Quality Sound on the Go! The JBL Voyager Bluetooth Speaker
JBL is recognized as a leader in the electronics and home audio market. They offer a wide range of products that improve and deliver a high-quality audio experience for a wide range of applications and environments. Their product lines include computer speakers, speaker for home audio systems, sound bars and even portable wireless speakers. Their recent models of portable wireless speakers have created quite a buzz among music enthusiasts and those who enjoy a rich home audio system experience. In particular, the JBL Voyager has captured quite a bit of attention and we thought we should have a look to see what this wireless portable speaker actually brings to the table.
The JBL Voyager Bluetooth Speaker
The JBL Voyager is somewhat unique offering functionality and value that you won’t find with just any portable speaker, in fact, maybe no other portable speaker. The speaker actually comes with two separate speakers in one. It has a small portable Bluetooth speaker that detaches from the main unit and then a much bigger dock speaker. It’s almost like getting two different products in one, and we say almost because the larger dock speaker is actually only functional if the portable unit is attached to it.
The overall design is modern, clean and sleek. The dock speaker is eight inches in diameter and a little over four inches deep and the portable unit makes up the center portion of the oval speaker. By pressing on the center portion of the unit you can easily release the portable speaker from the main unit. The portable speaker is approximately five inches in diameter and only a little over one-inch thick offering a small and conveniently sized wireless unit. The portable speaker weighs slightly less than one pound and the total speaker unit, with the portable portion attached, weighs approximately two and a half pounds. The portable speaker is without question easy to move or carry but at only a little over two pounds, the dock unit is as well.
The unit has a somewhat unique and upscale look that will blend well with most any style or room décor that you may have. The controls for the speaker are relatively straightforward and are located directly on the front of the unit. The power button, volume button, Bluetooth and phone button are prominently displayed and large enough so that they are easy to use. The micro-USB connection slot is located on the side of the unit and the back portion of the speaker contains all of the other various connection ports and the charger connection.
The setup process is relatively easy and simple with the Voyager. You simply pair your phone or chosen device with the speaker and then you are pretty much ready to go. From then on, you simply use the controls located on the front of the unit or use the available connections at the rear of the unit to connect additional devices as needed.
Features and Performance
The dock speaker needs to be connected to a power outlet at all times in order to function. However, the portable Bluetooth speaker is capable of operating for up to five full hours if it is fully charged. The unit weighs approximately two and a half pounds total. So while it is most common for the dock unit to remain in one place and the smaller speaker to be used as a portable unit, the light weight of the total unit makes it easy to move to different locations as needed.
The unit contains two 45mm drivers, a subwoofer that is 77mm and has a frequency response range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. It comes with a 3.5mm jack that can be useful for a wide range of wired connections and it has proprietary software that manages noise cancellation and audio quality for phone calls. The software is called SoundClear and its main purpose is noise cancellation but it also provides some audio balancing capabilities as well, such as removing annoying echoes. The built-in microphone is also a nice touch and we found it transmits surprisingly good audio, as some mics on similar units can be very poor quality.
The sound quality of the portable speaker is probably best categorized as average. In order to be fair, it is always best to limit your expectations when it comes to audio quality and speakers that are classified as portable. There is only so much that is possible from this category of speakers because their size presents a whole range of design limitations. However, the portable speaker for the JBL Voyager is certainly just as good as many of the other options available on the market but it probably is not going to win any awards or be accused of breaking new ground in the portable speaker sound quality category.
However, once the portable unit is plugged back into the main dock unit, the sound quality is a totally different story. The Voyager provides thumping bass, piercing vocals and the mid ranges are incredible. At high volume, you can run into a bit of trouble with the lows overpowering the mids but it really depends on what type of music you are listening to. The treble is consistent and presented with nice definition with almost any type of music you are playing.
The unit is probably best used in rooms that are around four hundred square feet or maybe even a little less. The Voyager tends to be very unidirectional which means it will clearly direct audio in whatever direction the speaker is facing. It is capable of above average volume and can fill a small room efficiently but it certainly is not among the loudest of units that we have tested.
Some portable speakers are better than others when it comes to connectivity. There is nothing more annoying than constantly losing your connection or constant skipping of your music when trying to listen to music with a speaker that is supposed to be high-quality and Bluetooth capable. However, the Voyager doesn’t present any of the inconsistencies or connectivity problems that you might have with lower end speakers. Once your device is paired with the unit, it allows for seamless audio without any annoying connection drops.
There are many things to like about the JBL Voyager. The functionality as a unit that facilitates convenient voice communication is probably not highlighted enough. The SoundClear software that handles noise cancellation and controls echoes does a nice job at ensuring you get high-quality audio when using the speakerphone feature. Some may be a little disappointed with the performance of the portable speaker as it lacks the capability to deliver pounding bass and to provide premium clarity with other tones. However, as we mentioned above, this is not uncommon when it comes to portable speakers and those who have a bit of experience with portable units should be well aware of this fact.
If you are looking for a speaker that is capable of delivering acceptable audio quality as a portable unit and delivering above average functionality with good audio quality as a dock unit, then the Voyager is well worth a look. It provides a high level of functionality, audio quality, and convenience that can be applied to the many different applications that we use with our phones or favorite tech devices.