on February 23, 2013
Sound matters to me. I have currently at least 4 or 5 what I call "portable sound bars" that you can throw in laptop backpack or take on a trip to make my iphone/ipod sound louder than the built in speaker.
Point is, most of them sound like a bigger version of the iphone speaker.. small, thin sound, no bass etc..Uggh..
I was hesitant to buy for the money, but with Amazon returns, I was less worried.
IN Summary- This product is 99% the best portable and small speaker system I have ever heard. I have mixed music and television in Nashville for 21 years. I have 3K studio monitors in my protools studio. So trust me here is why you want to buy this.
1. NO EQ- Does not matter, this has the most unbelievable bass punch (Not overboard smothering like Bose) and yet smooth mids, and not the ear bleeding Highs in the 2-6k that some cheap speakers boost to make perceived loudness.
2. Both bluetooth and traditional input cable- HAs you covered for any device
3. Rechargeable Battery life- Follow instructions when charging - But I love being able to take this out on a deck party or wherever, 5-6 hours is decent and then recharge- you dont need a wheelbarrow of AA's that last 2 hours.
4.It's weight does prove that there is some girth thus the bass, but I can still put it in my laptop bag and fill a room with the sound-
CRAZY that this speaker can play this much sound. Do not hesitate to buy, you will forget about the price after the first day you spend with it! The 1% of CON- every once in awhile, the blue tooth loses connection and I have to reboot everything- the iphone (remove device pairing, reset the speaker etc..) I believe this is an solveable area with a firmware upgrade to the speaker.
on July 26, 2014
At last...the portable speaker I've been searching for! The TDK A33 produces the depth, weight, fullness, definition and dimensionality of sound that is missing in most of the portable speakers I've heard, and I've listened to/owned quite a few. Although this speaker comes with some known/potential issues, I rate it at 5 stars on sound quality alone.
Other consumers have expressed some concern over the A33's internal battery. If the battery tends to die and will no longer hold a charge after a relatively short time of usage, that's really unfortunate...in such cases, replacing the battery is the only thing I can think of to suggest. Hopefully TDK will address problems like this in the future. A "healthy" battery should allow for roughly six hours of playback. Six hours doesn't seem like much, these days. But I think it's important to take into consideration the amount of juice it takes to power this device...15W output is unusual for a speaker of this size, and is probably at least partially responsible for the great sound this speaker is capable of producing (as well as the relatively short-term total battery play time). Larger battery capacity usually means larger, more expensive battery/device, and less portability. There's always some tradeoff. Most portables in this general size range run at around 4W - 10W total output. Also, most of the others use either passive radiators or bass reflex ports to fatten up the bass output, and/or some sort of built-in equalization to give the illusion of "more bass." Apart from the A33, I'm not aware of any other small, battery-powered, portable speakers that include a built-in, dedicated, powered subwoofer...even larger speakers like the Bose Soundlink and Big Jambox don't include powered subs. Personally, I'm willing to accept the A33's limitations because the sound it produces is so superior to anything I've yet heard in a speaker of this size, and at such a reasonable price (I paid $119.99, by the way). Battery play time can be extended by using an external battery pack capable of supplying 12 Volts. I use the Anker Astro Pro 10000 mAh Multi-Voltage External Battery, but there are probably other options available. The Anker battery comes with a cable that fits into the A33's charging port (I had to fiddle around a bit before I could get the cable to fit just right, but it does work). Much of the time I'm content to simply leave the A33 plugged in.
I've owned the Jawbone Jambox (the original), the JBL Charge, the Klipsch iGroove sxt, the Altec Lansing InMotion Classic (iMT620), the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2, and the Logitech Wireless Boombox. A friend owns the Bose Soundlink Mini, which I've been able to listen to/test at length on numerous occasions. I've heard and re-heard most of the popular portables in stores and elsewhere. None of the above, in my opinion, are capable of matching the high quality of sound produced by the TDK A33. My Klipsch dock probably comes closest, but battery power isn't an option, it has no Bluetooth capability, tends to distort at higher volume levels, and is too bulky to be easily portable. The Logitech Boombox comes close also, but is considerably larger, and lacks the tightly-defined, full bass of the TDK. Seriously, to my ears, the TDK adds a dimension of sound that's on an entirely different level. With my other speakers I constantly found myself scrambling to adjust the EQ on my music player (iPod Classic, laptop, or tablet) to get everything to sound "right." With the TDK A33, I seldom (if ever) feel the need to tweak the equalizer settings at all...it's that good.
My thanks to all who took the time to leave reviews here at Amazon...the customer feedback is always a big help to me when I'm researching products.
UPDATE, 8/1/2014: After purchasing this speaker I became aware of a number of other portables which feature powered subwoofers. These include the Creative Sound Blaster Roar, the Sony SRSX5, and the Loewe Speaker 2go. Although I'm perfectly satisfied with the performance of the TDK A33, some of these other options certainly seem worth checking out.
on January 24, 2013
I've had this for three weeks now, and it. Is. AMAZING. It's physically small, but the sound that comes through clear and full of bass with no distortion, even at it's Max volume. At it's highest setting, it can easily fill a split-level house, at a medium level a good sized room, and at a low level the sound is still great - but you can go 10 or so steps away and barely know it's there, which has come in handy working overnight shifts.
I use it at work, at home, and in my truck. I haven't been able to test it outside, because it's freezing cold in Minnesota.
Mostly I use it for music, but sometimes I pair it with my phone or plug it in to a laptop and watch movies with far better sound than the speaker or even decent headphones have given me. The Bluetooth means when I'm on errands at work, my coworkers can easily pair up via Bluetooth and stream their music as well. So far, we've played almost every genre of music and they all sound fantastic.
The battery has been great so far. The description says to expect around 6 hours, but I've run it for just over 9 at under half power and just under 6 at full blast for a road trip with no problems.
I've only used it for a call once, but the little mic in it transmitted better than my Bluetooth earpiece. The only reason the other person on the line knew I was on speaker is because someone else came in during the call.
The only odd bit I've had with this is when I'm blasting it. I either need to have it on a padded surface or put a cloth under it, because listening to dance music at full volume can make it 'dance' as well.
on April 15, 2013
I thought I should try the TDK A33 as an alternative to my Bose Soundlink which I am not always satisfied with. The A33 is even quite a bit smaller but weights more than the Soundlink. I like the form factor of the A33 more, but the weight is a bit annoying limiting its real portability. Also battery-life could be longer. At moderate volumes i was able to squeeze 6.5 hours out of it, while my Soundlink can play for 8-10 hours at these levels, which usually is enough for a day at the beach. I couldn't test how long the speaker would last near maximum volume, but recharging a completely empty device took about 2.5-3 hours.
The A33 has a round and full sound. It is not that bass-heavy as the Soundlink, but it sounds clearer and you don't have the impression as if there was something missing, as the sound has enough bass to be enjoyable and can be improved quite a bit with good positioning. I would have preferred a slightly lower tuned bass. The TDK plays down to 70hz but falls off sharply from there and below 60hz you won't hear anything, while the Soundlink plays well below 60hz. I compared both Soundlink and TDK A33 quite a lot, and while I like the deeper bass of the Soundlink, it sometimes sounds as if the bass was playing besides without integration with the rest of the music. Bose is applying lots of processing and bass can sometimes even sound a bit artificial. I have some tracks where you can clearly hear additional bass overtones, which are not present in the original recording. The A33 doesn't seem to push bass that strong and sounds overall more natural.
The Soundlink has also much more directional treble-response, if not positioned well it might sound dull and muffled. This problem is not that pronounced with the TDK, but i am still missing the bass-power of the Soundlink a bit. I think bass response just in between the Bose and the TDK would be just perfect for my taste.
The TDK A33 can even play quite a bit louder than the Soundlink, but the sound is not that clean anymore. It seems to have some bass-limiter at higher levels, and while it doesn't distort even at highest volume, bass-sounds are not that clean anymore. The Soundlink doesn't disort at all even at highest level, but you can hear lots of dynamic compression going on and bass is reduced as well. At high levels a few notches below maximum i couldn't say which one sounds better. The Soundlink sounds cleaner, but the TDK seems more dynamic and louder.
I noticed some other quirks, like the built-in USB-port is only charging other devices when the speaker is attached to mains, this makes the USB-port rather useless for portable use. I could also hear a short bit of the previous track everytime after having skipped to the next track, which can become quite annoying sometimes, but no other problems occured so far, i didn't experience any bluetooth drop outs or other strange behaviour.
At 149,- the TDK costs half of the Soundlink which makes it a real bargain and a no-brainer when one has to decide between those two. My only complaints are the weaker battery life and the heavy weight, while the speaker can still vibrate quite heavily and dance around or fall over depending on the surface. Apart from that the A33 is a nice toy with great sound that competes easily with bigger speakers like the BIG Jambox or Logitech Z715.
on December 26, 2013
One of the hardest things I've done lately has been trying to pick a quality Bluetooth speaker with an AUX input. I'm a critical listener on a budget, which means I'm always looking for maximum performance for minimum outlay. Sadly, almost every wireless speaker I've been able to demo in person has sounded like garbage in one way or another, while priced far higher than I have been willing to pay. Truly, the entire concept of getting natural, flat sound from something as tiny as a Jambox or this A33 is practically an impossible task.
So it was with little surprise that my first tryout of this speaker was rather disappointing. Right out of the box and charged up, it sounded incredibly muffled and overly bass-heavy. From an intial, strictly sound-quality standpoint, it's definitely a one star product. Luckily, that's not the entire story here. EDIT: After getting to use the speaker extensively on the road, I can upgrade the sound quality rating to three stars. Still not as good as I was hoping for, but better aligned with the overall rating. I found I needed little or no EQ-fiddling while watching TV shows and online videos like This Week In Tech. They sound fine as is. It's only music that needs a lot of help.
This speaker feels like it's a touch smaller than the large Jambox speaker that's all the rage today. It's quite heavy for its size, however, and feels like it's made with quality materials on the outside and good quality speakers on the inside. The recessed touch controls on the top of the unit are well weighted and don't require any foce to activate while not being so sensitive as to be easily changed while being carried around. The LED backlighting of the buttons is bright but diffused so they're not distracting in a dimly lit room.
The side ports are hidden under a rubber grommet that slots in place to maintain water resistence when in use. Of course, it only works when using the Bluetooth feature; if you have a cabled or the charger plugged up or are using the USB jack to charge your phone, you lose that protection. Finally, a small plastic kickstand on the bottom flips out to angle the speakers up very slightly. It's rather flimsy but should not break unless abused.
I really like the design and heft. It's small enough to toss into a weekend bag and take to a hotel or on a trip while big enough to fill any average sized room with plenty of sound. I've not had occasion to turn it up more than about 60% of the way because it's so loud! Even at moderate volumes, the bass is very pronounced.
Battery life so far has clocked in at around six hours of use over the course of a few days. That's adequate if not class-leading. In addition to the power button on top of the unit, there's a master power switch under the rubber grommet that can be used to extend the battery's charge. I used that off switch every time the unit was turned off. I have not tested it leaving it "on" and in standby, but I imagine it would yield a significantly shorter run time even though the unit appears "off". One odd note: the unit has emitted a rather unusual smell during the first few uses. The best way to describe it is "that new electronics smell from Japanese products of the 80s". Only this is made in China. But it definitely has as peculiar but not unpleasant odor at first.
Updated: On the Bluetooth front, the range is at around the claimed 30 feet outdoors and a little less indoors. I've been able to pair the speaker to two different devices so far with no issues.
Even though I was disappointed with the sound quality, I am still rating it high because of the nice design and the fact it feels pretty solidly built. I like that the battery can be replaced if necessary. I was able to download a sound EQ program for my phone (and my mp3 player has the Rockbox software so it has a great EQ as well) and both have helped bring this speaker to life and now it really sounds great. So if you need a compact but powerful speaker, like a lot of bass (for its size) or have an EQ you can toy with to flatten out the levels, this portable speaker will serve you well.
on February 19, 2013
The TDK A33 is lacking many features, such as on-speaker treble and bass adjustments, next and previous track controls, a remote control, and docks. It only has volume controls, a USB charger port, an aux in, and a Bluetooth speakerphone. But here's the bottom line: everything the A33 has seems to have been engineered to high standards. The USB charge port is a full 5V at up to 1A, making it more useful than some. The bluetooth performance is pleasing, working across the house with very few hiccups in sound playback. (My iPhone 4 works with this speaker just as well over Bluetooth as over an aux cable. I can't say that at all about the sound system in my car.) Although this speaker is very small, it is very solid and sounds awesome from EVERYWHERE, even behind the speaker, at its side, and so on. Bass response is always full and fairly tight, highs are very clear and detailed, and the midrange is as clear as I've ever heard it. (Speaker placement and space acoustics matter, as always - but less than I expected.)
I tried some challenging songs in my collection - very little seemed washed out. The sound carries nicely into other rooms of the house, too. This little speaker can put out a good deal of volume with no noticeable distortion. Is it a miracle worker? No, it's still a small speaker with certain size-related limitations. The sound isn't always as full as I'd like. (UPDATE: this improves noticeably as the speaker is broken in!) Perhaps the biggest size-related drawback of the A33, in my opinion, is poor stereo separation. I notice all of these drawbacks most with movies. I had hoped for better. But I only know of a few much larger speaker systems that might be able to compete here. So a trade-off seems necessary.
I ordered this speaker based on Amazon user reviews, after trying an assortment of speakers in the 90-300 dollar range by SoundFreaq, Jawbone, Bose, and others. In my opinion, the A33 has the best overall sound quality with its relatively flat and full-range frequency response, awesome output for its size, and lack of distortion. The SoundFreaq Sound Platform is my favorite among the rest and is more versatile than the A33, but is too large for my needs. (I also didn't like its build quality.) I'm usually not a fan of Bose and wasn't impressed this time around, either.
on December 16, 2013
Everybody has different aural acuity and preferences, so actually listening to speakers is far better than reading reviews. Any small portable bluetooth speaker will have difficulty outperforming even a low-end bookshelf 2.1 sound system, but compared to its peers the TDK A33 is exceptional.
I compared the TDK A33, Bose SoundLink Mini, UE Boom and Mini Boom, JBL Charge and Flip, Jawbone Jambox and Mini Jambox, Soundfreaq Sound Kick and Sound Step, and Beats Pill. There were a few models that I considered (like the Sony SRSBTM), but could not find in a retail store nearby for a live demonstration.
I thought the Bose SoundLink Mini was the best overall, but the TDK A33 sounded nearly as good to my ears, for a little more than half the price. I also liked the UE Boom and Soundfreaq speakers, but those models have internal lithium ion batteries that are not user replaceable. All rechargeable batteries suffer from reduced capacity with time and usage, and I disliked the prospect of having to buy another speaker in a few years or having to keep it plugged in to use simply because I could not replace the battery. (The Bose SoundLink Mini has a user replaceable lithium ion battery.)
Choosing speakers is sort of like choosing wine. Price only loosely correlates with suitability. Don't make purchasing decisions based solely on the reputation of the maker. Use whatever best meets your needs, personal preferences, and budget. I am very pleased with the A33, and highly recommend it.
Some reviews posted here note problems maintaining a charge. TDK's support website has a document with instructions on how to change the battery ([...]). I have not personally opened mine up to look at the battery, but the pictures lead me to believe that the A33 uses a 7.2 volt flat stick pack of 6 AA NiMH batteries. I emailed TDK customer support to find out the battery pack's specifications. While they did not provide that information, they assured me that if I had problems with the battery within a year of purchase, TDK would send a replacement if I sent them a copy of the receipt. If it has been more than a year since the purchase date, TDK provides the phone number to their parts supplier and a part number so that you can buy one. (The number is 1-800-321-6993, the part # is EU-BT00003000-B). I haven't called to see how much a replacement costs, but even if the part is no longer available in the future, an RC hobby store could make you a replacement pack for about twenty dollars, if you can figure out what type of connector to use.
New NiMH batteries usually need 3-4 full charge/discharge cycles to reach their rated capacity. A new unit that seems to hold a charge poorly may improve after the batteries have been broken in. NiMH batteries should be good for 500-1000 cycles before significantly losing capacity. A battery pack is only as good as its worst cell; some of these units might contain a bad cell, but it appears there should be no problem getting a replacement from TDK if necessary.
on February 23, 2013
Just got this in the mail.....I've played rock...rap and country on it all at high volume waiting for failer....NOT happening on this unit....unbelievable sound quality....my neighbor has the bose soundlink we put them side by side. In my opinion the TDK has far better sound clarity....the bass is about the same outta both units. But TDK is a lot smaller than bose and so is the price....I gotta say the sound quality of the TDK is way better than bose....if u stick this unit in a corner it sounds like a huge stereo system in that room. TDK has gotta master piece with this one. I would recommend this Bluetooth speaker to anyone and everyone...can't wait to show it off to friends and family. Very impressed.....thank u amazon for the prompt service.....and well done TDK
on March 6, 2013
Wow, I have had dozens of portable speakers, logitech, jbl, altec lansing and many many others but none have impressed me this much with sound. The most impressive thing is the bass. It is a tad bloated and emphasized around 100-150hz(will go lower about 70hz or so and then sharply falls), but to even get that amount of bass in this form factor is stunning. Sure there is some bass compression as you turn it up but that is to be expected in order for the unit to reach higher volumes. Speaking of volume, it is also the loudest unit I have heard for this size as well. There isn't much if any noticeable or apparent distortion at any volume and at max level it is uncomfortably loud. Mids are slightly overshadoed by the bass and is a little recessed but is relatively smooth and pleasant. Highs are also a tad subdued but also pleasing and smooth with out any graininess or fatique. Also I've demoed the bose soundlink and the big jawbone and this is up there with those units in sound quality while costing quite a bit less and taking up less space. Battery life seems pretty good so far(on first charge still) and had it running for about 5 hours on both high and low levels before the red indicator flashed. The build quality is also very very solid and the unit itself has a nice weighty feel to it. It feels like a premium product. As far as bluetooth goes(using a ipod touch 5th gen) there were a few minor hiccups here and there like a few pops, slight drop out(very rare) noticed it about twice out of the 5 hours I had it playing but overall it wasn't an issue and sound quality wasn't discernibly worse over the 3.5mm line in.
Overall I have never been so impressed with a portable speaker. Ive spent literally over a thousand in portables over the past. Also note I hardly write reviews unless I am really impressed.
To sum up the positives and negatives
+Incredible sound and power for the size. It can be compared with some units twice the size imo.
+Small form factor and portability(easy to hold in your hand)
+Solid build quality
+Very easy unit to use overall
+Easy to pair to your Bluetooth device
-Slightly subdued mids and highs
-Bluetooth isnt always flawless
on November 26, 2013
This has got to be the best keep secret in portable BT speakers.
1.) Built like a tank; the weight is an indication of the size speaker magnets they packed in.
3.) Best sound quality of the group that I tested; easily the best sub $300.00 portable BT
4.) Decent battery life.
5.) Speaker/Phone that also works well.
6.) Great BT range
7.) Built-in flip-down front stand reduces surface footprint and acts as a sound isolater reducing the amount of sound that is transferred to the surface which can cause distortion and muddy bass, noticeably tightens bass by reducing secondary vibration
Actually contains it's own subwoofer. While most of the competition has only a pair of 1.5 inch full-range speakers, this has a separate 2.5 inch dedicated bass driver and passive radiators (not ports) which help drive more air and produce tighter bass...BRILLIANT
Beats-Pill: Ugh... astonishingly bad
UE Boom: Clear well defined but tinny sounding; mid bass only (like most of the portables); Nice size and format, nicely built because of the treble rich tinny sound it is fatiguing over time. Not even close to the sound quality of the A33
JBL Charge: Decent sound, well built, more bas than the UE Boom but not the clarity of the UE Boom and while it is closer to the A33, no cigar the A33 provides a far richer, more defined sound. Still fatiguing; no speaker-phone
SoundFreq Kick: Well built, excellent quality of sound BUT no volume unless it is sitting on your desk or in a very small room it is simply not adequate.
Radio Shack AVIUO PBT1000; good, slightly on the tinny side, more bass than the UE Boom and with the same detail and clarity. That said it does not produce anywhere near the sound quality of the A33
Bose Mini-Boom: Gets loud, very bass heavy. I find it's sound to be muddy sacrificing clarity and detail for the mid and low bass, nowhere near the clarity and punch of the A33. The A33 produces real bass not muddy but tight and quick.
I am really picky when it comes to sound and have been involved in audio for a long time; I was very pleasantly surprised by this product.
I purchased it based on the positive reviews I read on here and other sites especially the one from M. Huesmann http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3BCMJSD3ZT9HS/ref=cm_cr_dp_pdp and he was spot on.
Just buy this unit, you will not be disappointed
Only con... Tends to skate on slick surfaces because of the reduced surface contact and strong tight bass.... Wait... Is this really a negative