In addition to its rugged build and big sound, it features built-in LEDs for a fun light show, and adjustable EQ so you can dial in your audio preferences. It also fills a gap between tiny and massive portable models, earning it an Editors’ Choice for outdoor speakers. The back of the speaker houses a covered compartment with connections for the included power adapter, a wall unit that terminates in USB-C. There’s also a 3.5mm aux input and a USB-A output for charging other devices with the SRS-XB43’s battery. Callahan’s baritone vocals receive some added low-mid richness as well, but benefit from a high-mid and high-frequency presence that keeps things crisp.
If there’s a complaint here, it’s that the scooped-out sound signature favors bass and treble over mids, and will not appeal to those looking for an accurate portrayal of the mix—but the EQ can tame the sculpting somewhat. Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, definitely get more bass depth than purists will be looking for, but the overall result is still a balanced, crisp sound with solid low-frequency anchoring.
Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8, we understood every word we recorded, and while there was a little bit of Bluetooth distortion around the edges, the mic signal was strong. The SRS-XB43’s excellent waterproof rating and powerful audio output are marks in its favor, and the LED lighting is a fun added bonus.
Sony SRS-XB43 4.0 Editors’ Choice See It $248.00 at Amazon MSRP $249.99 Pros Powerful audio performance with strong bass depth and sculpted highs Bulky The Bottom Line The Sony SRS-XB43 is a bass-forward Bluetooth speaker with an outdoor-friendly design, built-in LED lighting, and lots of power for the price.
Sony SRS-XB32 review
The newest offering comes in the form of the Sony SRS-XB32, which is packed with features ranging from high-quality Bluetooth codecs to strobe lights (seriously). Editor’s note: this Sony SRS-XB32 review was updated on April 14, 2021, to include a content menu, technical details, information about the mobile app, and more. If you’re a hardcore outdoorsy person who counts every gram, get the JBL Clip 3 or the UE WONDERBOOM 2. The SRS-XB32 is made of hard plastic with a rough fabric that covers the speaker grill and dynamic drivers.
A colorful LED strip lines the speaker, and you can control it via the Fiestable app. Enabling the “Party Booster” makes kick drums, snares, and cowbell sound just by tapping it to the beat. You can connect via the standard Bluetooth procedure, or by tapping your smartphone to it (so long as NFC is enabled). Sony claims a battery life of 24 hours of constant playback, but that’s only if you turn off all of the lights and Extra Bass mode.
All of those things are turned on by default, so I tested the battery life with everything enabled; Sony claims the speaker will last 14 hours under these conditions. Then again, it does have a real benefit: the bass emphasis makes it easier to hear music outdoors.
Lower notes tend to dissipate quicker into your surroundings if there’s a lot going on in your area, and that extra emphasis helps you hear them outside. Treble notes were similarly lacking in clarity with the cymbals and hi-hats in Generator ^ Second Floor by Freelance Whales.
Listen to the audio sample below and please rate it, doing so really helps our other readers understand how the microphone performs across a wide array of devices. Particularly if you like the idea of having a speaker that can party as you do when you go to the beach or to the pool this isn’t a bad option.
But if strong bass, flashing strobe lights, fun features, and a tough waterproof build is what you’re looking for then that person might be you.
Sony SRS-XB33 review
While lifestyle images on the company’s website show the Sony SRS-XB33 portable speaker set against white sands and sun-drenched swimming pools, its rugged exterior and waterproof features mean it should keep going in any weather – ideal for winters as well as summers, then. It’s dustproof, so sand, soil and dried mud are of little concern, and it has undergone extensive shock testing for knocks, bumps and scrapes, meaning you can drop it and it’ll keep working.
Those include some flashing lights – controlled via the Sony Music Center and Fiestable apps – which can also dance in sync with up to 99 other compatible wireless speakers thanks to Party Connect. You’ll notice the Extra Bass advertising, which nods to this speaker’s dual passive radiators, but it’s the main driver units that are most interesting.
Sony calls this its X-Balanced Speaker Unit, where non-circular diaphragms make for a maximised surface area, and an increase in sound pressure aims for punchier bass. Not that this Bluetooth speaker needs the extra help; we connect our smartphone (NFC is available) and immediately the party starts, the SRS-XB33 throwing its voice across the room with real energy and verve.
This might be a speaker built to shout across busy rooms and fill a space in the infinite outdoors, but we’d still appreciate a little greater subtlety and maturity that would hold our interest better when not in party mode ourselves. There are speakers around this price, such as the Audio Pro Addon C3, that combine expert rhythm and sensitive dynamics with striking richness and clarity, but these are only built to be portable in the sense they needn’t constantly be plugged in.
Customer Reviews: Sony SRS-XB33 Portable Waterproof & Rustproof Speaker with USB Charging Port Taupe SRSXB33/C
EXTRA BASS is the highlight of this speaker and also my Grand Kids favorite sound setting. This speaker reproduces the BT music choices from my cell phone into near CD quality. ** SOUND ENGINEERING – The Sony SRS-XB33 Portable BT Speaker has been totally redesigned to deliver live, breathing, extra bass.
The Sony engineers built two side passive radiators on either end of this speaker to enhance the richness of the delivered bass output. This speaker sits front-facing at an slight angle to project the Live Sound as a three dimensional experience to my ears. Sony uses its own proprietary DSP chip (Digital Signal Processing) to intensify the listening area of the speaker and improve the width and depth of the projected sound. It has two non-slip, extended supports, on its bottom, which give this speaker the angle it needs to project Live Sound and keep it stable too. This app allows me to enable DJ Control by customizing my music genres using Isolator, Notch, Noise, and Jet. I can also add Drums, Scratch, Audience, Voice (Cool Sayings), Phaser, Reggaehorn, and Rhythm by simply tapping or using my finger swirling around on a circle on the pad of my Smartphone when I enable DJ Controls.
Again, tapping or swirling my finger around on a circle on the pad of my Smartphone that appears when selecting this setting makes these fantastic party effects. My Grand Kids love to dance with their cell phones in hand and change the light show to the rhythm, beat, add DJ effects, or, anyway they choose using the Fiestable App. And, the illumination effects are only used when the Grand Kids come over at night for a dip in the pool, and to dance to the music on our deck.
This speaker would make a great gift to a young teen, family member, or friend, who enjoys spending time outdoors.
Customer Reviews: Sony EXTRA BASS Compact Portable Bluetooth Speaker Black SRSXB13/B
PROS: Excellent build quality, aesthetics, portable design, controls, battery life, multiway strap, and audio is crisp and clear for multimedia watching as you can easily hear what people are saying even at 2x speed. CONS: Despite the marketing boasting about EXTRA BASS it is very poor.
Sound quality for music is solid but can come across slightly tinny.
Voices are forefront, then instruments, and I would say that mids are the most pronounced followed closely by highs and bass being about equal. Mids and highs sound great and comes across as quite accurate with good texture and depth. I noticed a very mild amount of bloat but no congestion, muddiness, or brightness.
All sounds were very crisp, but especially spoken content which again makes it great for vocal centric songs and multimedia. For the most part sounds were natural but slightly processed, especially instruments.
When you first power it on, by just tapping the power button, the LED light above the power button will turn green, and then it will automatically go into pairing mode denoted by flashing blue LED’s over the Bluetooth button. Then you just go into your Bluetooth settings and select the XB13 and it will give a small chime telling you you’re connected. If you power, it on after it is connected to a device you will see the power LED illuminate, the bluetooth button will flash, and then you will hear a chime when it is connected. If you quick press it will go into pairing mode denoted by flashing blue LED’s.
It creates a good seal and has a rubber string, so it should be breaking easily. All I know is that my Sony SRS-SB43 can connect to the Sony App which gives you greater customizability and adjustable EQ but costs like a lot more and just figured with this being the SRS-SB13 that it would also work the same? The only “issue” and I use that term lightly here is that sometimes there is some mild delay between pressing a button it and fully registering on my phone. I can’t think of anything they could add to make it better outside of an adjustable EQ since people go crazy for those things.
Sony SRS-XB33 review
It might look quite unassuming but the Sony SRS-XB33 Bluetooth speaker packs a punch when it comes to audio performance and is a great addition to any party. It might look quite unassuming but the Sony SRS-XB33 Bluetooth speaker packs a punch when it comes to audio performance and is a great addition to any party. Under that fairly average exterior, this Bluetooth speaker comes with fun LED lighting and, more importantly, plenty of power when it comes to music playback. With surprisingly powerful low frequencies, you might be worried that it sounds a little too bassy at times and, well, you’d be right –but it’s a small issue for a portable speaker that costs $150 / £150 / AU$229 and is already available for less at third-party retailers. While audiophiles may be a little disappointed by the sound, those wanting to create a party atmosphere will adore what the Sony SRS-XB33 has to offer. As a party speaker primarily, the Sony SRS-XB33 lacks the finer features of a more home-focused speaker such as a microphone or voice assistant support, but that doesn’t feel like an issue, because Sony has focused on one core aim for this device – being the highlight of the party.
At the top of the speaker are sunken buttons for power, volume, Bluetooth pairing, and Live Sound. The only predictable downside here is that it means that orchestral pieces in particular can feel a little inaccurate at high volumes with trebles and mids not quite having the clarity we’d like. Sounding good while being able to withstand some damage, you certainly won’t have to worry about it struggling to keep up with your soirées. If you’re looking to buy a Bluetooth speaker, you may be able to save a lot of money over Black Friday – and the deals are already rolling in ahead of the big day.
Keep your eyes peeled for models from Ultimate Ears, JBL, and Anker, which are likely to be heavily discounted. More premium models like the Sonos Move should see some discounts too, but don’t expect enormous drops in price.
Rugged to a quite impressive degree for the price, the Sony SRS-XB33 is waterproof (IP67), rustproof, dustproof, saltwater resistant and shockproof up to 1.2m / 3.9ft. The buttons on the to of the speaker feature slightly recessed plastic symbols that are easy to feel around, although not entirely clear to see in reduced light conditions.
They dictate power, volume, Bluetooth pairing, the Live sound mode, and play and pause.
The Sony SRS-XB33 boasts a powerful sound, deep punchy bass, and decent clarity, and we can’t fault it too much.
It has dual passive radiators and the promise of Sony’s Extra Bass, which means the lowest frequencies are very much where the attention lies. Thanks to that, you don’t have to turn the volume up much to get punchy and bold bass that feels quite exciting depending on your chosen track. It does a fairly good job of maintaining clarity and clearness at higher volumes, which we certainly appreciated – though we’d like to hear a little more detail in the trebles. Bold rich bass means you can’t help but feel thrilled at what comes up next on your playlist, whether it’s The Weeknd’s Blinding Light or an old favorite like David Bowie’s Life on Mars.
In our time using it, we found that estimate plummets if you’re playing around extensively with the light show or you turn up the volume. During a party, we’d recommend making sure the speaker is fully charged or ideally plugged in, but it should still suit you reasonably well if you decide to take it hiking for a few days as hopefully, you won’t be scaring off wildlife with high volumes.
Alongside that is Fiestable which controls lighting effects and allows you to add DJ-style audio. It lacks any kind of smart speaker functionality, relying on your smartphone to cover that side of things if need be.
SRS-XB33 Reviews & Ratings
First Impressions: After removing it from the stylish packaging and reading through all the simple to understand and straightforward user guides – taking a closer look at it while charging the battery, my first impressions of its design, manufacture and workmanship was that it looks and feels Sleek, Durable, Compact & Modern and that it speaks of Quality. I think it is a brilliant idea to design this speaker with the added functionality of serving as a power source enabling Smartphone charging by means of a secondary USB Port. The ports are located in an easily accessible compartment in the back panel tightly covered by a rubber lid. Not only was I able to make this speaker part of my daily life by enjoying my music while exercising and training indoors & outside in the garden; shaving, bathing & taking showers in the bathroom; cooking and cleaning in the kitchen; doing chores in the house; washing my car and working in the garage; doing various bits of garden work and relaxing outdoors around the BBQ, but it is all still on the same initial charge!
Yes, of course I do take care of it according to the guidelines in the user guide and by applying common sense but it is good to know that this speaker was designed as being Waterproof, Dust Proof and Shockproof covering all the possible risks in the areas where I have used it to date. I can also see the benefit of connecting this speaker to my two other huge Sony EXTRA BASS Party Speakers and leave it in another room (let’s say the kitchen or toilet) enabling guests to still feel part of the party while getting food, a drink or freshening up… This mode adds a magical three dimensional sound effect quality to music which fills the room. The lighting patterns and colours can also be adjusted or customised using either of the Sony Music Center or Fiestable apps.
-Music Center app: After a quick and simple download and installation to your Smartphone this Sony app enables you to control the speaker unit functions remotely including accessing playlists, songs, lighting patterns and sound modes. At the time the music playback is seamlessly and automatically paused and the audio of either the call or the voice note enabled.
After two week this wireless speaker unit has become so entwined with my daily life that I would not be able to live without it or in other words if it was taken away I would definitely miss it!