Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox – Loud and Heavy but Is It Any Good?
It’s hard to find a really good portable speaker. There are so many things to consider. Does it matter how heavy it is? Is it waterproof or just water resistant? How loud can it get and still sound good? There are lots of small, portable speakers out there. But not nearly as many larger ones that can really pump out some volume. The Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox is trying to be the latter. It is large, feature light, and loud. But is it any good? Let’s take a closer look.
Monster’s Blaster 3.0 Boombox Specs
- Bluetooth version: 5.1
- Environment EQ Mode
- IPX5 Water Resistant
- Frequency response: 80Hz – 15KHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: > 65dB
- Battery type: Li-ion 5,200mAh
- Battery charge time: 6.5 hours
- Music playtime: up to 12 hours (dependent on volume level and audio content)
- Connection ports: stereo 3.5mm Aux input, mono 3.5mm Mic input
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 18.6″ x 8.27″ x 7.72″
- Weight: 12.95 lbs
Monster Blaster 3.0 Overview
Before we really start with the Monster Blaster 3.0, let’s talk about the size. This “Monster” is over 18.5 inches long and weighs nearly 13 pounds. This speaker is larger than you think. If you’ve owned portable speakers, this is larger. Much. That’s not a knock against the product. It’s just important to note. This speaker is portable, but it isn’t going to fit in your handbag or even backpack. You are going to use the handle. Monster is trying to revive the Boombox with the Monster Blaster 3.0. With everything that entails.
That out of the way, let’s take a closer look. The Blaster 3.0 comes in three colors – black, white, and red. The review unit came in black with red socket head screws that served as a splash of accent color. There are two full-range drivers on each long side and a single woofer with two passive radiators on the bottom. The endcaps sported the controls on one side and the connections on the other. The only additional accessory with the speaker was the two-piece power cord.
Featurewise, the Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox is fairly limited. It has Bluetooth 5.0 and a 3.5mm Aux input only. If all you are looking for is a Boombox to play music, you will be happy. But if you are looking for much more, you are going to be disappointed. The included Mic input is neat in that it allows you to use the Blaster 3.0 as a PA system or makeshift karaoke machine, but it doesn’t have any ability to allow you to use it to make or receive calls natively. This really is only a Boombox.
Setup and Controls
The “M” button in the middle of the control pad turns the unit on and off. Like most people, I didn’t look at the manual before trying to connect my phone. Holding the Mode button put the unit into Bluetooth pairing mode and I quickly paired my phone. Powering on and off the unit (as well as engaging pairing mode and when your phone pairs with the speaker) cause the Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox to play a unique bass line. This showed off the capabilities of the speaker while also informing you that your command had been accepted.
There are two main modes on the Monster Blaster 3.0 – indoor and outdoor. Switching between the two was fairly simple as all you needed to do was hit the Mode button. It’s important to note that first press would wake the unit up and the second would switch the mode. Volume control is also available. You can control the volume from the control pad or from your phone. There is a readout that will change even if you use your phone.
Later, I tried to use the Monster Blaster 3.0 with my laptop. I quickly got it to connect, but the laptop wouldn’t recognize it as an audio device. I tried restarting the Blaster, restarting the laptop, and disconnecting and reconnecting the Bluetooth connection. Nothing helped.
Inputs and Water Resistance
The Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox has a number of ports under a large, rubber mat on the opposite end from the control pad. There is a power port (for the charging cable), a 3.5mm port for adding an external microphone, a 3.5mm Aux port for connecting a device, and a USB-A port for using the internal battery for charging your phone or another device.
Monster claims the Blaster 3.0 Boombox has an IPx5 water resistance rating. This means that it is safe from water jets from any direction. It is important to note that the rubber mat does not have individual protection for each of the ports. As we’ve mentioned, one of the main reasons that phones no longer have headphone jacks is because of higher water resistance. This means that the Master 3.0 Boombox would have only passed that test with the rubber mat in place. As there are only two posts that hold it down, you’ll have to ensure that it is firmly in place if you want to keep your speaker safe.
This also means that you could only ensure that the water resistance was at its peak when that rubber mat is secured. This means no connecting an external device, no charging your phone, and no charging the speaker.
Sound Quality – Listening Tests
As is my standard practice, my first step with testing any speaker is to listen to sweeps. This lets me know how even the speaker plays and how low and high it extends. Monster rates the Blaster 3.0 Boombox from 15kHz to 80Hz. I didn’t find this to be true. Instead, I found that it certainly put out usable sound from 15kHz down to around 52Hz. It’s always nice to find that a company has rated their speaker a little conservatively. Monster certainly did with this one. I tested both the Indoor and Outdoor modes. The Outdoor definitely had more bass and treble boost but didn’t change the extension or my overall impression of the speaker.
Evenness was more of an issue. It’s always hard to judge how even a speaker is outside of an anechoic chamber. Especially with the bass. But I was hearing a lot of variation throughout the frequency range in volume. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it could just indicate that Monster had tuned the Blaster 3.0 to sound a specific way. Usually in a way that would be most pleasing to the human ear.
In the bass, this was certainly true. The low end of the Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox was certainly full and few lifelike. There were some moments in the very lowest bass where I could hear the drivers distorting, but that was a rare occurrence.
The treble was more problematic. My first and lasting impression of the top end of the Blaster 3.0 was that it was very harsh. At low volume, this wasn’t much of a problem. But from moderate on up, it was everpresent. With the emphasis on bass and treble, the midrange seemed to fade into the background. Any high-end notes or music without significant bass sounded anemic as the midrange always sounded recessed in comparison.
It’s easy for a reviewer like me to get hung up on absolute sound quality. But not every speaker is meant to sound great in all locations. There’s an argument to be made that in order to sound good in some situations, a speaker would sound bad in others. This is certainly the case with the Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox.
This is a speaker that is intended to play LOUD. During my listening tests, I was never able to turn it up past three or four (of the eight) volume lights. That’s 50% or less of the available volume! A speaker that is designed to get that loud surely is fighting some external sounds. If you think about how this might be used, it starts to make more sense. Taking this to the beach with your friends? To the jobsite with lots of distance between you and the speaker. Maybe to an industrial setting? Extra bass and treble are certainly warranted! Maybe the harshness I heard would actually be a feature in those situations.
My one main concern with the Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox isn’t the sound quality, oddly enough. It is the water resistance rating and the lack of dust rating. While it might have technically passed the water resistance test, I don’t think it would survive well in real life. You’d have to be careful with it around water and even more careful around dust and sand. And that’s not what you want out of a nearly $350 ($300 on sale) speaker.
The Monster Blaster 3.0 Boombox is a bit of a mixed bag. It certainly can pump out the volume, but it doesn’t have the best sound quality. The Monster Blaster 3.0 might sound great outside, but you have to be careful with it lest you damage it. It doesn’t have a ton of features, but it is only really trying to be a Boombox. There are certainly situations where I could imagine that it might shine. Only you will know if this sounds like the right purchase for you.