Being a signed music producer I was really curious about this unit. It promised a lot, looked cool and if it worked, might really help get my mix-downs sounding tight; get a track sounding good on weak speakers, it sounds good anywhere. So... could the Rokono Bass really growl or was it just another myth?
Well let's run through the basics first: The unit comes with a built-in 3.5mm jack input. It has a potent 40mm driver powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which (according to the instructions) gives you around 10 hrs playback. Along with the speaker, you get a set of simple instructions (which you won't need) and a USB lead to charge the unit with.
The item itself consists (obviously) of the speaker on which you'll find an on/off switch, an LED (which glows blue when the speaker is switched on and red when it's being charged), a volume dial, an audio output (used, rather cooly, for daisy chaining multiple speakers together for an even bigger sound!) and 3.5mm jack to connect the unit to your music player.
Arriving in a nice quality see-through perspex box, the speaker immediately creates a good impression and things only get better when you take it out of the packaging. The unit itself is sturdy and well made, but that's the least of it because there are two things about the Monster Bass mini speaker that really rock: the cool design and clear sound.
The first obvious evidence of the thought that has gone into the design of this thing is the input jack. No longer than 3 inches in length, when not in use, it coils cleverly and neatly around the base of the unit and clips away, out of site, between 3 little rubber feet on the bottom of the unit. And worry not, if 3 inches between your speaker and you ipod isn't enough, the USB lead doubles as an extension lead so you can connect your speaker to you player and place it further away.
They got everything about this speaker spot-on. The looks and feel are just right, with a deep red bass-cone hidden behind a black grill and body which has a lovely texture to it. The best thing of all though (beside the quality of sound this thing produces) is the way you access the deep bass.
Give the body a a quick twist and the compact, spring loaded, circular body pops upwards to reveal the powerful driver behind its sound... it looks cool both when the speaker pops up and when it's in the open position sitting on your desk; it feels cool too, because when you're done listening, to close the unit, you give it a gentle squeeze and it clicks closed again. The amount of resistance feels just right and adds to the quality feel of the item.
So that's that - but what does the unit sound like then?: Well, the simple answer is, great. I mean really, really great. And not just for a speaker of this size. I listened to some Aphex Twin, some Bjørk, DJ DSL, Freddie Crügger, Tombee, a bit of Luke Vibert, Danny Breaks, Aim, RJD2, and some Declaime, Leftfield, Akbar and rounded things of with The Roots. All of them gave impressive results.
The low end was deep and defined and the mid-range tight and punchy. The high-frequencies did, perhaps lack a little sparkle, but I'm comparing these now to a pair of hi-fi speakers - they're that good. You could even clearly hear the reverb on the snares drums and other effects with ease. I was quite simply staggered by the quality and crispness of the sound they produced. Everything sounded nice and rounded, with no range of frequency bands causing any problems.
And they're not only detailed but loud too. And best of all, distortion free. I plugged these into my Apple Mac, and turned everything right up and experienced no distortion at all, yet the sound was easily enough to fill my office. They're won't do for a house party, but I'd say they sounds equivalent to having a ghetto-blaster on at a comfortabke listening level. There's definitely enough sound here for a hotel room or sitting round a camp fire with friends.
To sum up, I think this is a brilliant little bit of kit. It has far exceeded my expectations and I think, for the money, it is phenomenal. It looks great, sounds great and is brilliantly designed. I'd have loved to have one of these as a teenager on school trips, down the park or on holidays abroad with mum.
I'd have to point out that I was given my Rokono Bass unit free of charge for review purposes. I'm not a professional reviewer nor was I contacted directly, but a few of these units were offered up for review in one of the internet forums here on Amazon. The manufacturers, Gadget Hunter, asked if anybody would like to review their product and I, being a producer, got in touch and said, yes.
I'm so glad I did, because I'm amazed by this great little unit. I really wasn't sure what to expect as, over the years, I've had several sets of portable speakers - ranging from huge square things for my Sony Walkman in the late 80s, to the more modern variety, manufactured for MP3 playing mobile phones when they first appeared on the scene.
However, I'd virtually given up on ever finding a descent pair of speakers for my personal music player that actually sounded any good (the results where always either quiet, tinny or distorted) but at long last someone has designed a portable speaker system for your portable music player that works. It's clear, detailed and as the name suggested packs some truly big bass for its size.
There's not much more I can add, so I'm going to end on a quick speaker related pun and say that the sound of this portable little speaker will blow you away. It's a portable party in your pocket and I Highly recommend you buy one - especially at this price.