteryear. For a long time, Monster has made a habit of going big in both design and sound, focusing on moving a crowd with a bang above all else.

That’s why Monster Blaster 3.0 seems so appropriate for the company. It’s a third-gen boombox with 120 watts of power for any party, but how valuable is it beyond just being able to listen to music outdoors?

What is in the box

Despite the size of the speaker and case, there’s not much to unearth from it. In addition to the speaker itself, you get a power adapter with a charging cable, along with the user manual. Monster doesn’t include any other cables in the box, not even a 3.5mm cable despite compatibility via the Aux-In port on the unit itself. If you have one lying around, it will work just fine with the Blaster 3.0.

Monster Blaster 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker.
Ted Kritsonis/Clear Tips

Design

The Blaster 3.0 comes in three colors: black, white, and red. My review unit was black, but I’d say the red draws a lot more attention. There are no functional differences between them aside from aesthetics, but if you wanted the sound to be even more visually noticeable, red would probably be the way to go.

Beneath the surface, Monster equips the Blaster 3.0 with dual 60-watt speakers, along with two passive radiators and a 60-watt woofer for bass. There’s no real “front” or “back” as the speakers face in both directions for wider output, especially when you start cranking up the volume. Monster doesn’t provide a way to articulate or consolidate the sound to push in any direction, so if you place it close to a wall you may lose some of the breadth that the sound can deliver.

You get a few ports to work with, like the Aux-In jack for 3.5mm cables, as well as a separate 3.5mm port for microphones.

Controls are pretty standard, with an on/off button, plus volume buttons. The mode button only really switches between indoor and outdoor modes, where Monster’s Ambient EQ feature kicks in to optimize audio for any setting. The Blaster 3.0 doesn’t come with any dedicated app support, giving you no flexibility to tailor the sound however you like.

You get a few ports to work with, like the Aux-In jack for 3.5mm cables, as well as a separate 3.5mm port for microphones. If you plan on doing some karaoke with this thing, it’s certainly possible with this setup. The microphone works on top of music playback, allowing anyone with a microphone plugged in to sing a tune or make an announcement if they’re playing the role of emcee. Technically, you can use the microphone jack without music in case you need to make a presentation of some sort. Without a built-in microphone, the Blaster 3.0 does not function as a speakerphone.

Best wireless speakers

The USB port treats the boombox like a power bank, allowing you to charge portable devices whenever you need to draw some power from its 5200mAh battery. The only other ports are the AC adapter port and a reset switch.

The rubber flap that covers and protects the ports is of limited value when it comes to durability. The Blaster 3.0 comes with an IPX4 rating, so while you can take it to the pool or the beach, you have to be careful. Getting the sand out of its many crevices won’t be easy, and the salt water will surely kill it.

The Blaster 3.0 weighs in at a moderate 13 pounds, though the very sturdy handle should keep it from slipping out of your hands. Rubber feet underneath keep it slightly elevated, and Monster says they dampen any vibrations that could lead to surface distortion.

Monster Blaster 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker.
Ted Kritsonis/Clear Tips

Installation and configuration

It was very easy to start. I could pair the old fashioned way using the Bluetooth settings on my phone or use NFC to quickly tap and pair from an Android phone. The boombox works the same way with iOS and Android, so regardless of the pairing process, everything else is the same.

Audible tones and riffs indicate things like power on and off, pairing status, and volume or mode settings. Monster visualizes the volume through eight LEDs on the control panel, giving you a clearer idea of ​​how loud or quiet the Blaster 3.0 really is. As mentioned above, the mode button only changes the indoor and outdoor settings.

In many ways, this is a plug-and-play type of speaker, at least in the wireless sense. With no app to manage anything, no set of built-in features and components, it’s really about connecting a playback device and playing audio from there.

Monster Blaster 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker.
Ted Kritsonis/Clear Tips

Sound quality

Once you get to that point, the Blaster 3.0 really earns its name. This boombox can be very loud with only five LEDs (out of eight) on the volume scale, even more in outdoor mode. The interesting thing is that the bass is not as strong as I expected. Well, ok, I’m talking more about how it plays indoors, as the woofer clearly works harder in outdoor mode, but the restraint shows in other ways.

Unsurprisingly, there is a tipping point for distortion at volume, as there is for bass response itself. What I mean by that is that the bass increases audibly when you turn the volume up past four LEDs, a slight distortion starts to appear at six and then is very apparent at full volume. Still, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and it may be a sign that Monster is learning less sometimes leads to more in the larger scheme when it comes to how thick the basses should be.

Music sounds good, no matter if it’s just you or a group of people.

The key here is that the Blaster 3.0 maintains a certain degree of clarity at all times so music sounds great, no matter if it’s just you or a group of people. It sacrifices depth in the mids to bring out the lows and highs, but that’s hardly a blow against a speaker that’s clearly not meant to impress audiophiles. The point here is to be loud and vibrant, and when I think about how bass-heavy genres sounded on this thing, it’s easy to remember who’s the target here.

The Blaster 3.0 is perfectly suited for barbecues, pool and beach parties, parks and picnics, and just about any gathering in between. You can certainly enjoy it in the private comfort of home, except there are plenty of speakers covering that. In true boombox style, this is an outdoor speaker. The inner part is just a bonus.

Despite its weight, it’s not difficult to take with you on a road trip or to an event. In open spaces, it also has a more stable Bluetooth connection. Indoors, it can sometimes stutter, and I wasn’t always clear on why. I could understand when the speakerphone was in a different room than the phone, but it also happened when it was only 10 feet away in the same room. I tried this with different devices to eliminate the possibility that the speaker wasn’t at fault, only to find that it happened regardless of what I paired with it.

Monster Blaster 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker.
Ted Kritsonis/Clear Tips

Battery duration

Monster rates battery life at up to 12 hours per charge, but that’s never going to happen the moment you start cranking the volume. Granted Monster has to apply a number to how long the Blaster 3.0 will last per charge, but it also markets the boombox for what it is: a speaker.

Whatever happens, you’re not getting as much battery life here as you probably should.

You can get an idea of ​​how much life you have left from the charge LED on the control panel. Once it turns red, find an outlet to plug it into. There’s no fast charging here, and it takes a good 3.5 hours to go from dead to full again. You can squeeze more life out of it if you connect a device via Aux-In, but no matter what, you’re not going to get as much battery life here as you probably should.

Monster Blaster 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker.
Ted Kritsonis/Clear Tips

our take

The Blaster 3.0 is $400, so you’d like to put it to good use and have it last a while. It’s not designed exclusively for outdoor use, but that has to be one of the main reasons you’d spend so much on a Bluetooth boombox. It won’t disappoint a booming tunes-seeking crowd while spending the day outdoors, though it works if you’re stuck indoors, too.

Is there a better alternative?

If you’re looking for something along the lines of what a DJ might wear, the JBL Party Box 110 could be a good option for the same money. It’s a lot less portable, mind you, but it comes with a fancy light show and pumps out 160W of power. If you prefer something more similar in appearance, JBL will release its Boombox 3 in the summer, and while it will cost an additional $500, the company claims a 24-hour battery life and gives it an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. dust. . Plus, it’ll be compatible with JBL’s PartyBoost feature so you can pair it with other JBL speakers for extended playback.

For a fancy option, the $400 Marshall Tufton It’s only 80 watts of power, but it’s got a 20-hour battery life, an aux line-in port, and that undeniably cool Marshall guitar amp look.

Not to be left behind, Sony has already launched its Boombox SRS-XG500 in the mix at $450 offering IP66 water and dust resistance, plus an app to adjust the audio profile should you want to change it. If money is an object, Trance Soundcore by Anker it’s a smaller, $150/80-watt party box with a handle that also offers a light show and an 18-hour battery life.

How long will it last?

That may very much depend on how you and your friends treat it. The modest durability means you have to be mindful of who or what comes into contact with it. Sand and salt are the biggest hazards, while the occasional splash of water should be fine. Monster offers a one-year warranty to cover breakdowns, but not water or sand damage.

Should you buy it?

Yes, but only if Blaster 3.0 checks the right boxes for you. It can be flexible in where you use it, though not so much in its feature set, and that’s important when you’re paying that much for a speaker. Your friends and family will have no problem hearing your booming sound. If that’s enough for you, then you’ll know what to do.

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