I’ve lost count of how many bluetooth speakers didn’t make the cut for a final review here at BestStuff. After hearing about how impressed our international friends were with this little beast I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. True to it’s name, Creative’s Sound Blaster Roar exceeded all expectations and without doubt is one of the best bluetooth speakers on the market. It’s now available for the first time to US buyers for $149.
Amplitude, volume, loudness, however you put it it’s a major issue with bluetooth speakers. It’s hard to pack a lot of power in such a small package, but this is where the Sound Blaster Roar excels. I brought the Roar to the beach, which is a great real-time test of a speakers viability (please note it’s not waterproof). Even with background noise from waves, seagulls, and kids screaming the Roar was clearly audible and anyone around enjoyed the music. We even had a few bystanders come up and ask what kind of speaker we had because they like the way it sounded.
The key to it’s volume is the unique 5 driver, bi-amplified design. Unlike most speakers the Roar is audible from all sides. For an additional volume boost, hit the roar button for an even more powerful listening experience.
One important note: The Sound Blaster Roar can reach greater volume when plugged in, which is true for most bluetooth audio solutions. While the difference is audible, it doesn’t detract from it’s performance “on the move”.
Audio Quality – Serious Low End
Just because a speaker is loud doesn’t make it a worthwhile purchase. The Roar has a stellar combination of audio clarity through all frequency ranges. Even on full blast there’s no distortion and audio quality is everything you could wish for. Mid to high frequencies are crisp and clear, much in part thanks to the dual 1.5 hf drivers.
Sound stage is a common term used to describe how “wide” a speaker sounds during playback. If you’ve ever listened to a budget bluetooth speaker you can easily identify that it sounds “narrow”. Even though it’s only a few inches wide, the Roar’s sound stage is truly impressive. Panning is audible, which is rare for a bluetooth system, and it does a great job of filling space with music.
Audio quality is great overall, but the most impressive part is hands down the low-end frequency handling. Designed with passive radiators on each side, the Roar moves an impressive amount of air. On the rear panel is a toggle for the “TeraBass” feature. When turned on, TeraBass prevents the limiting and restriction of bass frequencies at mid-high volumes. Bassheads will keep it on at all times, but it’s a brilliant idea to give consumers the ability switch it off for a less “thumping” listening experience.
All in all the audio quality is really impressive. You won’t believe your ears when you hear it.
Features And Inputs For Every User
Creative made sure to include a plethora of options for how to send music to the Roar. Wireless streaming is my personal preference, but you can also initiate playback through the aux input, usb cable, or a micro SD card.
On the rear panel you’ll find buttons for track switching, playback start/stop, and bluetooth phone connectivity. Personally I choose not to use bluetooth speakers to communicate, but Creative made sure that it’s available for users who like this functionality.
Additional Features and Functions
The most notable feature is the ability to pair two Roars together for an even better listening experience. I didn’t get to test this feature myself since we only have one, but I can only imagine how setting up a pair of these would sound.
High definition aptX and AAC codecs are supported during bluetooth playback. If you don’t know what that means, it ensures that whether you’re using an Android or Iphone the playback quality is top-notch.
Bedtime mode offers users the option for the Roar to slowly fade it’s volume on a set timer.
The Roar offers a few other features that I chose not to include in the review because I don’t think they are necessary. Things like the built in alarm and micro SD voice recording are not functions that I would consider viable for most consumers. The good news is you aren’t paying for these extra features, they’re simply included. For this reason I don’t think it detracts from it’s value.
All in all, the Roar is one of the most impressive bluetooth speakers currently on the market. Small details such as allowing users to choose whether they want more bass in their mix are what consumers want. I’m absolutely impressed by the unique combination of volume, audio quality, and customization Creative packed into this speaker. It is hands down one of the absolute best options for under $150.