Bose SoundLink Max overview: size-defying sound isn’t low cost | Digital Noch

Bose SoundLink Max overview: size-defying sound isn’t low cost | Digital Noch

Bose is undoubtedly finest recognized for its noise-canceling headphones. However are you aware what else the corporate has all the time been rattling good at? Moveable audio system. I can nonetheless bear in mind being wowed by the unique SoundLink Mini (and later, its successor). One thing about Bose’s magic sauce audio processing could make these comparatively tiny audio system sound a lot larger and broader than they are surely, and that’s remained true with the newer SoundLink Flex — which stays one in all our favourite picks.

Now, Bose has launched a bigger speaker, the brand new SoundLink Max, that takes after the Flex in type whereas including key enhancements. It delivers a lot richer audio that’s now in true stereo. (The Flex, like different diminutive audio system in its class, makes use of a mono driver.) However right here, you’re getting twin tweets together with passive radiators on either side for a a lot fuller listening expertise.

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Dimension-wise, particularly with the deal with, it seems like a lunchbox: a really thick 4.9-pound lunchbox of sound wrapped in silicone with a steel faceplate. Look, all I’m saying is that this factor may completely be a weapon in the event you ever wanted it to be. You will get some actual swinging drive with the detachable deal with, which may be swapped for different colours or an extended shoulder strap.

At 4.73 inches excessive, 10.42 inches vast, and 4.13 inches deep, the Max’s enclosure is noticeably larger and beefier than the Flex’s, but it surely’s removed from outsized. As soon as I began enjoying music, I used to be shortly struck by the remarkably vast soundstage it might probably produce. That is a type of audio system the place in the event you shut your eyes, your mind will probably be satisfied that sounds are coming from properly past the system’s bodily footprint. And the bass carries loads of punch. Some individuals would possibly discover the default EQ a tad brilliant, however you get full management over that stability in Bose’s cell app. 

The Max fares finest indoors, the place Bose’s processing can rely on partitions and bouncing soundwaves. Outdoor, in vast open areas, that audio presentation feels much less “max” however nonetheless above common for this measurement — particularly in the event you bump the bass EQ. Apart from the same old AAC and SBC Bluetooth codes, the Max additionally helps AptX Adaptive for higher-bitrate audio from Android gadgets. Bose places battery life at as much as 20 hours, which I’ve discovered correct based mostly on my moderate-volume listening up to now.

The SoundLink Max has IP67 mud and water resistance, that means it may be briefly submerged with none issues.

The speaker has an IP67 score for mud and water resistance. It’ll even float do you have to by accident drop it in a pool. That stated, its rear ports are left uncovered and uncovered to the weather, so that you’ll need to dry the Max off and let it sit for some time earlier than plugging it in. The silicone that wraps across the sides and again is resilient, however the tradeoff is that it’s a mud and lint magnet. (At the least you’ll be able to simply clear it off.) 

The Max’s metallic entrance grille can decide up scratches extra simply than I’d like. My digital camera lens bumped up in opposition to it, and similar to that, the powder paint coating picked up a tiny everlasting scar. This blue seems to be fairly good, however I want Bose would provide a paintless silver version that will conceal such blemishes over the lengthy haul — particularly for a speaker that’s in any other case fairly rugged. 

The controls are about so simple as they arrive.

You like to see an aux enter.

Then there’s that $399 value. The SoundLink Max finds itself in no-man’s-land. It’s costlier than rivals from JBL, Anker / Soundcore, and others — and never a lot cheaper than far “smarter” choices just like the Sonos Transfer 2. Bose’s speaker has no Wi-Fi connectivity to talk of, so that you’re susceptible to notification sounds (or calls) interrupting your music. There’s additionally no speakerphone performance, which the Flex does embrace. Climb a bit increased in value, and also you’ve entered a lot bigger speaker territory with common selections similar to JBL’s Boombox 3 and Sony’s new Ult Subject 7, which may maintain their very own higher in out of doors areas. Even Bose’s prized processing isn’t any match for these larger drivers and their extra impactful sound as soon as you actually crank the amount.

It’s bigger and heavier than the SoundLink Flex however nonetheless compact sufficient to slot in a motorcycle basket.

Bose does throw in a number of bonus options to assist justify the premium value. The Max helps multipoint Bluetooth, so two gadgets can pair to it without delay. There’s a 3.5mm aux enter for exterior audio sources, and the USB-C port that’s used for juicing up the speaker may present energy to cell gadgets. We’ve now hit the purpose the place I want that the USB-C port may double as an audio enter. As is, I needed to seize a headphone jack adapter from my bag at any time when I plugged in my telephone for some lossless playback. I’m simply completely happy to have any kind of line-in. Later this 12 months, you’ll be capable to stereo pair the Max with one other unit or group it with Bose’s different audio system.

Not like the Flex, the Max delivers true stereo sound.

On the finish of the day, the SoundLink Max will attract the identical individuals who’ve all the time purchased Bose’s audio system. If you wish to splurge on a quite simple, elegant, great-sounding speaker, that is that. However the Bose tax and that $399 value will inevitably give others pause — understandably so. I’m already planning to hold this factor round typically over the months forward, but it surely’s a luxurious buy via and thru.

Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge

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