With so many individuals desirous to share their tunes with family and friends wherever they occur to be, it’s no surprise that small, battery-powered, Bluetooth audio system are extra fashionable than ever. Among the numerous such merchandise out there at the moment is the Tronsmart Element Force. Let’s discover out if this small unit has what it takes to get the celebration began.
The Tronsmart Element Force is sort of small, measuring 8 x 3.1 x 2.5 inches (width x top x depth) and weighing a mere 27.5 ounces (1.7 kilos). It carries an IPX7 water-resistance ranking, which implies you don’t want to fret about getting it moist and even submerging it within the pool or ocean (at a depth of lower than a meter and for not more than 30 minutes).
The specified frequency response extends from 80Hz to 18kHz (no tolerance given) with distortion rated at lower than or equal to 1 p.c. Sound is reproduced by two round 2-inch lively drivers firing ahead and two oval-shaped passive radiators measuring 1.9 x 1.2 inches—one going through ahead and the opposite going through backward—in a sealed enclosure. Each lively driver is powered by a 20-watt amplifier.
Tronsmart touts a most energy output of 40 watts due to a know-how known as SoundPulse. According to the corporate web site, SoundPulse makes use of DSP (digital sign processing) and a beefy battery—two batteries, really—along with the passive radiators to spice up the output and bass response of the Element Force.
Aside from increased energy and deeper bass, the claimed advantages of SoundPulse embrace eliminating a standard dip in SPL (sound strain stage) within the 2- to 3kHz frequency vary. Also, it’s stated to widen the speaker’s sonic dispersion, permitting extra folks to listen to it with out compromised sound high quality. Finally, the know-how claims to cut back clipping distortion when reproducing music with each excessive and low frequencies concurrently.
Unlike most such audio system, the Element Force provides three totally different EQ presets. Extra Bass does what you’d think about, whereas 3D Stereo is alleged to “broaden the sound range and strengthen the stereo sound effect.” According to Tronsmart, the Standard preset “counteracts harmonic distortion and eliminates noise.” The default is Extra Bass (natch!).
I actually admire you can wirelessly hyperlink two audio system to type a stereo pair, a function that Tronsmart calls True Wireless Stereo (TWS). Of course, you should utilize the 3D Stereo preset with a single unit, however having two separated by some bodily distance is much better.
As with all such audio system, the first audio enter is Bluetooth—on this case, Bluetooth 4.2 with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate). The Element Force can pair with a Bluetooth supply within the typical method, and it additionally helps NFC (Near-Field Communication), which helps you to pair the speaker with an NFC-enabled system just by touching them collectively. Alternatively, you’ll be able to join a 3.5mm analog-audio cable to the Aux enter if there’s no Bluetooth supply round.
Along with the 3.5mm aux enter, the Element Force supplies a USB-C port for charging the batteries and a Micro SD/TF memory-card slot, which helps you to play tunes instantly from a suitable reminiscence card. Supported audio codecs embrace WAV, FLAC, APE, and MP3. All three connections are situated behind a tightly sealed rubberized cowl on the again, which ought to be saved closed when not in use for defense towards publicity to liquids.
The two built-in batteries, every rated at 3,300mAh, take about three hours to totally cost. After that, they supply as much as 15 hours of play time at medium quantity.
Like many Bluetooth audio system, this one can function a hands-free speakerphone when paired your cell phone. A built-in microphone picks up your voice, and the music robotically pauses throughout the name.
The controls are situated on the highest floor of the Element Force. They are bodily buttons beneath a versatile silicone protecting that retains water out. They embrace energy on/off, enter choice/Bluetooth disconnect/system reset, quantity down/skip to earlier monitor, play/pause/reply telephone/dangle up telephone/redial final quantity, quantity up/skip to subsequent monitor, and EQ preset choice.
Each button has a selected form molded into the silicone, relying on its operate. Unfortunately, the buttons are almost invisible, being black on black. You can discover them by really feel, however I’d a lot favor to have the ability to simply see them as properly.
In addition to the buttons, there are three tiny LED indicators on the highest: Bluetooth standing, charging standing, and EQ standing. That final one signifies which EQ preset is chosen.
Pairing the Tronsmart Element Force to my iPad went with no hitch. I listened to every choice 4 occasions: as soon as with every of the EQ presets, and once more on a JBL Xtreme 2, which I not too long ago reviewed on TechHive. I’ll touch upon that comparability shortly.
I began with “Kalimankou Denkou” from the album Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares by the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Choir singing a cappella (no devices). The Extra Bass EQ mode sounded surprisingly wealthy and full—and pretty loud with the amount management set at 50 p.c. Surprisingly, the soundfield prolonged past the confines of the enclosure. By distinction, the 3D Stereo preset had a lot decrease quantity on the similar stage setting and a a lot thinner sound—extra prefer it was coming from a small field. Also, I didn’t hear any sense of a stereo soundfield. The Standard preset was a bit louder, however nonetheless pretty skinny with no stereo unfold.
My shock on the huge soundfield with the Extra Bass preset led me to play “Wooden Ships” from Crosby, Stills, & Nash Greatest Hits. Sure sufficient, the soundfield prolonged past the small enclosure; the 2 solo voices initially are panned laborious proper and left, they usually did appear to be coming from these instructions outdoors the field. The excessive frequencies appeared a bit strident, and the bass was barely weak, however total, the sound was fairly good. As earlier than, the 3D Stereo preset was a lot decrease in quantity and thinner in high quality with no stereo unfold in any respect, whereas the Standard preset was considerably louder and richer, however nonetheless with no stereo soundfield.
Next up was “Thunderation” from guitarist Dan Crary’s album of the identical identify. The ensemble contains solo acoustic guitar and rhythm part. In the Extra Bass preset, the sound was wealthy, and the soundfield prolonged properly past the small field with clear guitar and good bass. The 3D Stereo preset was a lot decrease in quantity with weak bass and no stereo unfold, whereas the Standard preset was louder however nonetheless with pretty weak bass. In each circumstances, the sound gave the impression to be coming fully from the small field moderately than past it as with the Extra Bass preset.
In the world-music style, I checked out “Radhe Radhe” from Beggars and Saints by Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra. This monitor contains harmonium, synthesizers, drums, tablas, guitar, sitar, and trumpet and sax solos along with female and male solo vocals. The Extra Bass preset sounded full and properly balanced with a large soundstage, whereas the 3D Stereo and Standard presets had been a lot softer and thinner with no stereo unfold.
For some rock music, I turned to “Aqualung” from The Very Best of Jethro Tull. On this monitor, the low midrange appeared considerably closed in, however the soundstage prolonged past the enclosure. As I had come to anticipate, the 3D Stereo preset was a lot softer and thinner with no stereo unfold, and the Standard preset was considerably louder however nonetheless with no stereo soundfield.
Moving on to classical music, I listened to the Finale of Act I from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra below Andre Previn. True to my earlier expertise, the Extra Bass mode sounded wealthy with well-rendered devices, and it was lots loud with good dynamic vary. By this level, I finished listening to the 3D Stereo and Standard presets, which had been constantly much less interesting than Extra Bass.
From The Best of Andrea Bocelli, I performed “La Voce del Silenzio” by Amelio Isolda. This monitor contains strings, rhythm part, percussion, and acoustic guitar to accompany Bocelli’s unimaginable voice in a hybrid classical/pop fashion. In the Extra Bass mode, the voice was stunning and really ahead, whereas the orchestra and rhythm part had been properly rendered with good dynamics.
As talked about earlier, I in contrast the sound of the Element Force with that of the JBL Xtreme 2, which is an analogous product with an IPX7 waterproof ranking. JBL’s speaker a two-way system with a 0.8-inch tweeter, 2.75-inch woofer, and 3.5-inch passive radiator for every of two channels with a complete of 40W powering all 4 lively drivers. The specified frequency response extends from 55Hz to 20kHz, which encompasses greater than the Tronsmart (80Hz to 18kHz). Also, it’s fairly a bit bigger and heavier than the Element Force, and it prices thrice as a lot.
Given all that, one would possibly moderately anticipate the Xtreme 2 to noticeably outperform the Element Force. Amazingly, it didn’t. On every monitor I listened to, the sound of the JBL was fairly near the sound of the Tronsmart in its Extra Bass mode. Generally, the Xtreme 2 had barely deeper bass and a smoother, drier, extra “polite” sound total. Also, the JBL was not as loud on the similar quantity setting, and I heard no important stereo soundfield, however the sound was properly balanced and devices had been properly outlined.
During my testing, I inadvertently left each models powered on and inactive for greater than six hours. The JBL robotically turned off throughout that point, however the Tronsmart didn’t. Granted, the Element Force has a long-lasting battery, however it ought to nonetheless go into standby mode after a lot lower than six hours of inactivity.
Just for grins, I in contrast the Element Force with the KEF LSX speakers I reviewed for TechHive. As a pair of small, high-end, powered audio system that aren’t battery-powered, they don’t serve the identical function because the Tronsmart. Plus, they checklist for $1,100, so they aren’t in the identical value class by any means.
The KEF LSX audio system sounded higher, after all, with a lot deeper bass, heat midrange, and glowing highs. But the tiny Tronsmart sounded surprisingly good within the comparability, and once more, I used to be struck by its huge soundfield.
Frankly, I’m astonished at how properly the Tronsmart Element Force performs. In its Extra Bass EQ mode, this mighty mite dishes out wealthy, full sound in a large soundfield that belies its diminutive measurement. The different two EQ modes sound precisely as I might anticipate from such a small speaker: skinny, and weak with no stereo unfold in any respect. In the Extra Bass mode, it’s even a match for the JBL Xtreme 2, which is way bigger with a extra subtle driver complement—and it’s thrice the price.
Speaking of price, $60 is amazingly low for this stage of sound and construct high quality. In truth, it’s so low that purchasing two is not any nice monetary burden, and you’ll wirelessly hyperlink them into a real stereo pair. When you add sturdy water resistance to the equation, the Element Force is a drive to be reckoned with.
That’s to not say it’s excellent. As I’ve described, the 3D Stereo and Standard EQ modes sound fairly dangerous. Also, the controls are very troublesome to see, and the unit doesn’t robotically energy down after some interval of inactivity. But at this value, I can simply overlook these minor shortcomings and easily benefit from the music.