Beautiful sound requires no wires

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Aug 15 2013, 07:35am hrs
It is amazing to see how many different brands and models of Apple iPhone and iPod speaker docks have emerged in the last couple of years. The numbers are staggering. Altec Lansing, Samsung, Pioneer, Behringer are among the widely popular competing brands vying for consumer attention. The JBL name is among the most revered in the audio marketplace. Its Rumble is the latest to join the embrace Apple crowd, offering a great combination of features, sound quality and ease of use. If you are looking for a blast of sound that will easily fill a room on a budget, the Rumble is definitely worth a consideration. That is because it gives your Apple iPhone 5 or iPad mini the power to play it loud.

Basically, the Rumble is a wireless speaker dock featuring a built-in 4-1/2-inches (114 mm) sub-woofer and Lightning connector dock for iPhone 5 and iPad mini. It has a price tag of R19,990. New to the Apple Lightning connector, let me explain a bit here. With the introduction of the iPhone 5, Apple has left its proprietary 30-pin connector behind and introduced a new 8-pin, dynamic connector, code-named Lightning. Like the 30-pin connector, the Lightning connector is used for charging the device as well as syncing content and data and audio and video output. The new devices come with a USB 2.0-to-Lightning cable. Its 80% smaller yet sturdier, and its reversible, so you dont have to worry about which side is the top or bottom when you connect. More on it later.

Back to the Rumble. This JBL innovation does look to be a pretty great speaker, packing 50 watts of power and an oversized, down-firing sub-woofer. Like all good modern docks, the Rumble connects via wireless to your mobile phone or tablet for Bluetooth streaming. However, what sets the Rumble apart is Harmans TrueStream technology to guarantee high quality sound.

Lets face it, most of our audio devices are Bluetooth-capable. And we are not using them just for music; we are watching movies, playing games and accessing social content. Using advanced Harman TrueStream wireless technology, you can connect your Bluetooth-enabled devices such as your tablet, phone, MP3 player and laptop to get the best possible wireless sound quality from all of your audio, not just your music. And it automatically switches to the Bluetooth system when your audio device is connected and playing.

Out of the box, the entire package comprised of one loudspeaker dock, one in-line power supply, one AC cord (region-specific), one remote control and a quick-start guide. Set up was a simple affair and Bluetooth pairing was easy. The Rumble is a relatively heavy device and first impressions showed some promising design features, like dual sound ports at the rear, and a rubberised bottom to help minimise unwanted resonance.

Under the hood, the device is Bluetooth-enabled and its built-in subwoofer delivers pretty amazing sound with roaring bass from your portable players. Whether your device is docked on its Lightning connector or streaming wirelessly, youll get loud and crystal clear sound when listening to music, watching videos or playing games.

The speaker dock features a 4-1/2-inch (114-millimeter), down-firing sub-woofer that delivers big, low-distortion bass to keep everyone dancing all night long. I found out early in the evaluation that the device provides a clean and consistent Bluetooth connection. Also, it delivers sound so big, everyone will know right away that you are rocking JBL speakers. The versatile dock offers 50 watts of amplificationmore than enough to make your party bounce. Its new Lightning connector docks the iPad mini, iPad (4th generation), iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation) and iPod nano (7th generation).

Most of the features of the Rumble are easily (and only) accessible by the remote, including category scrolling, pause/play, skip, treble, bass, and volume control. Whether your source device is Bluetooth-enabled or not, the Rumble allows you to take full advantage of incredible JBL sound, thanks to the docks auxiliary-input (aux-in) connector. You can plug in practically any audio device, including a smartphone, tablet, laptop computer or an MP3 player. Also, no matter where you place the Rumble in your room, it delivers a full-range frequency response of 50Hz - 18kHz. Youll hear every subtle nuance from all your audio.

When you get a JBL product, you know that the sound is crisp and clear. The Rumble might be expensive, but youll be hard pressed to find an iPhone speaker better than this one on the market. The sound is top quality and its well worth your money. Put simply, it is definitely worth a listen.