24/02/2014 | by Mike Brindley
We decided to take what looks like a pause in the drop of European temperature to give you a little ‘back to summer feel’ with this week’s product: an amazing Bluetooth speaker from House of Marley.
Honestly, we all love a bit of tech in our music world, don’t we? We also like a bit of power. And honestly, I personally never experienced such a powerful, clear sound, from a simple speaker. Although this Bag of Riddim is quite bulky – 60 x 25cm and about 7kg – it’s still very transportable, and have been designed for that purpose. Actually, carrying it around is a bit like being a tech hippie with his digital bongos. But it’s definitely not that ‘simple’, and rather a high tech piece of equipment in fact. The sound of this bad boy will blow you away, literally. But let’s look at it in details.
The very nice wooden front face where the magic happens has been beautifully designed around a three-circle theme, with two 1-inch tweeters resting inside huge 4.5-inch woofers off to the left and right sides, all behind black grilles with silver edges. In the center is a third circle, with an intriguing set of concentric rings holding four capacitive control buttons and two ports. House of Marley situates concave power, volume, and Bluetooth pairing buttons around the top of the ring, with rubber-capped USB and aux-in ports below them. The whole interface is pretty slick, whether you want to use it with or without the bag around it.
At this point, something strikes me: no rechargeable battery. Instead you’re supposed to feed it with six D cells to use the unit outside your home. That’s where you think that this beauty was in fact designed for more of a domestic use, with a ‘traveller’ touch to it. Indeed, unless you want to improvise a beach party with 100 guests, you most likely never will need that kind of power for your barbecue party.
Bag of Riddim makes up for that in-house rechargeable battery omission with its sonic performance, which is entirely enjoyable at near-field listening levels but particularly impressive at very high volumes. The sonic warmth is no surprise given the large woofers inside, the bass is actually quite nicely controlled, without bloat or unpleasant distortion regardless of the volume level. And the trebles and mediums are what you would call just right. As the volume goes up, the bass continues to improve in power, generating just enough sub-sonic energy to feel like thump.
The Bluetooth system as well works very smoothly, just maybe a tiny ‘clic’ when changing track is the files are very big. But for most if it, you won’t notice it.
If you’re looking for a powerful, large speaker system with a handsome chassis, rich bass, and strong high-volume performance, Bag of Riddim is certainly worth considering; by $300 wireless speaker standards, you can cover your wildest sonic fantasies and even enjoy an original design at the same time!
On top of all this, The House of Marley has got an eco conscience and all their products are sustainably crafted from earth-friendly materials. They are also snowboard friendly and have now a real snowboarde team headed by mister John Jackson – could they possibly think of a better ambassador?? Marley products also support 1Love, the Marley family charitable organization. This global movement is dedicated to supporting youth, planet and peace. To find out more about 1Love, please visit their website at 1love.org.
Product Plus: Incredible sound performance, great sound balance, easy to use, nice design.
Product Minus: Maybe not so portable, lack of rechargeable battery.