Can Bluetooth Speakers Handle Heavy Music?

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Q I’ve been checking out the JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth speaker but had doubts regarding its performance with metal and other heavy types of music. Would the Charge 2’s limited bass hinder the sound quality of heavy music in any way? —Abhay Bajpai / via e-maill

A Yes, probably. When Sound & Vision reviewed the JBL Charge 2, Ken Pohlmann wrote: “The Charge 2 actually sounds quite nice. In fact, given its constraints, it’s a darn good speaker.” He added that the Charge 2’s dual passive radiators kicked in “extra doses of grunt.”

Given Ken’s comments, I’d venture that the JBL plays louder and has a fuller sound than many other compact Bluetooth speakers. As a metal fan, though, you need to keep things in perspective. The main benefit to rechargeable Bluetooth speakers like the Charge 2 is portability: You can tote them outdoors and stream Internet radio, podcasts, and music from your phone.

If you want an audio solution capable of reproducing dynamic, bass-heavy types of music like metal, rap, or EDM without the “constraints” Ken alluded to—primarily digital signal processing that prevents the Charge 2’s small drivers from distorting when pushed to high volumes—you should instead consider a regular pair of towers or satellite speakers-plus-subwoofer, along with a separate receiver or integrated amp to drive them.