Make sure you’ve read part one of our guide to know what you should be looking for in a great Bluetooth speaker. We covered the different versions of Bluetooth, output power, bass and features. In this second article, we’re helping you decide which Bluetooth speaker is the right option for you!
- Signal to Noise Ratio, Distortion, Frequency Response and Battery Life.
Signal to Noise Ratio (S/N)
Signal to Noise (measured in decibels) can often seem to be a strange specification, but the value can impact the overall sound quality and is really an exercise in technical mathematics. Simplified, if you turn up the volume of a speaker without any playback, you will hear a hissing sound. This is the sound of electricity flowing through the various components in your speaker being amplified.
When you are playing music, you don’t usually hear this hissing sound because your music is always louder than the hiss. A higher Signal to Noise ratio means that the amount of hissing is lower, although it isn’t much of a consideration unless you are playing back your speaker at maximum volume. Even then, you are unlikely to hear any of the hissing sounds as your music will almost always cover up over that sound.
Any amplifier can distort, or change the sound of an input source. It’s a measure of the difference between the input sound and the output sound and how it is changed through the amplification process. Put your speakers onto their full volume, and it may sound terrible as it distorts, almost like a garbling.
Distortion isn’t really much of a concern if you don’t play at full volume, as the human ear is unlikely to hear much difference between stepped ratings in the middle range. However, the lower the percentage of distortion, the better.
This is all about how well a speaker is able to generate all of the sound ranges we can hear with our ears. The human ear is generally able to detect frequencies as low as 20Hz (very low bass pitch tones) all the way up to 20kHz (very high pitch tones). As we get older, our ability to detect all of these frequencies decreases.
The ideal speaker should be able to produce this full frequency response for the best sound reproduction, however some speakers might distort at this full frequency. Our Volkano Mini Bazooka Squared Series features a response range of 100Hz – 20kHz, able to clearly handle most common frequencies in a small, portable package.
If your device has what is known as a graphic equalizer, such as our Volkano Rocket, these frequencies can be adjusted to enjoy your preference in musical taste. You may prefer a deeper bass sound or one that has less oomph to balance the sound of your music. An equalizer gives you control over which ranges of a sound you prefer.
This one is easy to understand. Battery capacity is measured in mAh (milliamp hour). The higher the value, generally the better, as this means your playback time is higher without having to recharge the device. If portability is your main requirement, you would want a higher rating.
If you have your portable speaker plugged into electricity (usually a USB port charger similar to what your phone uses), this should be of no importance to you at all, as your speaker will always work without decreasing playback time.
Our Mini Bazooka Squared Series is rated at a playback time of 2 hours at maximum volume, with a greater expected battery life in the mid-range.
In conclusion, when you are shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, the most important considerations to take home from our series is the Bluetooth version, the output power, how the bass is generated, the battery life you prefer for portable playback, as well as the general frequency response range.
Don’t forget the style of the design which may set a particular speaker apart from another. Our Volkano Mini Bazooka Squared Series has a unique square shape with a carry-handle for that extra portability, and our Volkano Rocket looks like nothing else you would have seen before. Maybe you prefer something with flashy lights? Take a look at the Volkano Cylon. Pretty!