The Right Speakers for Every Occasion
Below you will find my suggestions and recommendations to help you find the right speaker to fit your lifestyle. Whether you need a small bluetooth speaker to take on that camping trip or festival, or you are looking to start that home theater room, we've got you covered.
Clearon Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
First up we have this compact Clearon Waterproof Bluetooth speaker. I originally bought this speaker for use on my Super 73 for music and the built in horn. I quickly found many more uses for such a small, portable, and waterproof speaker. For instance, this was a great addition to the beach bag. This speaker is loud and clear for such a small size, but not overwhelming and obnoxious in the middle of a crowded park on a hot day. I was surprised at the low frequency performance, and the max volume without distorting.
Another unexpected feature of this speaker is that it fits in the cupholder on my kayak! Having music on the water immediately transformed my Friday night paddling, into kayak happy hour! Being waterproof I don’t have to worry about out on the water. It also has a great battery life, allowing for up to 15 hours of music streamed from my phone.
It comes with an easy to install bike mount, with an external controller. The included cable is long enough to mount the speaker anywhere on the bike and still make it to the handlebars. The controller itself is mounted using an included velcro strap. There are also zip ties included for cable management.
The speaker pairs quickly with my phone and stays connected without issue. It also plays FM radio, and can play music from a micro SD card. The controller works with the SD card, and most streaming services.
Overall this is a great purchase for the money. Small, yet totally capable for those trips where you need a small, lightweight speaker. It’s on Amazon for $55, it has been on sale in the past for $50. You can be alerted to these sales and see price history using a browser plugin like Honey. Use this affiliate link to get Gold. joinhoney.com/ref/s8hsw1v
JBL Pulse 4
My girlfriend purchased this speaker for the house. She loves the larger speakers in the house, but wanted something that she could take with her on short car trips and girl’s weekends.
The sound quality is great for the size, with amazing low end capabilities. It’s waterproof and is perhaps the coolest looking bluetooth speaker available. It has a variety of bright, pre-programmed light shows that react to the music. It’s great for enhancing any party vibe.
We find ourselves using this speaker when we have more travel capacity than the Clearon, but won’t have the ability to plug into the wall. Camping trips, campfires, picnics, and any other outdoor activities close to the house or car are ideal.
One of the coolest features of these speakers is that they can be paired together. Pairing two speakers allows for stereo sound from one source. You can also pair multiple speakers to form a party chain and increase the volume even further. Combine this incredible feature with the 360 degree light show and you’ve got a great start to an outdoor party.
The Pulse 4 is a bit on the heavy side making it impractical for backpacking, kayaking, or hike in camping. The speaker on the bottom seems a bit ‘exposed’ to me. I haven’t had any issues with it breaking or tearing, but it seems like a weak point in the design. It comes with a case to mitigate that issue while traveling.
The JBL Pulse 4 with travel case retails on Amazon for $250 and Honey has no lower prices as of the time this article was written.
This leads us to one of my favorite, and most used purchases in the last decade. I bought one of these speakers in a pinch. I was housesitting for my parents and there was not a single device at their house that had bluetooth capability. I saw this at Best Buy and was immediately sold. It sounds amazing. Truely house shaking bass and crystal clear high end frequencies.
A couple of years later I decided that I needed to buy an additional speaker to get stereo sound, and even louder music. This speaker also has the capability of forming a party chain with multiple speakers linked together.
Each speaker has color changing, music reactive lights and a couple of additional strobe lights. There are 2 modes available for the lights including ‘Rave’ and ‘Chill’. The strobes flash obnoxiously more in rave mode. While the colors fade into each other slowly, and change brightness with the music in chill mode.
Practically, I have one of these speakers in the living room on the main level of the house. It’s plenty loud enough to fill the house with sound, and shake the house with bass for those bangers. The second speaker I keep near the shower. It’s great for those Friday after work shower dance parties, and relaxing baths. I have even taken these speakers on a few weekend trips to larger AirBnBs and bachelor parties. They draw a lot of attention and people really seem to enjoy them.
This speaker is on Amazon for about $350, just $100 dollars more than the JBL. Honey has the lowest price at $244. So keep an eye out for sales. There is a newer version of this speaker available as well, so be sure to check that out if you are interested in having the newest, sleekest design. There is also a smaller version available that resembles a ‘bookshelf’ speaker size, but has many of the same features.
There is now a version of this speaker available with a battery called the GTX-XB90. Not having a battery was the only downside to the older model. The version of this speaker that I have requires that each speaker must be plugged into an outlet. They are quite heavy at 20 lbs. Making them relatively easy to move, but not exactly portable. I really don’t have anything bad to say about these speakers. They are incredible on their own, and even better together. I highly recommend this speaker to anyone who’s looking to up their sound quality or looking for a good self contained sound system to take on trips or to festivals.
Bose 2.1 Computer Speakers
This is an honorable mention for one of the workhorses in the house. I use a bose Companion 5 system as my main computer speaker system. They have great directional sound, deep bass, and clear highs. Making these amazing little speakers for my ‘battlestation’ computer setup where I spend a vast majority of my time (in quarantine times).
I was unable to find the exact system for sale on Amazon, but there were a few used and like new available elsewhere. I am certainly not advocating that you go out and find a vintage set of computer speakers, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a comparable Bose system with a subwoofer. This would be a huge deal breaker for me, and I would find an alternative brand that offers a sub. Amazon’s choice right now is a Klipsch 2.1 system for only $116. https://amzn.to/39q44Vk
I think Bose is really good for this application. Someone once told me that Bose really helped to push the speaker box technology forward. Which would mean that smaller home theatre applications should be ideal. Whatever the reason, I really like these speakers. I have had them for a very long time and they never disappoint.
Klipsch Tower Speakers w/ Yamaha receiver
Speakers x 2: https://amzn.to/39sF53H
For the ultimate sound experience, you are going to want to invest in a dedicated receiver, and as many speakers as your little heart desires. The brain of any surround sound system is the receiver. This is where you connect all your devices and this is what tells your speakers what to play, and how loud to play it.
I am not ashamed to admit that I had some brand bias when purchasing this system. I have always wanted a Yamaha receiver with Klipsch speakers (and those sweet, sweet, brass cones). I’m not sure where the obsession started, but I know I day dreamed about it more than a few times while living in apartments and condos. Unable to play loud music. When I finally got a proper man cave, the decision was pretty easy. This type of system is the ideal way to listen to music.
There are many other places where you can learn to build the perfect home theatre, but here is what I did. Start with a good receiver and a 2.1 system (2 speakers and a subwoofer). For most people, and most spaces, this will be plenty. However, if you upgrade to a larger room, or want to go to a surround sound, or even a Bose Atmos system, you can pretty much add as many speakers as you can fit in the room. This ‘scaling’ ability makes this a good choice for anyone who has limited funds, but wants the ability to grow their system over time.
I plan to add a center channel, and a couple of rear speakers in the near future. I have been using this system for about 3 years now and I can not express how happy it makes me. I have a fairly small space and these two speakers are a bit overkill, but I have no regrets, and can’t wait to get more.
The ‘starter’ system listed above is what I would consider mid range. There are a few cheaper within the same brands, and many much more expensive options. If you’re looking to do something specific such as an atmos system, or 7.1 system, you may want to look into some of the more expensive, higher technology receivers. This system all together will set you back $1000- $1200, depending on the timing and sales. It’s definitely an investment, but it also offers unbeatable sound quality.
So there you have it! I hope this article has help you figure out what types of speakers are available and helped you decide your next purchase. Let me know in the comments below what I missed! Or if you have a favorite speaker that I should check out next!