I practically live on my MacBook Pro. All of my Gear Diary posts are done using it, most all of my internet browsing and I even use it full time at work instead of my supplied Windows machine. Some would say I love this computer since it is with me everywhere I go. There is one problem with the MacBook Pro. The speaker is terrible! It is too small and provides thin, weak audio quality. The machine is so beautiful, it is a shame that the audio quality is so poor. I have tried several options to improve the audio, all of which are not exactly mobile. As luck would have it, the folks at JLab allowed me to check out the b-Flex X-Bass USB laptop speaker. Read on to see how it performed.
The X-Bass is the latest update the JLab’s b-Flex speaker line. The X-Bass is a compact USB speaker on a flex cable designed to provide amazing audio without the use of wires or batteries. The speaker is designed for portability and performance sporting two amplifiers and two drivers to provide a much improved audio experience. The speaker housing is located on a flex cable to allow easy positioning when installed in any USB port and a removable kickstand to ensure it stays in place. Extra bass is provided through an integrated passive subwoofer and the full range sound is achieved with two one watt digital amps and two high output micro drivers. Using the X-Bass is as simple as plugging into a USB port and is compatible with both Mac and Windows machines. If the speaker does not immediately work, check the audio settings and make sure the USB device is checked as the output.
Using the X-Bass is absolutely simple. I plugged it into my MacBook and the blue power indicator light immediately turned on with the booming sound. I bent the flex cable into place and positioned the kickstand to assist in holding up the speaker. From package to sound took literally seconds. The speaker is attractive when attached to the computer. I like the stylish lines and glossy black finish. The speaker is surprisingly heavy and rugged. In fact, I was quit surprised when I picked up the X-Bass at how much heft it had. It truly feels like a quality product.
My biggest beef with my MacBook Pro is the sound quality of the speaker and the X-Bass does not disappoint. Using MOG, I tried the X-Bass out with a variety of music genres. For country, I listened to my favorite Randy Rogers song: Lost And Found. In case you were wondering, I do not listen to mainstream country, so used Texas Music for testing. The intro guitar part was crisp and full and Randy’s voice sounded just like it does live through the speakers. Country music sounds awesome! For Rock, I chose Possum Kingdom by the Toadies. Amazing song, by the way. The toadies sound fantastic on the speaker with crisp highs and gritty guitars. The signature beat of the song kicks you thought the passive subwoofer and I had no distortion problems at high volumes. Bruno Mars song, It Will Rain, is not my cup of tea, but proved that Pop Music also sounds great not the X-Bass. The song was full and crisp with a big speaker sound. The big test for the bass was with Notorious B.I.G. Hypnotize (parental advisory lyrics). I picked this song because I love it, but also the bass line is complex. The speaker handled it with ease. In fact, the top of the unit houses the subwoofer and it was jumping pretty heavily delivering amazingly deep bass the entire song.
In a nutshell, the b-Flex X-Bass USB speaker delivers regardless of audio source. Watch movies, listen to podcasts and listen to any genre of music with the full sound they deserve to be heard with. The unit is small enough to slip into a laptop bag and travel anywhere the computer goes. There is no need for batteries, charging or wires. Simply plug into any USB port and let your sound be transformed. The speaker has a permanent spot in my laptop backpack. It literally takes seconds to connect and is compact so it won’t cramp your space or style. If you are less than impressed with your built-in laptop speakers, I highly recommend giving the b-Flex X-Bass a look.
What I like: Big sound through a small device that is completely portable.
What can be improved: I want one of these that plugs into the bottom of my iPhone!!!