What portable columns are and how to choose them?

At first, the musical equipment could not be worn with me – it was tightly tied to the outlet. Later, portable receivers on batteries appeared, and then various players, and even later to store and play music learned Mobile phones. But all this equipment had one common drawback – the impossibility of playing on sufficient volume and with truly good sound quality.

Portable column, which began his intensive procession in the world just a few years ago, instantly became a wildly popular gadget, and today no Meloman is not.

What it is?

Already one name of the portable column, which is often also called portable acoustics, speaks for itself – this is a small device for playing sound adapted to work in conditions when there are no sockets nearby. Modern audio colon is called wireless in the sense that she does not need a permanent source of power supply. Completely without wires, of course, did not cost – the device needs regular recharging, and can also be associated with a smartphone through a cable to play music files.

Wherein You can use the gadget and without connecting to the phone – most of the models are equipped with a memory card slot. Several years ago, such acoustic systems were fixedly focused on flash drives, and not for mobile phones. In modern models of portable acoustics, the emphasis is increasingly being done to fully comply with the description of the equipment as wireless – synchronization with a smartphone can be carried out via Bluetooth, and via Wi-Fi.

Device and principle of operation

From a technical point of view, a portable column of early models is practically no different from the ordinary column – this is the same speaker in the hard case, with the only difference that portability of a priori involves the presence of some autonomous power supply in the form of a battery. It is the battery that is one of the most important details of such equipment – if it is damaged or just a poor-quality, the device does not work without wires for a long time, which means it ceases to be portable.

Another important point is a signal source for playback. The earliest models were conjured with a mobile phone through an ordinary cable with a 3.5 mm connector (the so-called mini-jack), and therefore we said that initially there are no differences from ordinary audio equipment, except batteries. This transmission option was reliable and allowed to connect with almost any phones released after 2005, but the fact of the presence of cable morally limited the portability of the device.

In fact, mini Jack began to clean with portable columns only in recent years, but it is not considered the main way of connecting the carrier for a long time.

Over the years of increasing the popularity of such equipment, engineers have come up with many other ways to gain access to memory. Technically, the simplest solution, it is one of the first, to embed a memory card connector into a mini-column, because it would use the device, regardless of which your phone and how many memory is in it. In different models were used (and still relevant) or USB connectors, or a flash drive slots in size. At the same time, both options are also not considered perfectly comfortable, because in fact you have to start a separate drive and ensure that there are always the latest songs.

As smartphones develop, the developers understood that the stop still should be done on the interface precisely with mobile devices, Especially since the last rapidly overtakes in the indicators of the built-in memory and support flash drives.

Initially, the Bluetooth protocol was selected for the wireless connection, which received mass support in phones from the middle of the first decade of the XXI century, But in such a conjugation, as usual, there was a number of shortcomings, for example, a relatively low data transfer rate and the impossibility of a significant removal of acoustics from the phone. When Wi-Fi came to shift Bluetooth (although in many models they still arrive), both problems managed to solve almost completely – the sound stopped unforeseenwise, and the distance on which the signal remained clear, increased markedly.

In addition to basic functions, Portable acoustics can have some other properties for which the developers equip the case with additional parts and nodes. The simplest example is a built-in radio, thanks to which even forgotten houses, the USB flash drive and the discharge phone will not leave you without music at all.

In addition, for convenience of transportation, such equipment is often equipped with a handle.

Review of species

Although portable acoustics seem an extremely simple gadget, there are a number of classifications, which allows to allocate specific groups in the general model range. Since we have already talked about the general device and the mandatory need for the dynamics, we clarify that on this criterion, all columns are divided into 3 types.

  • Mono. This includes models with the only speaker, occupying almost the entire volume of the case. This is a relatively low-cost speakers, the pleasant characteristic of which can be really a loud sound, but at the same time they cannot boast the volume of sound, and therefore inferior to competitors.

  • Stereo. Contrary to popular belief, the speakers here are not necessary two – there may be more of them, although the official “right” and “left” is really present, and are also the largest. If the speakers are more than two, some of them can be rear, that is, directed back. Such equipment is already significantly better transmitted all the completeness of the sound, but it is still worth looking for such a listener’s position relative to the column in each particular room to understand where the highest quality sound will be ensured.

  • 2.one. Speakers, characterized by the use of different type and multidirectional speakers. Good in that even low frequencies reproduce qualitatively, regardless of the volume level.

They also differ in pronounced powerful sound, well suited even for a small party.

Among other things, there is another definition that is directly related to the quality of reproduction. Many consumers are happy to buy mini-acoustics of the Hi-Fi class, seduced by the fact that this standard of playing the sound track “is close to the original”. With relatively good quality issued sound, it is necessary to understand that today this level is no more than the norm, and the term LO-FI, denoting the sound is worse, to the reproducing equipment of our time can not be applied at all. If you really chase for a truly top level of sound drawing, you need to pay attention to the models working in the Hi-End standard, but should not be surprised if they are many times more expensive than any analogues.

If the early models may have done without a display, today the availability of the screen is mandatory – at least to demonstrate the name of the track played. The simplest option is, of course, implemented in the form of a conventional monochrome scoreboard, but there are more serious solutions with highlighting and supporting various colors. In the same category, you can consider models with light music – although the light emits in this case not the screen itself, this is also an element of visualization. A good column with a colorwoman is capable of alone, without using any additional equipment to become a heart of a full-fledged party.

In pursuit of consumer attention, some manufacturers equip portable audio systems with functions that initially did not have the slightest relationship. Today, for example, you can also purchase a portable column with karaoke – complete the microphone immediately comes with it, which can be connected via a specially dedicated connector. The question of the output of the text on the screen, as well as the search for the relevant files, everywhere is solved in different ways, but in most cases the lover’s singer will have to search for minus and learn words by heart or open the text on the same smartphone.

Finally, Many portable acoustics models, which, in their destination, should be used away from civilization, are manufactured additionally protected from negative environmental impacts. First of all, they are made by waterproof, but protection can be designed for interference with the penetration of dust and sand. Fashion Pych of Recent years are the so-called smart speakers operating from the Internet. They are still producing online giants, like Google or Yandex. The peculiarity is that the management of this technique is voice, and it takes the audio tracks from the streaming Internet signal. “Mental abilities” of equipment are not limited to this – it can, for example, read news or accept search queries and give answers to them.

With a voice assistant, you can even talk, and some answers will be useful or witty, although the ideal interlocutor technologies are still far.

Design

Autonomous columns may differ from each other not only by the characteristics of the main task, but also “appearance”. The case in most cases is either thick “pancake” (round, but not flat), or a volumetric oval or even an ellipse with rounded edges. There are no sharp corners with such equipment – due to this it becomes less traumatic, it is more convenient to transfer it, and it looks more stylish. In pursuit of consumer’s attention, some designers show an incomplete fantasy and make a hull in the form of imitation of precious stone, hourglass and so on.

Fully change the opinion of the user about the appearance of the column will help the presence of backlight. Light music is often equipped with even budget models, but then the switching light is not associated with the overflows of the melody – there are only conditional modes, such as fast and sharp flickering or a smooth transition of shades from one to another. Dear colorwoman acoustics can be much more “intellectual” – although the backlight is overflowing with random colors, the ripple is clearly adjusted to the rhythm and the speed of the track.

It is impossible to determine the perfect acoustics for all cases of life – someone needs the most small model to always be at hand, and someone is ready to carry it in the trunk, just a party was everywhere where you come. Similarly, requests for sound quality and additional functions, and purchasing power differs. That is why we chose several models – none of them is the best a priori, but they are all enjoying tremendous consumer demand.

  • JBL Flip 5. The manufacturer of this unit is the legislator of fashion in the world of portable columns, and it is it that the absolute majority of popular models belong to him, but we have chosen only one. This column is relatively inexpensive, since the main speaker, albeit the big one, is only one – she is loud, but does not provide stereo sound. On the other hand, its huge plus is the presence of 2 passive bass emitters, due to which the technique will be appreciated by low frequency lovers. Such equipment can be immersed under water on the meter – and it will still continue to work. The connection to the smartphone is provided by the modern USB Type C connector. Another feature is curious – you can connect to the smartphone 2 the same acoustics at the same time, and then they will work together, providing not just parallel playing, namely stereosvuk.

  • Sony SRS-XB10. And this is a representative of another very eminent manufacturer of technology, which in this case decided to surprise not so much functionality and quality as compactness. The device turned out to be very small – 9 by 7.5 at 7.5 cm – but at the same time it is not bad bass, if necessary and works without recharging 16 hours. And also not afraid of rain.

Highly loudly this column without distortion of sound Do not listen, but it costs it is amazingly little for your level.

  • Marshall Stockwell. This brand is much more specialized in a full-fledged concert equipment, and without his guitar amplifiers, there is little rock-star concert of the world scale. However, portable columns in the model range recently appeared, and they are beautiful in their own way. This model, for example, two-band – it has 2 speakers for low and high frequencies, which means that there will be no problems with the playing of all tones and full stereo sound. The powerful unit of 20 W has only one drawback – its creators did not take care of the protection at all.

  • HARMAN / KARDON GO + PLAY MINI. You may have never heard of this company, but it will be enough to say that it also owns the famous JBL and many other not recent names in the world of musical instrument. Two-band unit has a truly bombing capacity – 50 watts from the battery and up to 100 in the process of charging, which is unless wireless. Because of such deafening abilities, the device turned out quite large and inconvenient during transportation, but the sound quality is just amazing.

  • DOSS SOUNDBOX TOUCH. Our rating by demand models would be unturid if only columns from world-class manufacturers were included in it. Therefore, we included a sample from a little-known Chinese company, which and loose will be able to promote the brand. Expect outstanding characteristics from such an equipment – here and the power of “total” 12 watts, and the range begins only from 100 Hz and ends already at 18 kHz. Nevertheless, the battery product confidently pulls 12 hours of use, and for his money it is quite a practical purchase for music lovers.

How to choose?

Due to the fact that modern portable columns often have a much wider set of functions than ordinary speakers, the choice of such equipment may be quite a challenge. Besides, Do not forget that each additional node adversely affects the cost of the unit, and if the potential owner does not plan to use a certain function, then there is no point in overpaying for its availability. In this case, there are no minor parameters when choosing such equipment, and since then, consider all the characteristics.

The size

At first glance, nothing complicated – on the column and portable to be small and easy. The problem is that a really compact speaker a priori cannot be as powerful as the one that is several times more. Thoroughly invested in technology, the manufacturer can make a pocket emitter loud enough, but it will turn out either into the loss of sound quality, or in a significant increase in the model.

For this reason, the choice of choice sounds simply: the column will almost always be either small or loud and with good sound. Most buyers try to choose some kind of golden middle – it remains to understand where it is in your understanding.

Quality of sound

As mentioned above, the small column is almost always quieter and has a narrower frequency range than its larger “girlfriend”, but it is only a very general description of the characteristics of the sound. In fact, the parameters are much larger, and with not such a big difference in the size of the speakers due to the additional parameters to win can just be that smaller.

One of the main indicators when choosing a column – the total power of its speakers. A truly powerful unit is able to “scream” much stronger, and for him will not be difficult to “shout” any extraneous noise. For lovers of loud music or organizers of parties anywhere in nature, the power of the device is of fundamental importance, but its growth, like most other parameters, has the opposite side of the medal: a powerful unit intensively planting the battery. There are two options here: either agree to less powerful speakers, or immediately take a column with the capacious battery.

Of great importance also has a frequency range denoting, what height sounds are able to reproduce the speakers of acoustics. In most sources, the range that is heard by the human ear is indicated from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, But since each person is individual, these numbers may differ. In fact, the declated numbers can only issue the most expensive columns, but if the indicators are not very strong, it is not scary – all the same in the tracks, extreme values ​​are rare.

On the quality of the sound also affects the number of speakers and how many lanes in them. Of course, the more speakers, the better – stereo sounder is always more interesting, even if all emitters are located in one case, in close proximity to each other. As for the bands, they can be from one to three, and in their case the rule “is better” also applies. If in general terms, the same-band speaker is an adequate solution if you are not so much listening to music as silence, unobtrusive listening to the radio. Two and more bands are already the level that allows you to enjoy listening.

Control

Classic portable models are controlled exclusively with buttons on their own housing. Their number varies significantly depending on how many functions are provided by the developers. Each button is responsible for certain tasks. In recent years, voice-based speakers in popularity have become an alternative to. They sew the voice assistant from leading IT companies in the world, which recognizes the team of the owner, filed by the voice and performs them.

Such a technique is usually more functional than a simple column – it can “google”, voice text information, read for fairy tales or news.

Protection

Portable technique It is convenient to use even at home, but it is most fully revealed by its own abilities outside the premises. Such an aggregate some music lovers carry with them constantly on a telephone, and if so, it does not prevent a certain level of protection against strikes. For some models, even falling on asphalt from the height of human growth is non-critical – the operability of the column will continue. If you are confident that the technique will fall sooner or later, it is better to prepare for this in advance.

Another danger that lies on the street on the street is humidity. Leaving the house for a whole day, you can and do not assume that it is closer in the late afternoon it will start, and the acoustics will continue to hide. For moisture-proof equipment it will not be a problem. And she is well suited to take it, for example, to the ship.

Other parameters

From the fact that not mentioned above, the key characteristic is the battery capacity. In low-cost models, it does not shine, but in the segment of more expensive there are samples, in which the ratio of the battery capacity and the power of the speakers is such that the whole day can be enjoyed without recharging. Moreover, if some speakers, connecting to the smartphone by cable, pull the telephone battery charge, then acoustics with its own powerful battery can provide the opposite effect as if speaking as Powerbank.

It is also assumed to believe that the larger the methods of connection with a smartphone or tablet are provided, the better. It is understandable – the connector for the same mini USB with the phone only one, and with a wireless connection, you can not borrow it, leaving a cable leading to Powerbank. If the device is potentially connecting to different equipment, the variety of sources of the signal is welcome. According to the described logic, the pluses for audio colors are also considered to have a USB connector, a slot for a popular format memory cards and a built-in radio.

Modern models from among not the cheapest possess also interference protection, which is especially important in the conditions of a large city, where the ether is very polluted by foreign signals. Thanks to this opportunity, the owner gets a chance to caress his own hearing perfectly clean sound.

In the next video you will find a selection of the best portable columns.

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