Pros: Design & looks, sound quality, functionalities, volume & clarity
Cons: Price, weight and size makes it barely portable, lack remote control, lack of Bluetooth functionality
Build Quality: 9/10
Design & Look: 10/10
Audio Quality: 8.5/10
My final Rating: 8/10
Purchase Date: September 2012
Purchase Price: £350
Packaging & Accessories:
The packaging and accessories of the TDK 3 Speaker Boombox are what I expected to arrive in the package, especially the USB to iPod connector which is included too.
In the package you should receive:
-3 Speaker Boombox
-FM radio receiver
-AM radio receiver
-AM radio stand
-3.5mm to 3.5mm wire
-Wall charger wire
-USB to 30 pin iPod connector
Overall first impressions:
My first impressions were very positive, both with the first look at the boombox, and the accessories/packaging that it came with. The accessories I felt were just right, and I couldn't really see the need to include anything more, other than what was included. The fact that TDK also included the USB to 30 pin connector is very useful for those wanting to play music through their iPod's, whilst charging it at the same time. Even though it was useless for someone like me with an Android phone, it was nice to see that attention to detail.
It should be noted however, that as my package was sent from the USA, I got a 2 pin wall charger. I highly doubt the UK versions will get any problems with that, however it was very easily inter-changeable with your standard wall charger.
Regardless, top marks to TDK for this section.
The build quality of the speaker is top notch. From the gorgeous looking front panel, to the solid metal handle:
-The handle bar is well made, and doesn't seem to be flimsy at all, even after several months of use; it is built to last. More so, underneath there is leather padding, which adds this premium feel to the product, and allows you you carry the boombox without having it digging into your hands.
-The finish on the front panel of the boombox is flawless, and surprisingly, even after a few months of use hasn't really picked up any nasty scratches or marks, although it should be noted it is a little bit of a finger print magnet.
-The connections on the side and back are well thought out, and don't seem to be causing any problems after repeated usage.
-The knobs at the front of the boombox, are well built, and feel like they are built to last. Thus, they don't feel wobbly, nor too stiff upon turning them.
-The touch controls are responsive and it's very nice to see that they fade out, whilst they aren't being used (like the radio presets)
-The display on the right and left side are well done, especially whilst listening to the radio, information is provided on the left hand side.
The only thing that lets down the boombox a little bit is the speakers not being well protected. Although they are made out of kevlar, and look magnificent, it would have been nice to see TDK, either include a metal grill in front of them, or even having the option of adding a metal grill accessory to them, in order to protect them better.
I do personally feel that the speakers are one of the best protected ones I have come across, however just for that added safety, it would have been nice to see a sort of grill, as who knows what can be pushed through them by accident, especially seeing as it is made to be on-the-go.
Overall the build quality is extremely good, and my remark is being extremely harsh on them, however something I felt was worth mentioning as this boombox is meant to be portable.
Now the overall look, functionalities and its size & weight
Look & Design:
As mentioned above, the look of the boombox is amazing. In fact, everyone that has laid their eyes upon it, has commented by saying how marvellous it looks. I've had quite a few compliments about my boombox looking great, and more so I personally love its look. I feel it is one of the coolest pieces of equipment I have laying around in my room.
The "golden touch" so to speak, of having a golden trim to the boombox, alongside having a nice shiny/glossy front panel, makes the TDK 3 Speaker Boombox a superb looking system.
I should also say that the design of the speaker is brilliant and well thought out. At the top of the speakers there is a groove, where you can place your device, and it is big enough to accommodate phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S III. This leads to you having your device kept in a secure location, whilst it is use with the boombox. More so, the handle is curved, meaning it fits into ones hands really well, and is easier to carry around.
The boombox has quite a lot of functionalities:
-FM radio playback
-AM radio playback
-1/4 playback (used with a guitar for example)
As you can see there is pretty much every single type of connection that one would need or expect from a portable speaker. Of course the ones missing, that I can think of from the top of my head would be optical and coxial connections - however those two connections, alongside with others that might be out there, can't really be seen as being "portable" by any means, thus it wouldn't make sense to have those connections available in the first place.
The only complaint I have about the functionalities, is linked to the USB playback. I feel the USB playback is quite limited with its options - as when I plugged in my USB stick into the boombox, it would play from A to Z, with no real option of choosing which folder within the USB, that I wanted it to play, or in which particular order. I gather this is due to the limited screen functions on the boombox itself, but this should be noted for people wanting to play via USB only.
Apart from that feature which I felt was a little lacking, there's a lot that the TDK speaker actually does really well:
-Whilst on AM/FM mode, the illuminated lights for your presets come on, where you can program up to 5 different radio stations. Also, the knob to the right becomes a means to seek for radio stations either manually or automatically.
-Whilst on USB mode, the illuminated controls for play/pausing, skipping and previous are made available
-Whilst on AUX or INST mode, the illuminated lights for FM/AM and USB mode aren't shown, meaning you get a nice sleek looking boombox, which is clever and thoughtful.
The knob to the right, also controls the EQ, when called upon (thus when you touch the EQ illuminated button). The EQ is a very nice inclusion, as it allows you to fine tune your boombox to your taste. I found that decreasing the bass by 1 notch, and increasing the treble by 2-3 notches rendered the best results for me, this is purely subjective, so it will depend on your tastes.
Overall, the functionalities and inputs all work as they are supposed to, and hopefully from my overview video, and pictures you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about. However, there are two features, especially at this price range, that I felt should have been included: A Bluetooth connection, and a remote control.
I found myself sometimes in need of a remote control, in order to control my music from across the room, but instead having to get up and change the music. Even a simple remote, that only controlled the volume would have been nice.
Finally the Bluetooth inclusion would have been really good, as it would have allowed me to seamlessly control my own music, at a 5-10m range from the speakers, without the need of ever touching the speakers.
Size & Weight:
The size and weight is the biggest thing or should I say one of the only things that lets down this boombox. It's very big, and especially a very heavy boombox. It definitely isn't portable, thus something that is not meant to be put on your shoulders, and can't really be carried around for a long period of time.
I must say I'm not the strongest man in the world, but every guy or girl that has tried picking it up, was surprised as to how heavy it was. I actually got a weighing scale out and it showed between 12KG and 15KG in weight, so this can give you a better idea of how heavy or light it actually is for you. For me 12-15KG is quite heavy, and thus isn't a portable device. More so, this was without any of the 12 D batteries inside, which would further add weight to the speakers. Thus the portability side of this boombox is really put out of question for me, it isn't a portable speaker system, nor a system that I can see myself carrying around. It is however a system I can see myself putting in the car, and taking around with me.
The size as well, is quite large. As you can see, I tried portraying the size with the use of a 1.5L bottle of water, so that people can realistically see how big it is in their rooms. The actual precise measurements can be found elsewhere online.
Finally the sound quality. Possibly one of the most important things with any audio equipment. The TDK 3 Speaker Boombox has incredibly loud, and accurate sound reproduction. There is a slight dip in the mids, where the TDK suffers a little, however due to that little dip in the mids, you get a nice warm sounding speaker. When I first turned it on, I had the hugest smile and surprise to my face, as I wasn't expecting these speakers to sound half as good as they did. They sound rich, full, warm, accurate in the highs and mids, and have this lovely mid-bass punch that is pleasant to ones ears. I don't feel like the lows or highs are rolled off, however when compared to my actually Logitech Z-5500 sound system, you can really feel and hear the difference, and by that I mean my PC sound system is much more accurate and "cleaner" sounding than the TDK speakers. That said for portable speakers, I was very much impressed to say the least.
Overall, the sound quality is very good, but for a hefty price tag, one could have expected a little more premium quality sound coming out of the boombox.
Conclusions and final thoughts:
The TDK 3 Speaker Boombox, is a brilliant piece of kit, and one of the best looking kits I have owned. However, with a hefty price of £350, the lack of Bluetooth, a remote control and its lack of portability make the speaker set a very hard piece of equipment to position.
On one hand it is a portable-esk speaker, that can be taken around with you on gigs, pre-drinks, used as an amp for your guitar or in the car for a picnic, however it isn't a speaker that I would happily carry with me, by hand, for more than 10 minutes, as it is too heavy for me to call portable. It thus occurred to me, at the price of £350, you could also get full sound systems, of course they wouldn't be portable, but neither do I really classify the TDK 3 Speaker Boombox as portable. Instead of the word portable, I would like to use the word convenient over my Logitech Z-5500. As instead of having to unplug my whole system, I just have to carry around one single box (the TDK), that turns on within a touch. Both my Logitech Z-5500 sound system, and the TDK speakers are as portable as each other in that respect.
Which thus leads me unto the pricing, of £350. With £220 over 2 years ago, I bought my 505 Watt sound system, the Logitech Z-5500. With £350, I can now purchase the boombox. As you can see, I would be paying more for a set of speakers that are less accurate, and less powerful, but in essence more convenient to carry around. I find the pricing for the TDK 3 speaker boombox, thus a little bit too much for its intended purposes.
For someone looking for a on-the-go boombox, they might want to look at the 2 speaker boombox instead, as it is a lot lighter and smaller to carry around. Of course they won't get the same music reproduction, and thump as they would with the 3 speaker variant, but as far as boomboxes go, I think of a boombox as a means of having "portable speakers", rather than just "speakers".
Therefore, my underlining problem with the TDK 3 speaker boombox, is its intended use for it. I can see it being used, where carrying the device isn't really essential, but maybe sometimes required (for example dance crews looking for a boombox they can have in a room, and from time to time move it around with little hassle). However if you are looking for a "real boombox" I would look into the 2 speaker boombox offered by TDK, rather than the 3 speaker one.
That's my dilemma, that I still haven't figured out with these speakers, maybe one day it will come to me, and I will realise where else this can be used, however for the time being, I can't see the 3 Speaker Boombox, especially at its pretty premium price to be used in many applications, thus why I gave it a lower rating for its price, and its overall rating, despite the boombox thoroughly impressing me, for the duration that I have had it for.
Hope you enjoyed my review!