on May 7, 2012
Small bluetooth speakers have limited sonic capabilities due to their size and power limitations, and they are, after all, supposed to be as portable as your phone or tablet. Given limited expectations, I was very surprised with the performance of this speaker. Even though it is mono, the omni-directional design imparts a feeling of spaciousness since the sound reaches and reflects off of different objects in the room at different levels/times. Speakers of this size in stereo require you to sit 3 feet in front of them to perceive stereo anyway. But I think pumping twice the power into a single driver rather than dividing it is a very sensible solution.
This speaker will fill a medium size room with sound without maxing out the volume. It is a mid-range speaker, great for MY purposes. Voice podcasts are crystal clear as is classical chamber music and other small ensembles. After testing with a sound meter, I found that it is strongest from 250HZ to 8Khz, with some response at 125HZ and 10 Khz. A freebie Android equalizer set to the "Pop" setting (midranges) REALLY plays on its strengths and gives it a lot of spaciousness. And the speaker is very surprisingly linear in this range. Trying to recover bass with the equalizer does not work; it only attenuates the total volume and makes it sound muddy. This is the first time I have used an equalizer to enhance a speaker's natural tendencies rather than attempting to counteract them. There are 2 buttons on each side on the band, 90 degrees from the logo. Holding or carrying by the grippy grill and rotating the ball sideways to adjust seems easiest.
Very good fit, finish, and material quality
Quick and easy bluetooth pairing
Maintains bluetooth connection in all rooms of a modest house
Remembers last paired device
No audio artifacts- it's dead silent between tracks and there is no perceived loss of mid-highs due to bluetooth
Long battery life, probably 6 hours at 3/4 volume
Charges quickly via USB- no wall wart (transformer)
Volume buttons and a play/pause button that sends a signal back to the tablet
Unobtrusive green LED in mesh above logo stays on, but blinks when recharge is needed. No glaring white aircraft landing light here. LED turns amber when pairing.
Footprint- plop it down anywhere with 3 1/2 inches of space without aiming it.
None, if your expectations are reasonable. Otherwise, buy a Bose at 6x the price.
5 stars for me, but gave it 4 for limited bass which I'm sure will be a big issue for some people.
I have a library of music built up over years that I never heard because I can't sit in front of a computer or in one room for an hour or two at a time without interruption. Now I start my tablet music player, set it's volume to max, and walk all over carrying this thing like a baseball. You can pause or shut it off anywhere, then turn it on hours later and pick up where you left off.
Let's get to the positives first. This is a convenient little speaker for your desktop or small room. It linked to my iPhone very quickly, and the Bluetooth connection worked very well. Turning it on gave me some problems at first -- you need to hold the button for about 4 seconds, not the 2 the manual states. But the main concern with any speaker, of course, is how it sounds, and this is where the iDM8B is problematic.
I hooked it up to my 19,000-song iPod, and put it on shuffle to test it with a lot of different types of music. There's no stereo here, and the single speaker seems to be a midrange. For some types of music, it's quite good, but for others it's nearly unlistenable. I found that anything with a lot of highs, such as drum sets, cymbals, harmonicas, etc., sounded pretty bad -- quite hissy, or, as my wife put it, like a swarm of angry bees. One Dylan song with harmonica actually made my ears hurt. And it suffers in the lower end too -- one track with a heavy bass up front in the mix was muddy and distorted. Anything in the mid-range -- folk, acoustic singer-songwriter, most jazz and classical, classic pop vocals -- sounded pretty good, but there's a lot of music you just aren't going to want to hear on this speaker.
I have another iHome speaker, the 12BX, which is a stereo speaker. Though it doesn't have the omnidirectional qualities of the iDM8B, I think the sound is slightly better, though it too is shrill in the high end for many tracks. With a speaker in this price range, however, this seems to be the norm, so caveat emptor.
on October 19, 2012
I purchased 2 of these for my kids and they love them. Best part is, once charged up they can take them anywhere and play their music. The size is just perfect for portability!
on April 14, 2012
I have several iHome products along with all kinds of other portable/wireless/whatever-gimmick-caught-my-fancy portable and not so portable speaker systems. These include, BTW, the iHome iHM79 rechargeable stereo speakers and that WOWee speaker. I bought this because it is battery operated, bluetooth and....red. Yes, it matches the color of my iPhone and iPad cases. So I had moderate expectations.
WOW! This is one Ball of Sound!
- I was immediately impressed by the presence exhibited in the human voice. In recordings from the 1930's to today, this little speaker is the first I have bought since my Klipsch towers (purchased 1999) that made me take immediate notice how natural vocals sound.
- The overall sound fidelity here far exceeds that of the iHM79. I am not bothered by the lack of stereo separation. I have volume. This unit puts the final mental nail in the WOWee's coffin in my mind. I don't care what surface you set the WOWee on, Beyoncé will never sound as good as she will through iDM8R.
- This can fill a bedroom or kitchen with sound. No, there is no disco-style thumping bass, but it is full-frequency enough to sound great and allow some fairly high volumes. (Hint: turn the volume on the playback device to full and adjust from the iDM8R.)
- This is compact enough for business presentations at a desk or to carry around the house with your tablet/e-reader.
At fullest possible volume (source is iPhone 4s, connection bluetooth) there can be ever so slight distortion in the highest frequencies. This varies recording to recording.
I heartily recommend this and would buy it again (and hey, probably will).
on December 31, 2013
I'm always curious to know when cheap speakers produce good, or great, sound. So I recently compared the globe shaped iHome iDM8 ($59.99 but reduced to $39.99 or less) and iSound Crescent ($49.99 reduced to $33.99), both with Bluetooth and rechargeable batteries. See my separate review for the iSound Crescent.
The Crescent is obviously the better of the two (Crescent vs iDM8), in every way. It's a no brainer.
The sound of the cheaper Crescent isn't just better than the globular iDM8, it's so much better that I actually gave the Crescent a 5-star review while I'm giving the iDM8 only 1 star.
I actually nicknamed the Crescent the Bose mini "junior." The Crescent consists of 2 speakers, a 1-inch round and a 1X2, which isn't enough for a distinct bass but has surprisingly balanced and smooth mid-range and highs, in contrast to the somewhat tinny and cheap sound of the iDM8. The threshold between acceptable and unacceptable sound lies somewhere between these 2 speakers. They both have to be played at max volume, but the music playing device itself also needs to be at a higher volume for the iDM8, so the Crescent wins in that regard, and also for sound quality.
The iSound Crescent is very lightweight, attractive, and easily slides into a pocket or purse while the globe shaped iDM8 is heavier and requires more effort to carry or pack in a bag or briefcase.
Other negatives of the iDM8
* The line-in cable is EXTREMELY bothersome. It's actually a dual purpose charging cable and line-in jack, so there's only one cable coming out of the speaker, but it's like a regular electric cord, split into 2 at the other end, including a plastic clip to "manage" the cable but the whole thing is just ugly.
* The "on" button must be pressed for several seconds. Why not just click and it's on?
* There's a green "on" light, that seems to slowly flash when it's charging, front and center, which is bright and more annoying than useful. To be fair, the Crescent has a flashing blue light on top when it's on, but it's VERY tiny, set into the device, angled backward and not distracting.
I recommend the Crescent more as a secondary speaker, such as to those who already own a Bose mini but who want something more practical to tote around, if your budget barely allows you to have a Bose mini and you want to spare it from excess wear and tear, but you still need something to carry around all day that is truly portable and cheap where you don't need "great" sound, or for something to use while the Bose mini is recharging or someone else is using it.
on December 10, 2012
I went through at least 4 other speakers until I finally found this perfect little one. The other ones broke after a while or the sound quality would be bad. This speaker sounds great, looks great, and is reliable. I am very happy with this purchase and would recommend it to others.
on October 15, 2012
Nice sound for the little red ball it is :) I use it mainly to play music from my Iphone, and I like it a lot. I tried to use it with my MAC computer and I haven't been able to use it because for some reason it's not recognizing the device, but I think I just nee to play a littl bit more with it and I will be able to figure th setting I need to set up.
on May 26, 2013
Tiny but great to bring down to the garden or to put on the deck while enjoying the outdoors. The speaker sounds tinny when you hold it (turning it on) but once placed it sounds good. (The hummingbirds even approached it as it sat on the railing of my deck!) Good deal for the price!
I have used a number of Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth portable speakers before, and most are relatively small and offer limited sound. I The iHome iDM8, however, is a nice alternative for someone looking for a little more power and sound from a portable Bluetooth speaker.
The iDM8 is still small, its dimensions are 3.47" wide by 3.07" high by 3.47 deep, and easily fits into the palm of my hand. It's probably a little bigger than a baseball and smaller than a softball. The speaker is also very well built. Made of plastic, with a thick rubber bottom, the speaker is very solid, and would travel well on vacations, business trips, to and from school, etc.
The speaker has a little switch on the bottom, which controls the locking, auxiliary, and Bluetooth functions, and comes with a 2-in-1 USB/3.5mm audio to micro USB cable, to hook up a non Bluetooth device, or to charge the speaker from your computer. It's great that iHome combined the cable, so you only need to carry one cable if you are using a device without Bluetooth. The cable is large and also harder to lose, which is another plus. Battery life is six hours, and it seems to charge pretty quickly.
The iDM8 is totally round, so while it's a mono speaker, sound does fill the room, especially if you crank it. While the speaker does get pretty loud, it doesn't seem to distort much, even at a high volume setting. The sound is very crisp. I listed to different types of music (rock, classical, disco) and the sound is very balanced, with moderate highs. You don't really hear much bass, however, but the sound is very clear. I found that the speaker became louder when I used it with my Andriod phone and Samsung MP3 player, when compared to when I used it with my iPod.
Pairing the unit with a Bluetooth device is very easy. An amber light blinks when the speaker is in pairing mode, and I was able to pair it with three different devices in a few minutes. Once paired, the speaker "remembers" your device so you don't have to pair it each time you use it.
I like the iHome iDM8. I can take this with me on picnics, business trips, and vacations without worrying about it breaking. The sound is real consistent and clear, but I miss the bass. I also wish iHome had included a small carrying case, as the iDM8 is perfect for travel.
on August 21, 2012
I bought this to be able to listen to my nature sound tracks, which make it so I can sleep I grew up in an area of the country that had a lot of rain and now live in the California desert where we are lucky if we get 1 inch of rain a year, rain soothes me and calms me so I am able to sleep for many years I used my cd collection but the stereo is getting old and the CD's are also and I wanted to make a move into this century
After looking and reading at many of these Bluetooth speakers all of them have draw backs and non are perfect all the way around, I wanted some thing close to stereo for the nature sounds, and since my nature sounds are recorded in a way that gives it a holographic sound I needed some thing that would use a omnidirectional speaker to take advantage of it and this one fit the bill.
I was a bit skeptical because of the size but it claimed to have a SRS capability which is what really tempted me that and the design, first nights use it worked perfectly on the headboard of my bed, after next day we had to take a road trip 1 hour both ways and so I decided to test it in the car, the omnidirectional design worked great in the car also.
For obvious reasons this will not work well alone in a party setting or large rooms, I am unsure if this could be connected with others but two would fill a large room with sound no problem, any one buying this with high expectations of a classic stereo with sub woofer is highly dissolutioned in the size and capability, but for my use and expectations this works well and better than expected
As far as price goes I think all Bluetooth speakers are over priced for the size and capability, but I am not sad I bought it and probably would again if offered the choice