While we don't typically review consumer audio gear at Pro Sound News, I’ve been using a new Bluetooth speaker system from Vibes Audio recently that’s well worth a mention. Dubbed the Vibrox Sound Engine, the speaker is part of an integrated collection called the Roxon Modular Smartphone System.
The system lets you carry interchangeable accessories on the back of your Apple or Samsung phone, so it’s based around three parts: a Baserox smartphone case, and two units that can snap-lock on to it—the Voltrox power bank and the Bluetooth-based Viberox Sound Engine.
At 3.6 ounces, the Viberox Sound Engine is lightweight, helping make its presence on the back of your phone less noticeable. When it’s not on your phone, it gets placed in a separate charging stand—whereupon it then bears a striking resemblance to a 1960s Star Trek communicator. The speaker holds 10-12 hours of charge, and is waterproof to IPX7 standards (able to be submerged in water for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter). It also sports an omnidirectional mic, so you can use it for conference calling.
How does it sound? The heart of the Viberox is essentially a vibration transducer, emitting sound via a business card-sized carbon fiber soundboard at the center of the speaker. While small, it can get quite loud; given the panel’s size, it’s not fair to expect a lot of bass—the laws of physics get in the way—but it does a respectable job of providing the impression that bass is lurking in the shadows. Just as important, while the speaker is better at creating mids and highs, they aren’t harsh or irritating. Would you use this to mix your next track? No—but you might use it to test what that track sounds like on a small consumer portable speaker.
While not audio-related, I have to note the Voltrox power bank. A few years ago, I had a Mophie phone case with a built-in power bank, and in the two months I’ve had the Roxon system, the Voltrox has proven itself to be a far better charger. Case in point—the recent NAMM Show in Anaheim. Pro Sound News does tons of social media while on the run at conventions, so my phone battery wore down after a few hours. Sure, I was able to charge my phone with Voltrox on the go, but more importantly, I was able to detach the power bank and lend it to a colleague during a meeting so he could charge his phone, too. That’s something you can’t do with a phone case with a built-in power bank—plus the Voltrox bank holds enough power to equal 1.5 complete phone charges, so there was enough juice to give his phone a boost and still have some left for myself later in the day.
Are they perfect? No, the Viberox has an irritating voice that loudly confirms each button press, and the inevitable thickness of your phone and the case and a module all put together won’t be to everyone’s liking (I didn’t notice it after a day or two). Nonetheless, because the modules clip to your phone, you wind up carrying them without really thinking about them—and that’s the system’s best feature: You never discover that darn, you accidentally left that speaker or power bank behind, because they’re always there when you need them.
Vibes Audio • www.vibesmodular.com