The Greatest Portable Speaker Ever? Outbound Reviewed: The Soundboks 2

Looking for the ultimate portable party speaker? The Soundboks 2 may be it.

I first came across the Soundboks 2 while adventuring on the Shafer Trail in Moab. About halfway up the canyon surrounded by beautiful red-rock sandstone overlooking the Colorado River I could hear the crisp, clear sounds of a remix of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and like a moth to a flame I raced over to determine what specifically was making such a wonderful sound.


There I met a fellow vanlifer (and Westy owner) who had a Soundboks 2 on the roof of her van and was hosting an impromptu dance party for the fellow Utah-desert dwellers and explorers. 

It was a startling product demo, particularly for someone who considers the single biggest downside to vanlife being the lack regular, high-quality immersive music listening experiences outside of headphones and concerts. Deals were made and I spent the last 3 months driving one around the western half of the US and Canada, blasting music wherever it was called for.


So what is the Soundboks 2? It is lithium battery-powered, bombproof (seriously, run it in the rain), 112 decibel-pushing tank of a speakerbox with two 10" (Ø 254mm) woofers and a single 1" (Ø 25mm) neodymium silk dome tweeter with 3 x 72W class D amplifiers. 

What this means from a sound standpoint is that you get respectable lows down to 40Hz (and as a party speaker by design, those lows are *loud*) and clean highs up to 20kHz, more than enough for zen-like and spacious ambient music in a big outdoor setting. Simply put: it is loud, really loud.


Remarkably, all that sound comes from one (swappable) lithium-ion battery that delivers 40 hrs of playback at close to full volume. I purchased a second battery and I have *never* gone without sound, even in a rainstorm on the west coast of Vancouver Island and in the scorching heat of Wyoming's Red Desert for an ultramathon (our aid station was clearly the most fun).


The case itself is built like a tank and the entire system can handle snow, rain, sun, humidity and extreme temperatures of -20C to +50C (-4F to 122F).


So the downsides? Depending on your sound preferences by design the Soundboks is not the most balanced sound, leaning heavily into the bass. I was able to adjust with some tweaking of in the equalizer. The size and weight is prohibitive for long hikes, but for anything shorter than a mile or two in conjunction with the Backpack it is perfectly acceptable. 

Without a doubt the Soundboks is the finest, truly portable loudspeaker system I have used. I have grown so fond of mine I even took the time to paint it the same color as my Westfalia. If you are doing the vanlife thing or are looking for a downright bombtastic portable party speaker there is not (currently) a better product on the market.

As always, whenever you're playing music outside, remember to be respectful of others enjoying the outdoors around you. There's a time and place to let it rip, just know when to shut it down (or at least turn it down). 

Published: July 19, 2018

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