The convenience of Bluetooth speakers is undeniable. You can take them anywhere and amplify your favourite music. At the very least, they are a major upgrade from your phone or tablet “speakers,” which are usually only marginally effective at amplifying a call using the speakerphone. The dynamic range present in our music requires much more, and wireless speaker technology is rapidly advancing to provide numerous options to consumers looking for the satisfaction and convenience of Bluetooth speakers.
These have lithium ion batteries!
Jam Audio has continued to diversify their wireless speaker offering by incorporating lithium ion batteries into their latest Bluetooth speakers. This is cool because lithium ion is a beast amongst its rechargeable battery peers. It is lighter than previous incarnations, stores more energy resulting in more time between charges, and can hold its charge for months when it’s not in use. While these are all fantastic features, my favourite thing about lithium ion is there is no “muscle memory,” or need to drain the battery completely before recharging it to prevent unintentionally reducing battery capacity. The result is a line of slick and practical wireless speakers that are designed to impress.
How long does the battery last?
The Alloy provides 5 hours of music, the Heavy Metal, 8, and the Trance Plus will provide upwards of 10 hours of music on a single charge!
Heavy Metal and Alloy
The Heavy Metal speaker is the largest and the flagship of this new line. I really like the retro look of this speaker. With the combination of pewter aluminum and 60s lines, the Heavy Metal is a cool looking speaker. While Alloy departs from the retro feel and is more traditional than its sibling, there are some unique design elements such as the speaker grill wrapping around three sides of the speaker that add appeal. Both would be a welcome addition to pretty much any room.
As a fan of using wireless speakers to provide background music to my world throughout my home, I always appreciate a discrete speaker and Jam delivers. The Heavy Metal is not much larger than a sleeve of golf balls, and the Alloy, at about half the size, easily fits in the palm of my hand.
I know size matters, but weight too?
A universal indicator of speaker build quality is its weight. If I pick up a speaker and it feels feather lite, chances are the performance is going to be underwhelming. A heavy speaker doesn’t necessarily guarantee brilliant performance, but it suggests that the manufacturer has not cut corners and is putting its best foot forward. The Heavy Metal has a really nice weight to it, and the Alloy is no slouch, which immediately piques my interest. It’s time to connect these and see if their performance can live up to the design.
Voice prompts help you connect the speaker
An interesting feature of these speakers is the voice prompts. There is pleasant female voice that announces you have powered it up, tells you that it is ready to pair, and will also advise you when the speaker is paired. The only issue I have with this Siri-like attempt is that there is no way that I found to control how loud my new friend is with the Heavy Metal, and she only speaks to me at full volume. In most circumstances, this would not be a deal-breaker, however if one were attempting to be discrete, outdoors late at night for example, this could be an issue.
This was an issue that you can see and hear in the video when I turn it on. Compare it to the Trance Plus.
How do they sound?
It should be said that all smaller speakers are capable of making noise and playing our tunes, but they are not designed for large spaces. They will always sound a little thin and lack bass response because the space they are being asked to fill is too large. Take that same speaker into a smaller room such as an office, bedroom or bathroom and a phenomenon called room gain allows the walls to act as amplifiers, drawing out a fuller range of sound that same speaker simply couldn’t achieve in a large space.
It is in these smaller spaces that I test speakers such as this line by Jam Audio, because that is where they are designed to perform their best. If you want quality audio in a large, open space, you are going to need to invest in products designed for that.
The Heavy Metal was a very nice speaker for the smaller rooms in my home. It presented a clean treble and smooth bass, and by using it in smaller rooms, didn’t require the volume to be maxed in order to fill the room with sound. I found the Alloy to be the nice option for our bathrooms, however it was a little muddy at volume and not as clear as the Heavy Metal.
Controls on the speakers
You can easily advance tracks from your device or use the controls on the speaker, which also include play/pause, and volume control. The total package of a clean look, decent sound, and long battery life all in a small package with no obtrusive cables makes these little speakers rather desirable.
Trance Plus has lights!
The Trance Plus is a departure from the pewter aluminum incorporated in the other speakers and incorporates LED lighting behind the speaker grill to add a little flair. I have always been drawn to the visual aspect of audio, as represented in various formats of a spectrum analyzer. There is just something cool about seeing images react to music. The Trance Plus doesn’t actually sync its lights to the audio, which is where my interest in the feature ends, but it achieves its goal of differentiation none-the-less. It’s a fun feature that some will hate and some will love, and if my six-year old and his friends are any indication, this is the single greatest speaker ever created.
The Trance Plus doesn’t pass the weight test in the same way the other two did. I assume this is because the other two speakers are targeting a very different demographic and one is going to care about sound quality and the other probably cares more about who Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber are dating. There is certainly an element of fun that Jam built into this speaker and I give them credit for creating a speaker that will jump to the top of the list of a number of consumers, even if they aren’t yet able to vote.
With the Heavy Metal, Alloy, and Trance Plus, injecting lithium ion batteries and Bluetooth technology makes these speakers by Jam Audio nice option in the ever-evolving wireless speaker market. Like their Wi-Fi speakers I reviewed here, Jam is working hard to put their stamp on this market and I hope they continue to innovate and push the envelope.