JBL Brought a Party Speaker to an Audio Show

Large, powered, wireless party speakers have been around for some time, but 2023 marked the first year I truly took notice. I recently reviewed a Sony party speaker, and this year seems to indeed be the year of the party speaker. At Audio Advice Live in Raleigh, North Carolina, I entered a room in the Sheraton and instead of the typical two-channel high-end system or home theater setups, what I found was a dance floor just waiting for a party to get started. This included disco lights, a DJ rig, and a pair of full-size JBL PartyBox 710 speakers handling the PA duties. The setup sounded excellent for what it is.

The system on display could seamlessly operate with just an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone, using Bluetooth connections. However, during this presentation, it was connected to a DJ mixer. This highlighted JBL's unique approach to the event, featuring the PartyBox 710 portable Bluetooth speaker. Priced at $800, it offers a true wireless stereo Bluetooth connection and is even compatible with speaker stands for elevation.

Users have the option to run it without an external power source, but it can also be plugged in if needed. The embedded 72-watt-hour battery can last up to 18 hours, and charging it fully takes a maximum of three and a half hours.

Key features of the Partybox 710 include Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.5 millimeter auxiliary input, and a USB port for music streaming from a thumb drive. Additionally, it has a karaoke function, sound effects tailored for events like soccer games, and synchronized light shows. The control panel is backlit for easy nighttime use, negating the need for an external light source. With IPX4 splash-proof protection, it’s safe for poolside use, though not for immersion.

Portability is enhanced with a telescopic handle and what JBL describes as "smooth-glide wheels." Given its substantial size and weight, these mobility features are essential. Its dimensions are 14.5 inches by 12.8 inches by 27 inches, and it has a frequency response ranging from 45 hertz to 20 kilohertz, with a power output of 240 watts RMS.

To see all the gear JBL stuffed into this room, click here.

The Interview
I just had to ask what inspired this room, here's Anthony Aniano from JBL had to say.

Mark: "Have you guys ever shown a party speaker at an audio show like this?"

Anthony: "I don't think JBL has. We haven't done many shows like this. A high-end audio show, I'd say. I've never seen it. Marketing stuff for our own marketing. CES, usually it's a luxury team. When we got invited to the show, we thought we should show our soundbars. Soundbars, you're going to get lost. I did this in my garage for New Year's. I had a 710 and set up my little DJ thing.

"I told my boss I could bring my smoke machine and blinky lights. Why don't we do a PartyBox, something different? They said, great idea, go for it. Let's see how people react. That's what this is. I'm showing that you don't need thousands of dollars. You just need a $200 mixer, a laptop, and a party speaker. You've got an instant DJ party at your house. I got these lights from Amazon for 20 bucks each. The smoke machine cost me $50.

Mark: "Which speakers are you using right now?"

Anthony: "These are the JBL 710s, PartyBox 710s. We're also showing the party box 310."

Mark: "Are you connecting to them with Bluetooth or with a cable?"

Anthony: "You can connect with Bluetooth. My DJ set up uses an RCA to auxiliary input. There's an aux jack in the back of all the speakers. I use a cable to connect the two party box 710s. There's TWS, true wireless syncing, but there's a delay when mixing."

Mark: "Right, if you're using it for DJs, wire it up."

Anthony: "You can pair multiple speakers together in the top of the range or really with any of them. It must be the same speaker model to pair them currently.

"The category started a few years ago. In the last three years, we've become at least half, if not 60%, of the global market share in this category.

"The category is huge. Other manufacturers can find space. We can't get enough of this product. People enjoy it. You're not supposed to have fun, apparently, but we're going against that. Big audio is where it's at. People have been using earbuds for the last 10 years and missing out on experiential audio."