Reviews

Review: JBL PartyBox Encore: Wireless speaker

Review: In a nutshell, the JBL PartyBox Encore offers an impressive sound quality that will certainly not disappoint you.
4/5 - (1 vote)

If you are looking for a party box or a wireless speaker to have a blasting party, you will soon discover that there are plenty of options to choose from. When it comes to reliable and quality loudspeakers, JBL emerges as a brand with some name and fame. Exploring their extensive portfolio when it comes to wireless speakers is well worth it. Whether you are organizing an event or an intimate party at your home, JBL has a great solution for every situation. From powerful and imposing party boxes to compact and portable models. The audio manufacturer has various options within the range that can appeal to a wide audience.

When making your choice, it is important to consider your specific needs. Does the speaker have to be in one fixed place, such as in a party room or backyard? Or should it be mobile so that you can easily take it with you to different locations? How will you use the wireless speaker? How can you connect it? Are there possibilities to ‘tweak’ the sound reproduction? In short: there are many different factors that play a crucial role. These influence your final choice.

In this review we will focus on one of the smaller versions of the PartyBox portfolio, namely the JBL PartyBox Encore . We’ll explore for whom this speaker might come in handy and in what situations it might come in handy. Of course we also put this copy on our ‘musical schedule’.

A musical cube?

With a battery life of ten hours, the JBL PartyBox Encore promises non-stop listening pleasure throughout the day. That should be enough time to provide you and your guests with the perfect soundtrack, tailored to the occasion. Whether it’s a summer pool party, a lively garden gathering or just a relaxing afternoon in the park: the PartyBox Encore is there to accompany you and your guests. Entirely musically.

In addition, the PartyBox Encore is splash-proof according to the IPX4 standard. While you shouldn’t submerge it in the pool, it can take a splash of water without being damaged. So you can continue to enjoy with peace of mind, even if some water is spilled or if a sudden summer rain shower passes by.

In addition to the battery life and splash resistance, the technical specifications describe a power of 100 watts. It’s hard to imagine how that sounds exactly, so I’m curious about the sound quality. But one thing is certain: it will take your party to the next level and create a fun atmosphere at the same time.

Something I personally really like about this JBL PartyBox Encore is that it comes with a wireless microphone. This adds an extra dimension to any occasion. That means you can get your parties started right away with an energetic karaoke session. Nothing gets people in the party mood faster than singing and having fun together, and the wireless microphone lets you do just that. Later in this review: more about the microphone.

On the go

I would call the weight of the JBL PartyBox Encore fairly ‘heavy’. At 6.3kg, it was slightly heavier than I expected. But I soon noticed that this was related to the solid build quality. Since this ‘weight’ benefits the overall sturdiness and reliability of the speaker, it is not necessarily ‘heavy’. I expected it to be a bit bigger, but the dimensions are actually ideal. It’s not too big or too small. Thanks to the practical handle you can easily take it with you wherever you want. In short, the whole is well put together, exudes quality and feels professional.

In terms of battery life, the reality does not quite match the theoretical duration, which should be ten hours. That is also what my experience with other wireless speakers has taught me. I rather end up with about 8 or 8.5 hours of listening pleasure at normal volume when connected wirelessly via bluetooth. But, to be honest, that’s still impressive. In practice, this may be more than enough.

As for the charging time, it does live up to expectations of 3.5 hours. While some may view it as nitpicking, I must admit I find it a bit long. Especially considering the battery life. But it’s a little thing that can’t dampen my enthusiasm.

Connectivity

The great thing is that you can connect the PartyBox Encore both wired and wireless, so you enjoy a lot of flexibility. Whether you prefer wireless connectivity for convenience and mobility, or you prefer a wired connection for a reliable and instant connection, the PartyBox Encore offers both options.

With the wireless option you can easily connect to the device (via Bluetooth). This allows you, for example, to connect your phone wirelessly and play your favorite music. It is useful for modern smartphones that have bluetooth.

For those who have an older phone without Bluetooth, or are more of a fan of the wired option, the PartyBox also offers the option of making a wired connection. This can be done via the aux cable, which has a 3.5 mm mini-jack connection. In addition, you can connect other devices, such as laptops or MP3 players, as long as they have the correct connection. It’s pretty cool that the wired alternative exists. Just plug and play and you’re off for hours of listening pleasure. The combination of wired and wireless connectivity gives you the freedom to choose how you want to connect PartyBox Encore.

A handy addition to the PartyBox is the USB port. This allows you to play music from a USB stick. This is ideal if you want to take your favorite playlists or songs with you, without being dependent on another device.

Let’s get this party started

Let’s turn up the volume and take a look at the sound quality and expandability of this speaker. As soon as you start playing music, you immediately experience a full and clear sound. The bass in particular stands out, with deep and impressive tones that allow you to boom and get the party or karaoke started. It is quite impressive that this compact ‘cube’ manages to produce such a powerful sound. Sounds impressive, especially considering the price range.

However, when I turned the volume all the way up and turned it to maximum, I noticed that the sound lost some power. The dynamics got lost a bit. At about 80% to 90% volume you don’t hear exactly the same as you can hear at 50%, for example.

Fortunately, JBL has a nice solution at hand, if you have to play really loud. Or when you just have a (very) large audience. This ‘solution’ has to do with the expansion possibilities. You can connect multiple speakers together. This way they can all play together and you can turn up the volume considerably. This can be a very cool option in certain settings.

Just think of a group of friends in which a few people have the same speaker. When they come together, the speakers can be connected so that they can enjoy the sound to the fullest. This adds something to the fun and gives an extra boost. Not only the music, but also the voices (if you were to go for a party with karaoke).

Ministry

The operation of this speaker offers you two useful options. On top of the speaker you will find a series of physical buttons that allow you to control your music experience with ease. With a simple push of a button you can start or stop the music. You can even give the bass a big boost with the special bass boost knob that can be adjusted in different levels. What I found pleasant was that these buttons offer sufficient resistance. That way you don’t accidentally press anything. And let’s not forget the handy rotary knob in the middle, with which you can set the volume. This was also very pleasant to use, because you did not have to turn too hard or too soft, but to apply just the right amount of force. This is ‘nice to have’ because it allows you to control the music without always having to take out your phone.

In addition to the physical buttons, you also have the option to operate the speaker with your phone via Bluetooth. However, one thing I did notice again is that there are different apps available in the Google Play Store for different product groups. This can sometimes be confusing, and it’s important to look carefully at which application you need to install. Perhaps a JBL all-in-one app, which simply centralizes everything, would come in handy. It’s a case of ‘look before you jump’. As I noted earlier in the review of the Bar 1000 (soundbar) , this also came up during installation. So be alert and make sure you install the right app to get the most out of your experience.

Sing along

One of the aspects that definitely triggered my curiosity; and motivated me to explore more was the presence of a wireless microphone. This is quite unique in the PartyBox series. For the price of about three hundred euros you not only get a great speaker, but also a microphone that is automatically connected.

The fact that you can also use the speaker without the microphone makes it a versatile device. Depending on the occasion, and the use, you can choose to use the microphone. That is really an added value. Whether it’s a musical party where someone gives a speech, a karaoke evening or even an imitation at the office (with your colleagues) in the style of ‘The Mask Singer’: the microphone really comes into its own and can provide fun situations. It is a nice extra that can come into its own in different environments. Even if you are someone who likes to sing or is involved in music a lot. It’s a handy way to amplify your voice. In short, the wireless microphone offers many possibilities for different occasions. I also noticed that the microphone connected very quickly with the PartyBox Encore. An absolute plus. Incidentally, the microphone was very comfortable to hold. Like the wireless speaker, it feels very solid.

What makes it even more fun is that there are four buttons on the top of the speaker. With these tactile buttons you can adjust the volume, echo, bass and treble of the microphone. The feeling and experience was nice. I certainly thought it was an added value that these functions were included in the speaker. It gives you the opportunity to tune the sound output of the microphone, based on your own taste.

Light in the dark

The PartyBox Encore’s light show is also an added value and distinguishes itself from other brands. JBL is known for its experience in the field of additional lighting effects, on the sound reproduction. That is clearly reflected in this scion. They have integrated it beautifully, with an illuminated front and a line on the sides that provide an extra visual element. This feature adds an extra dimension to the overall experience. You can turn the light show on or off, or even adjust the colors/movements based on your preferences. In addition, the light show responds to the rhythm of the music playing, which always makes for a fun and immersive experience.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the JBL PartyBox Encore offers an impressive sound quality that will certainly not disappoint you. The loudspeaker has a sleek appearance. There are various control options. Both via the physical buttons and via the accompanying application. With the addition of a wireless microphone, the device can be used very flexibly. In addition, the PartyBox Encore is compact and easy to carry, making it ideal for people who enjoy ‘mobile music’. You just grab the practical handle and move this model without any effort.

It’s no surprise that the build quality of the JBL PartyBox Encore is excellent, as you would expect from this renowned brand. The device feels solid and durable, making it able to withstand the challenges of mobile use. Whether you’re organizing a party in the backyard or taking the speaker to the beach: you can rest assured that the PartyBox can take a beating and will last a long time.

Within the segment of portable speakers, JBL distinguishes itself with the addition of the wireless microphone, which is an extra asset to show off with. With the wireless microphone you can take your party to the next level. No matter whether it’s karaoke, speeches or just having fun with friends/family/colleagues. This offers enormous flexibility and makes it possible to use the speaker in different ways, depending on the situation and occasion.

JBL’s PartyBox Encore is ideally suited for people who like to organize parties in a select group and want to fill the room with great music. Without spending a fortune. It is a versatile loudspeaker that can measure up to different types of people and their diverse lifestyles. Whether you are a party animal on the dance floor, a music lover organizing a barbecue with friends or an entertainer who likes to get karaoke nights going: for those who like to amp up the atmosphere and create a lively environment, the PartyBox Encore is perfect .

PROS

  • Premium design
  • Quality sound
  • Price is justified
  • Wireless microphone + light effects
  • Compact size

CONS

  • Maybe on the slightly heavier side to carry around
  • Charging time could have been shorter
  • Speaker does not provide 360-degree sound (if you stand in front of or behind it, your experience will be different