Manufacturer & Model
Monster Blaster 3.0
MSRP
MSRP $349.99, Currently $174.99
Link
https://amzn.to/3t79Esn
Highlights
Durable build quality, capable of reaching reasonably loud levels, easy set-up, portable, Aux-In and microphone jacks.
Summary
The Monster Blaster 3.0 is a Bluetooth speaker that's designed to be easy to use and portable. We put the speaker through a thorough evaluation that included taking a closer look at its two EQ presets. What we found is a peppy speaker that delivers exactly what you'd want from a reasonably priced portable design.
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Having been on the market for over a year, Monster’s Blaster 3.0 isn’t a new kid on the block, but it’s not exactly old hat either. Today, we’re taking a closer look at a boombox-style wireless speaker with a familiar brand name and plenty of modern flair. To spice things up, this portable party-pounder can be found for under $200 (currently $174 on Amazon), which is well south of its $340 MSRP.


What Is It?
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The Blaster 3.0 arrives in a multicolor box plastered with shiny hi-res images of the speaker and bold marketing messages. Inside the box, you’ll find the speaker secured by form-fitting foam, along with a power adapter/charging cord and an instruction manual. It's basic and no frills, giving you a glimpse of the speaker’s plug-and-play nature.

Monster offers the Blaster 3.0 in three different colors: Red, Black, and White. Our review sample came in black, and while less flashy than the other options, it still has appointments like glossy red security screws that help the speaker’s visual aesthetic pop. Of course, the overall physical design is edgy on its own, and its materials – durable-looking plastics and a wrap-around metal speaker grill – appear to be of good quality.

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The speaker’s IPX5 water rating means it's generally rain and splashproof, which is a bonus since this speaker begs for outdoor use. There’s a handle to help you lug it from place to place. However, I found myself wanting to hold the handle, which is flat, like a bicycle grip, which caused its hard edges to dig into my hand – not the most comfortable design. Of course, if you want to carry this 13-pound Boombox-inspired speaker properly, it will spend most of its time perched on your shoulder – you know, old-school style.

Design
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Controls and physical inputs are located on either end of the Blaster 3.0. One side has a rubber flap that peels back to reveal the main power port, a USB port, two mini-stereo jacks for Aux and a sing-a-long microphone, and a tiny pinprick hole for factory reset. The other has a rubber surface with four soft-touch buttons and an array of LED indicator lights. Using the buttons, you can turn the speaker on and off, adjust the volume, and switch playback modes between Indoor and Outdoor. The lights convey basic information such as power, Bluetooth status, and volume level.

The onboard USB-A port provides access to the speaker’s 5,200 mAh battery for charging external devices – a nice little perk that will keep your phone happy in the outdoors. The battery is generously rated at 12 hours of continuous play and can be circumvented by plugging in the speaker. In general, you'll need to give the battery about three hours of plug-in time to reach a full charge, and the resulting battery life is dependent on how loud you play the speaker. In general, it has enough juice to enjoy a fun afternoon outside.

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The Blaster 3.0 houses five drivers and two passive radiators for sonic duties. The bass section comprises a 60-watt down-firing driver flanked by rectangular passive radiators – rubber feet underneath keep the speaker slightly elevated and eliminate surface vibrations. Mids and highs are crossed over to four 15-watt drivers, two positioned on either side of the speaker. In other words, there’s no true front. Instead, sound emanates from both sides, making it an excellent option for filling an outdoor space with tunes. Conversely, it doesn’t make the speaker a great candidate for duty when it’s placed close to a wall; I thought the speaker sounded best when pulled away from walls or crammed in a corner. Yes, you can use it indoors, but this one shines best when given room to breathe.


EQ Preset Modes
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While Monster doesn’t provide an App for fine-tuning output, it does give you two EQ presets: Indoor and Outdoor. According to a few cursory, in-room measurements using Room EQ Wizard and a UMIK-1 mic, the speaker can produce usable bass down to 40Hz, which lends to a decently punchy low-end. Changing the EQ preset from Indoor to Outdoor doesn’t impact output below 60Hz, but it does appear to increase output by about 3dB between 70Hz and 4kHz, roughly speaking, for a more robust mid-range sound. That translates into a slightly more pronounced and forward-sounding presentation – it just has more pop. The difference isn’t significant, but I found the Outdoor setting more pleasing to the ear, so I left it in that mode during testing.


Set-Up
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The Blaster 3.0 is practically ready to play out of the box. Android users can use NFC to tap and pair from a phone, while others can pair their devices through typical Bluetooth settings. The speaker plays catchy guitar riffs upon power on and when connections are made, which is a nice touch, and switching between Bluetooth and Aux happens magically when a mini-stereo jack is sensed in the Aux port.

Much like nearly every other Bluetooth speaker on the market, you can control volume through a connected device or by manually increasing or decreasing volume using the speaker’s onboard controls.

Simple enough? It certainly gets my approval.


Sound Quality
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The Monster Blaster 3.0 has enough punch to play relatively loud but starts to crack when pushed to its extreme volume limits. On the low end, the speaker has presence, but not as much as I’d hoped to hear. To its benefit, it's not lacking. So, you can expect your favorite tunes to have a nice layer of warmth. And more aggressive genres like rap (think Dr. Dre’s beat-heavy album 2001) and techno (I listened to tracks from Deadmau5) aren’t missing much in the lower regions of their bass-heavy natures.

The speaker also has sparkle on the high-end, keeping tracks lively and defined.

I found middle-of-the-road volume levels to have plenty of power to fill an outdoor space with music, and the speaker’s bi-directionality allows it to keep the sound full and engaging in multiple directions, which is a big selling point. That said, a definite volume cap exists well below what the speaker’s LED lights indicate as “full volume.” If you push it too hard, the speaker’s sonic presence loses its shine and sounds unpleasant. The good news is you don’t need to take the speaker there to get loud output.

With a name like Blaster 3.0, I thought the speaker would present like a bass maven. And while it doesn't have nuclear-powered bass, I didn't find myself disappointed. Frankly, the speaker outperformed my pre-review expectations on all fronts.


The Wrap
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The Monster Blaster 3.0 is a great buy at its current price, mainly because the speaker gives you precisely what it’s designed to do: fun tunes on the go. Is it designed for critical listening? No. But, let’s be honest, you wouldn’t expect something named “Blaster 3.0” to give you audiophile vibes.

This speaker is an on-the-go, made-to-be-abused product that you can set on the kitchen counter or toss in the trunk for a camping trip. And it's super easy to use – I love what Monster’s done to make it plug-and-play from the box. So, if you’re looking for portable versatility that can rock the party, I’d say the Blaster 3.0 is worth its current $174 price tag.



Monster Blaster 3.0 Bluetooth Speaker Specifications
  • Wireless Bluetooth Streaming
  • Power Rating: 120 Watts of Power
  • Bass Section: 60-Watt-Powered Woofer, Dual Passive Radiators
  • Environment EQ Mode: Two Presets for Indoor and Outdoor Use
  • Water-resistant: IPX5
  • Rechargeable Battery: Up to 12 Hours
  • Connectivity: Aux, Microphone
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Sonnie

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I remember back in the day when we used to take the boombox out on the beach or out by the pool (don't go to the beach and don't have a pool any longer). We'd tune to our favorite FM station... and sometimes, we'd have a cassette deck. I remember listening to the football games on Saturday because we weren't on TV every weekend back then. They were handy, for sure.

We've come a long way with these Bluetooth speakers and phones to tune in basically anything we want to hear nowadays. Our favorite radio stations are online, Tidal, iTunes, qobuz, Spotify, SiriusXM, and so much more. Not only are the choices endless... the sound quality is better. I can't say I have a need for one, but for those that do, there a lot of nice options and this appears to be one.
 
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