Review: Monoprice Soundstage 3 portable Bluetooth speaker
This isn’t your everyday Bluetooth speaker.
Looking for a wireless Bluetooth speaker with a little more oomph than your average portable speaker? If so, there’s a lot to like about the Monoprice Soundstage 3, but it isn’t perfect.
The Monoprice Soundstage 3 is a “portable” Bluetooth speaker that breaks the norms of traditional Bluetooth speakers.
It’s a 10+ pound speaker with a 5″ woofer in the middle of a couple of one-inch tweeters. In other words, it’s a beast. You can find the Monoprice Soundstage 3 on the company’s website or Walmart for $249.99
I’ve been using the Soundstage 3 portable speaker for a little over a week now, and my eardrums aren’t very happy with me (mainly due to cranking the volume). So, let’s see what the speaker is all about.
Portable might be a bit of a stretch
So, when you think of a portable speaker, you likely don’t picture something like the Monoprice Soundstage 3. It’s more than a foot long, about seven inches tall, and six inches deep. And it weighs a little over 10 pounds.
But for its size, it’s relatively lightweight. And there’s a nice PU leather handle on the top that makes carrying it around a little easier.
It is a Bluetooth speaker fitted with Bluetooth 4.2 technology. Bluetooth 4.2 is considered legacy tech by now, and you can only be connected up to 32 feet away. This is a bit limiting, especially considering how loud this speaker can get.
While it is Bluetooth, the Soundstage 3 does have wired connection options. The back of the speaker includes a set of RCA inputs and a 3.5mm jack if you want a wired connection.
There’s also an output for a dedicated subwoofer in case you want to add a little bass to your experience. It comes with an AC power cable that you can use to either charge the battery or just power the speaker constantly. Finally, there’s a USB-A port that you can use to charge your phone.
The front of the speaker is a very simple design. There’s a 5.25″ aluminum concave woofer in the middle and a one-inch silk dome tweeter on either side of the woofer.
There are no grills, so you get a natural speaker look with the Soundstage 3. The design of the speaker is extremely simple and would fit well in just about any room, as long as it physically fits.
All of the speaker’s controls are on the top, making it pretty easy to adjust volume or input. The Pair button is also located in the same panel, making it easy to connect to devices wirelessly.
You also control the volume onboard with the two volume buttons. There’s also a battery level indicator to know when you need a fresh charge.
The battery itself lasts for up to 10 hours of listening at 50 percent volume. But the speaker gets pretty loud, and the battery life is much less when listening at higher volumes.
This part was a bit disappointing, as its impressive sound wanted to get loud, but it becomes too limited by the battery life.
One thing to note about the Soundstage 3 is that it is not designed to be an outdoor speaker. It would be perfectly fine to have it outside to listen to some tunes on a nice day, but there’s no waterproof or dustproof protection.
And Monoprice also warns users not to keep the Soundstage 3 in direct sunlight for too long. All of the speaker drivers are open, so there’s nothing stopping any debris from getting inside and messing up the speaker.
So how does this Bluetooth speaker sound?
So now on to the question that matters the most when looking at a speaker: How does it sound? The Soundstage 3 is a pretty hefty speaker, but does its sound back up its size?
The answer is definitely yes. Even though it’s an indoor speaker, the Soundstage 3 is incredibly loud, even at only half volume.
You’ll have no problem entertaining your entire house party or even jamming outside, as long as you keep the speaker safe from the elements.
And, as you’d imagine, there’s a lot more bass in the Soundstage 3 than you’d find in traditional, smaller Bluetooth speakers.
The bass is certainly the highlight of this speaker, but it also doesn’t take any clarity away from the mids and highs. The Soundstage 3 sounds clear and great, with no distortion at all up to around 80-85 percent volume.
At the highest volumes, you do start to notice some distortion as the bass begins to overpower other sounds. And there’s no app control or equalizer to tweak any of the sound settings for extra balance either.
That being said, 80 percent volume is still really loud, and all kinds of music sound great at that volume.
Whether it’s bassy hip-hop like 50 Cent or rock and roll with more highs like Led Zeppelin or Linkin Park (I’ve been back into Hybrid Theory a lot lately, and you’re almost required to listen to that album at high volume), the Soundstage 3 sounds great.
Should you buy the Soundstage 3 Bluetooth speaker?
The Monoprice Soundstage 3 straddles the line of what you could consider a portable speaker. It more resembles the old-school boomboxes from the 80s and 90s than it does a portable speaker from today.
That being said, it’s much louder and more powerful than your average Bluetooth speaker. The 5.25″ woofer complimenting the two 1″ tweeters provides powerful, dynamic sound that sounds great with little to no distortion, even at higher volumes.
The Soundstage 3 is best compared to competitors like the Marshall Stanmore III Bluetooth, which is a bit more expensive at $380. And it requires a constant power connection to work.
There’s also the Soundboks Go if you’re looking for an outdoor speaker that’s extra loud. But this one will really dig deep into your wallet, costing $699 on Amazon.
But the easiest comparison would be to Monoprice’s other Soundstage 3 120-watt version. The 120-watt version of the Soundstage 3 is more powerful with 120 Watts of total power and even cheaper than the Soundstage 3 Bluetooth at just $119.99.
But the 120 requires constant power at all times to work. The big win with the Soundstage 3 Bluetooth is its completely wireless experience.
If you’re looking for a “portable” speaker that brings a little more power and volume to the table than your average wireless Bluetooth speaker, then the Soundstage 3 is a great option.
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