Creative Sound Blaster Roar
Huge sounds from a small box.
In the automotive world, there is a saying that there is no replacement for displacement, which means to say the bigger the engine, the better. This saying is true to a certain extent with audio speakers too. Getting small, compact speakers to sound good is notoriously hard to do, which is why good-sounding portable wireless Bluetooth speakers are few and far between, which is why the new Creative Sound Blaster Roar is such a treat.
According to Creative, the Roar is the result of years of research with the goal of creating a true audiophile-grade single piece speaker system. To achieve this goal, the Roar comes with five drivers - two forward-facing drivers in charge of highs, an upwards-firing active bass unit in the middle that tackles mids and bass, and finally two side-firing radiators that handle bass. This setup allows it to effortlessly “fill” a room with sound.
The Roar is also shaped in a rectangular block to further widen its sound stage, with an additional benefit of keeping its center of gravity low. Even when the volume is cranked up and the drivers start to vibrate more violently, the entire speaker stays stable and does not move uncontrollably. Also important is that the Roar employs two amplifiers to ensure its drivers have sufficient power to operate efficiently even at high volumes.
Setting up the Roar was very easy. If you have an NFCenabled device, simply tap your device on the NFC logo on the speaker. You can also pair it manually with Bluetooth, or output music to the speaker via USB or the auxiliary jack.
Apart from functioning as a speaker, the Roar has a ton of other features. It has an in-built microphone that users can take calls with, plus a microSD card slot to read music from as well as record music and conversations to it. The speaker can also be used as a mobile battery bank to charge other devices.
In terms of audio performance, the Roar did not disappoint. The first thing that struck us was how loud it was despite its compact size, managing extreme volume levels with no signs of cracking or distortion. It also exhibited very good clarity and transparency, which was evident on our Buckethead test track Sail on Soothsayer. We heard similar performance with the strings on the Eagles classic, Hotel California. Vocals were well articulated and smooth, while bass was very deep, tight and well-controlled.
Our main gripe with it is its underperforming stereo separation, with little distinction between left and right channels. It also sounded too direct for our liking, though it is important to note that these problems plague nearly every speaker of this size and category.
All things considered, overall audio performance is exemplary for a speaker of its size and class. If you are in the market for a portable wireless Bluetooth speaker, regardless of your budget, it would be foolish not to at least consider the Sound Blaster Roar.
The Sound Blaster Roar can also function as a mobile battery bank, courtesy of a USB port on the rear.