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606 of 677 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2014
I've come to heavily rely on Amazon reviews, and base purchasing decisions around those reviews.
I purchased the New Creative Sound Blaster Roar about 1 month ago on the basis of outstanding reviews. It was returned because the Bluetooth dropped - even at close range. But apart from my experience (which I consider an individual unit flaw) I want to address the larger issue of the unit's sound quality in view of the effusive reviews.

The audio quality was OK - not great. My sister has an older first generation Bose Soundlink - which is better than the Roar (and to be fair twice as expensive). Admittedly, it is in different price range; I mention it because there have been many wild comparisons to other products Bose Soundlink (not just the mini), Bose wave radio, $30,000 stereo systems, etc, .... The Roar's audio quality was dependent on location - moving slightly off-axis changed the sound. Was the Roar's sound quality terrible - no. Was it good yes - I'd say even quite good. Was it "audiophile quality" no..... not even close.

But there are so many breathless reviews throwing around terms like "best bluetooth speaker ever" "masterpiece" "audiophile." I would urge caution on buying on the basis of these reviews.

Many of the glowing reviews have coincided with the reviewer obtaining a free Sound Blaster Roar - and while many reviewers candidly acknowledge that fact, I think many more have not. When I received my Roar, I believe there were 100 or so reviews - now about 1 month later - there are 511. One reviewer commented: "Creative has a promotion going on now. Write a review for the sound blaster roar on amazon and get a free carry bag for the roar." I don't know if that is true or not, but based on the wild claims and zealous tone of some of the reviews, I would not be surprised.

An example of a typical review that I would characterize as "breathless"

"Holy Moly! This thing is AWESOME! My buddies have a BOSE in which is bluetooth also, but I gotta say the price versus what you get with Bose is not as good as this deal! I AM IMMEDIATELY BUYING A BACKUP UNIT!!! This thing BOOMS... Talk radio sounds so natural and clear, the connection is a snap, speakerphone works and sounds good.... er, uh.... argh... confusion, excitement, gosh I wanna just keep on writing about this awesome boom box but Brooklyn 99 is on.... So just buy this product already"

"If you are reading reviews on the ROAR your wasting (ROAR) time. you will not find a better product. I even ordered a second one. This is a show stopper. Everyone will want one. At least 5 of my friends ordered one after hearing the pure sound quality. Not much else [sic] to say this unit speaks for itself. THIS IS A MUST HAVE BEST PURCHASE OF 2014 and I buy a lot"

". . .all my friends love it 4 of them ordered one."

"The sound quality - The sound reproduction is exactly as it is on the recording - no coloring or processing involved. It just lays bare the song as it is on the recording. Which is exactly what my $30k sound system also does."

In sum, I value genuine customer feedback on Amazon.
I use to value Yelp - but Yelp has gone the way of pay-to-play - and good actual unfiltered unbiased customer reviews are getting harder to find.

I don't want Amazon reviews to go the way of Yelp.

So, in sum, apart from my bluetooth problem, the Soundblaster is a good unit with decent sound - not a fantastic unit with exceptional sound. If you are motivated to get a good speaker for a reasonable $150 - I would say it is a good deal and you will be happy. If you are motivated to get a fantastic audiophile quality speaker that is the best of its kind (i.e. a great deal) on the basis of these reviews, you may find yourself disappointed and deceived by what are "compensated endorsers."

My criticism is directed at the strategy to overhype what is otherwise a fairly good product.
Above all, I hope Amazon's reviews stay genuine, authentic, and unbiased.
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197 of 231 people found the following review helpful
UPDATE: Aug 6, 2014 - After doing some digging, I have been able to unearth some performance specifications for the Creative SoundBlaster Roar. The source of this information is Creative.
- Frequency Response: 47Hz- 20kHz
- Total System Power: 33Watts RMS at 1% THD

Keep in mind that Total System Power is also at the expense of battery life. Also realize that a lot of engineering went into the design of the drivers, enclosure and the tuning process to eek out the best performance relative to battery life.

UPDATE: July 15, 2014 - As I discuss in my review, the battery is not user-replaceable. This leads to the question, "what happens when the battery no longer can hold a charge?" I posed that question to Creative and they have responsded. They told me that if the battery fails within the warranty period, they would do a one-to-one exchange for another speaker. If the battery fails outside of the warranty period, they will do a one-to-one exchange for $60. That seems quite reasonable to me as the battery should last for at least 500 cycles as is typical of Li-ion batteries.

UPDATE: July 11, 2014 - As I've spent more and more time listening to this speaker, I continue to be so impressed with the quality of sound. It is so accurate, spacious and clear with perfectly balanced bass. I did have a scare though... just now I turned the speaker on (battery power) and the speaker volume was very low, No matter what I did to increase the volume, nothing was working. I checked my volume on my computer, it was at max. I checked the speaker controls and the volume was also maxed. Roar was cycled on and off. Terra-bass was cycled on and off, Nothing made a difference, I thought my speaker had become defective,. Then I plugged it into the AC adapter and within a minute, the volume was restored. So the takeaway is that when the internal battery is getting low, it will reduce the volume of the speaker. Had I looked at the status LED's on the top of the speaker I might have noticed that only 1 LED was lit and it was blinking. This indicates that the battery is very low, your cue to hook up to AC or at least turn the speaker off and charge the battery. I breathed a sigh of relief and admire that Creative has even built in protection so that the battery does not deep discharge itself. Another reason to love this speaker.

---
I have reviewed many bluetooth speakers over the last several years. The Creative Sound Blaster Roar is easily one of the best of the bunch.

The speaker has so many features that it requires an in-depth review. If you're interested in just a pertinent summary, I'll try and put the most important stuff up front. If you want to know more, simply read the entire review.

This is a beautifully crafted speaker. It's hefty and feels solid. The wrap around metal grill and metal grills over the passive bass radiators on the sides of the speaker give this a very sophisticated look. The top row of buttons lie beneath a rubberized membrane which extends to the back of the speaker where there are additional ports and controls. It's very stable because of its low center of gravity. It's not a speaker that will topple over.

A large capacity, non user-replaceable, Li-ion battery (6000mAh) not only powers the speaker for up to 8 hours of continuous music playback depending on the volume, but can also charge another USB powered device via the 1A USB output on the back panel. I view that as ancillary to the main purpose of this bluetooth speaker but it can come in handy if you have your device near the speaker and want to charge it. I'm also somewhat concerned about what the battery replacement procedure and cost will be since this does not have a user replaceable battery. Of course it will take roughly 500+ charging cycles before this becomes an issue. I have contacted Creative to discover the answer and will update my review when I've received their reply.

The bi-amp design results in a cleaner overall sound with less distortion since the bass speaker and the front-facing drivers are powered separately. This is essentially unheard of in any other bluetooth speaker that I'm aware of. This is the sort of amplification scheme that high-end audio has been using for years and now it's in this very reasonably priced bluetooth speaker.

So how does it sound? Fantastic. The sound is clean, clear and accurate. No boomy bass here, just well balanced sound. I don't hear any buzzes, rattles or unusual sounds whatsoever. It is solidly built.

One thing I notice when listening to it is that it actually sounds better when you're a little further away from it. That seems to be due to the fact that the front drivers are a "far-field" design which means they are meant to throw the sound further. So if you're listening to this when at your desk and it's right in front of your face, it doesn't open up as much as when you are a greater distance away from it. This makes it great for large rooms and big groups of people (ie: parties.)

[Included in the box:]
- Power supply with folding plug: 100-240V, 50/60Hz. 6' cord length.
- USB to Micro USB cable. 30" cable length.

The quick summary is... get it. It's an incredible value and produces fantastic quality sound that is powerful and accurate (un-colored). If you want to play it loud, it responds. If you want to play it soft, the Terra-Bass enhances the bass at low listening levels for a very satisfying sound.

--More in-depth information --

This bluetooth speaker has features galore running the gamut from great to somewhat frivolous. But even without all the features, the sound that this speaker produces makes it worth the price.

[Feature Summary]
- Can be used as a wireless bluetooth speaker
- Can be used as a wired speaker using an AUX input from an MP3 player or other device. No Aux cable is provided.
- Can be used as an audio output for your computer when connected via the included USB cable to your computer
- Has a built-in digital recording function that can record your voice, a phone call using the handsfree feature or any sound that is being sent to the speaker from whatever source.
- Has a MicroSD card slot (up to 32GB capacity) that can hold MP3, WMA or WAV files for playback
- Has the ability to shuffle music from the MicroSD card during playback, or just repeat all the music in the order in which it was placed in the music folder on the memory card.
- Has the ability to use the MicroSD card as a mass storage device when connected to your computer.
- Has the ability to allow 2 simultaneous bluetooth connections (multipoint technology) and has a Link Security feature that gives you even more flexibility in determining who will be able to connect to the speaker.
- Has a gimmicky Alarm function that sounds a loud, warbling alarm sound when invoked.
- Has NFC pairing for use with devices that support NFC like some smartphones and tablets.
- Supports aptX and AAC
- Has the ability to charge other USB devices using the 1A USB output
- Has a bedtime mode that plays music for either 15 or 30 minutes then gradually reduces the volume before automatically shutting down. This was inoperative for me.
- Terra-Bass feature gives the speaker enhanced bass at low to medium sound levels
- Roar feature let's you put the speaker volume into overdrive by a simple press of the button. Loudness, depth and spaciousness is increased and works best when connected to the power supply. But it seems more of a gimmick.
- Works as a handsfree speaker phone with your smartphone. Answer, reject and end calls from the speaker.

The "Roar" has 5 discreet speaker drivers and features a bi-amp design
- On the front are two 1.5" forward facing, far-field high frequency drivers
- On the top is an active, high-excursion 2.5" driver that handles bass and mid frequencies.
- On each side is a passive bass radiator. These opposing radiators enhance bass response and widen the soundstage.

It's really mind boggling that the speaker has so many features. Some may be frivolous but he majority are useful t and work quite well. Even the goofy Siren Alarm has some use for getting peoples' attention during a party. I could get picky and say that the digital recorder is a bit weak because you can't delete files using only the speaker controls. But it's pretty easy to delete the files either by connecting the speaker to your computer using the USB cable to do so, or to remove the MicroSD card and insert it directly into a card reader or memory card slot of your computer. I mean, the fact that this can even record voice, music and phone calls at all is powerful. The "Roar" feature, after which the speaker is named, is of dubious real value and seems unnecessary to me.

This speaker screams to be compared to the Bose SoundLink III. To me the Bose has boomy bass. The Sound Blaster Roar has cleaner sounding bass with clear, defined mids and highs. The Roar also has a wider soundstage than the Bose Soundlink III which gives the speaker a bigger sound that belies its size.

I love the Terra-Bass feature that enhances the bass output at low volumes. It makes a huge difference in sound quality and turns what otherwise might be described as thin or anemic sound into full, rich sound particularly at lower volume levels. In fact, you shouldn't use the Terra-Bass at all when listening at louder levels... that's when you'd want to use the Roar feature. When using the Roar feature it's best to be connected to the power supply for even louder sound.

I've played many different genres of music on my Roar... from Baroque to Miles Davis to EDM. It handles all genres well. The sound is accurate with tight well-defined bass, clear highs and well-formed mids. But you can even tweak the sound further by installing the Sound Blaster Control Panel which I discuss later on in more detail. Once this is installed you have additional ways to adjust the output from the speaker when connected to your Mac/PC via USB.

Regarding the "Sound Blaster Control Panel," it is really not named properly. It is not a "Control Panel" as most Mac users would understand it. It is not located in System Preferences where control panels are generally located. It is actually an Application that when installed, is put in the Applications Folder, in a subdirectory Creative>SoundBlaster. The Sound Blaster Control Panel is only functional when you have the speaker connected to your computer via the USB cable. You also have to choose the Sound Blaster Roar speaker so that it can be used as a sound output device in the "Sound" control panel in system preferences. Once you have it connected and have sound playing through the speaker you can then launch the Sound Blaster Control Panel application and use predefined audio presets to tweak the sound. You have the following options:

[Music]
- SBX Default - simulates a surround sound system and opens up the soundstage even more.
- Warm Sound - restores detail to the sound
- Smart Volume - kind of an audio level adjuster
[Movies]
- Dynamic Boost - Boosts the high and low-end frequency responses of the speaker
- Night Mode - Reduces the volume of sudden volume spikes while preserving dialog clarity
- Clear Dialog - brings out the dialog in movies for maximum clarity
[Gaming]
- Stadium Surround - recreates the immersive audio experience of being in a stadium
- Clear Comms - boosts in-game communication audio to more clearly hear your teammates
- Cinematic Action - Brings a cinema audio experience to your games

You also have the ability to enter a customizable SBX profile mode screen where you can set and save various options such as Surround, Crystalizer, Bass, Crossover Frequency, Smart Volume, and Dialog Plus. There is a cool little audio demo that showcases the sound capabilities of the speaker. There is also a 10-band equalizer that enables you to completely customize the output sound characteristics manually or use predefined equalizer presets: flat, acoustic, classical, country, dance, jazz, new age, pop, rock, and vocal.

Wow, this is such an impressive speaker. The feature list can honestly be a bit overwhelming but it is actually easier to comprehend and use than you might think.

There is not much I would change about this speaker. But there is one huge, glaring omission in the feature set... there are no track selection buttons. Many speakers have dual function volume buttons where a tap will control volume, while a press will change tracks. This speaker lacks the ability to change tracks. The Bose SoundLink also lacks track selection buttons so it's not unprecedented, but does seem like it should be there given that you can change tracks when playing music from the internal memory card.

One tiny tiny suggestion is to have some indication on the back panel that the Alarm button is also the Terra-Bass button. The alarm button only works as the alarm button when the Arm switch is set to "on" otherwise the Alarm button is the Terra-Bass button (when the Alarm Arm switch is set to "off." Creative could also include an Aux cable to facilitate a wired connection to this speaker. I also wish the included USB cable were longer. You can only use the Sound Blaster Control Panel application when the speaker is connected to your computer via USB. So in order to place the speaker optimally, you need a longer cable than what is provided.

Gorgeous looking speaker with fantastic sound.

PROS:
- Gorgeous build quality
- Feature rich
- Full, balanced sound with terrific bass and wide soundstage
- Great battery life
- Speaker can be charged, albeit very slowly, via the Micro USB port

CONS:
- No Aux cable included
- Remarkably, there are no track selection buttons on the speaker. That must be done from your device.
- Some of the features seem more gimmick than useful
- Included USB cable should be longer for it's intended purpose

This is a remarkable speaker. For the current price of 149, it's an outstanding value.
Watch out Bose Soundlink III, there is a new kid on the block at a fraction of the price.

I was provided a free sample for review.
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218 of 257 people found the following review helpful
Update:

I just left a party with family, friends and neighbors from around the area getting together for a cook out and a pitch in dinner. I set this speaker up on the window ledge outside of the home we were at and played music for 6 hours. I had put about 100 songs on a Micro SD card and just had the speaker randomly play through them. About 40 people asked me what kind of speaker I was using and where they could buy one. I hadn't even told them that I brought the speaker but they asked the hostess of the party and she directed them to me. Yes this speaker is that good.

In 6 hours the battery still has 2 of the 3 LEDs going strong and the sound quality was outstanding. Everyone commented on how good the speaker sounded and they even took photos of the speaker and told me that they planned to buy it. I had the speaker on about 50% of the volume and it covered a deck area about 45 feet long by 20 feet wide. It made a great background music atmosphere for the party! People could still talk and carry on a conversation but you could see them singing along or dancing as they walked and mingled. It was a lot of fun!

+++++++++++++++++++

This is the best speaker of this size that I have reviewed. If I could honestly rate it as a 10 star product I would. This speaker came to me for review along with a net carrying case for it. I am not sure if the carrying case is a standard part of the product or not.

This speaker has been developed by Sound Blaster who is a leader in audio for digital and computer systems. I have used their sound cards in computers for as long as I can remember. This speaker is an engineering marvel and the sound volume and quality proves it. This speaker is worth every penny they are asking for it. The speaker is simply exceptional in its performance!

What's in the box?
* The speaker itself that weighs in at 2 pounds and 6 7/8 ounces of pure power!
* A 30 inch Micro USB to USB cable to charge the speaker with your PC or Mac computer and play your audio from your computer.
* An AC power wall charger that comes with a 70 inch cable. It operates on 100 to 240 VAC at 50/60 Hz. The AC wall plugs fold out for use and fold in for portability. The output is 15 VDC at 1.6 Amps and the unit is UL approved.
* The test unit came with a nice net carrying bag but I am not sure if it is a standard item with the speaker or not as it came in a separate product box.
* A Quick Start Guide
* A Handy Guide for the Sound Blaster Roar

The first thing that you want to do is to charge the speaker and I used the supplied AC wall power adapter. The speaker has an internal 6000 mAh Lithium-Ion battery inside of it that can power the speaker for up to 8 hours of continuous operation in playing your music. As I mentioned you can also charge the speaker and play your music by using the supplied micro USB to USB cable. When the unit is charging you can see three LEDs on the top of the speaker flashing to indicate that charging is taking place.

On the rear of the speaker there is an Auxiliary input port so you can play your devices that do not have Bluetooth using a 3.5 mm audio cable. The cable does not come with the unit. There is also a USB output power port that is rated at 5 VDC at 1 Amp. You can use your phone's charging cable and you can charge your phone with just the speaker's internal battery or you can charge it with the speaker having the speaker's AC wall adapter plugged in. when using just the speaker's internal battery the speaker is acting as an emergency battery pack for your phone. Nice Feature!

Also on the back is a Micro SD card slot in which you can plug in a 32 GIG Micro SD card and you can load up 32 GIG of your favorite songs from your computer and play them for the SD card. In this mode you do not need to use the Bluetooth and this saves battery power and lets you play your music a bit longer.

The speaker has an internal microphone in it and you can make and answer hands free phone calls. When we did this the connection was so good that the people on the other end of the phone call did not even know that we were using a hands free system. In our test this feature worked perfectly and there was no feedback on either end of the call. This same microphone lets you record your conversations and it will store the recording on the free space of the Micro SD card. You can turn the microphone on or off. You press the record button to record and you have a play/pause button to listen to your recording.

There is a continuous play button on the back and your can switch it to shuffle while playing songs from your SD card. There is also a skip forward, skip back, play or pause button for your SD card songs. There is a Life Saver function on the speaker that you can turn off, to mode 1 or to mode 2. Mode one randomly plays a loud sound bite at ¾ of max volume and mode two plays a sound bite at max volume. This is a feature to randomly make that noise to keep you awake and focused when studying.

This speaker even has a siren button on the back and when you short press it the siren will go off. It is loud and it will attract attention. If you long press the siren button the speaker will say Terra Bass on and it will boost the bass output of the speaker. The speaker does use voice prompts but you can turn them off by pressing the Bluetooth/phone button and the minus button simultaneously. Pressing the Bluetooth/phone button again with the plus button will turn the voice prompts back on.

The speaker has NFC (Near Field Connection) and Bluetooth 3.0 built in and in the video I show how to pair the unit with an iPhone 5S. There are several Bluetooth pairing options listed in the manual. I walked about 35 feet away and the speaker and my phone stayed paired and working perfectly even shooting through 2 walls. On top of the speaker is a power on/off button. There is also a ROAR button with boosts the volume output for you when you need it as at a very loud party. The Plus and minus buttons are to control the volume of the speaker. Please remember to have the volume also turned up on your smart device. Pressing and holding the Bluetooth button will make the white LED flash and put the speaker into the pairing mode. The same button will also let you answer a phone call.

Sound System Quality

This is where this speaker shines. It has 5 drivers with dual 1.5 inch high frequency speakers and a 2.5 inch speaker for the pulsating bass sounds. There are also two passive bass radiators and this speaker really sounds good. It actually has two amplifiers and one controls the high end sounds and the other controls the mid-range and the bass. This speaker has excellent sound, great bass and crystal clear treble. It has good stability at high volumes with no noise or rattling. The wireless music sounds as good as the wired connections using state of the art data transmission technology. This speaker was built to party!

There is a Sound Blaster Control Panel software for a PC or a MAC that lets you control the speaker's functions. There are even features I don't cover and this speaker has so many options. When I say it is outstanding, it is outstanding! This speaker is a 5 star and it deserves even a higher rating. I play small pieces of a couple of songs just to give you an idea of what it sounds like. You will enjoy this speaker.

I was supplied a sample for test and evaluation. A review was not promised to the supplier in exchange for the sample but I stated that if I provided a review that it would be fair and honest.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2014
Ok first let me say that these small bluetooth speakers have come a LONG way. Let's face it. They all sound good and the sound quality differences tend to be minimal. I must admit that I am fascinated with the quality that can come from these small speakers so they have become a bit of a hobby for me. I have bought, sold and traded for a lot of them. I currently have this speaker, a Big Jambox, Bose Soundlink Mini, Altec Lansing The Jacket, Altec Lansing IMW 725, a couple of Ion Clipsters and a Mini Jambox. I have had a JBL Charge and Flip, I have had a couple of Eton speakers also so I have had numerous comparison opportunities. However in this review I compared the Roar, the Soundlink Mini and the Big Jambox. Up front, they all sound great and you would be happy with any of the three but here is what I hear when I compare them. I'm going to make this short and sweet.

Volume: Obvious winner is the Big Jambox, however it did distort a little at full volume. Second would be the Roar with no noticeable distortion at full volume and last the Soundlink Mini with very little distortion at full volume.

Bass: Contrary to what other reviews have said the three are close here with the Jambox probably having a little more low end than the other two simply because of the size but they are all close. The Soundlink Mini seems to have the richest low end of the three but the Roar doesn't lack bass as some have said. All three have solid low ends. What makes the Bose stand out is its size being the smallest of the three. With the Terra Bass on the Roar stands toe to toe with the other two. Again the Bose seems to have the richer sounding low end but I guarantee you will be satisfied with any of the three.

Treble: All three are good. The Big Jambox sounds a little brash to me at times where the other two sound crisp and smooth. The highs distort a bit on the Jambox at higher volumes but are smooth on the other two. Bear in mind that the Big Jambox is louder so it will sound good and comparable volumes. Again you will be pleased with the treble of any one.

Midrange: To me it seems better on the Roar. They all sound good but the overall sound of the Roar, to me, is more pleasing.

Overall Sound: I have to go with the Roar for overall sound because it seems more balanced. It probably does have the weakest low end of the three but it is not anemic by any means. Apart from comparison you will be very satisfied with its low end. Again, as far as sound goes, they all sound GREAT. It's really just a matter of preference. I would be, and am, satisfied with the sound of all three.

Price: No brainer. The Roar is by far the best value.

Features: No brainer. The Roar. Though i don't find all of the features useful I find some outstanding like the ability to use it as a stand alone MP3 player. Very useful and just downright neat. The ability to record conversations is also neat. It is also great as a speakerphone. Card reader and outboard DAC feature is cool. The alarm, nice gimmick. The loud noises. Why? The sleep feature, meh kind of neat. Still the number of features this thing offers is amazing. Second in features is the Jambox. It is a GREAT speakerphone and the live audio is amazing with certain music. The upgradeable features is really neat. The only thing that the Bose offers feature wise to compare with these two is an easily replaceable batter and a charging stand. Bose evidently was not too concerned about features.

Build Quality; They all have solid, quality builds. The Big Jambox is probably the more fragile of the three if dropped due to its metal screen covering. The Mini and Roar are built like tanks.

Battery LIfe: Big Jambox wins. It seems to play forever. The Roar comes in second with excellent battery life as well. The Bose comes in last with the shortest battery life of the three.

Charging: The Roar. You can charge with the provided adapter or a micro usb. The Jambox offers micro usb charging as well but it would take days. You pretty much have to use the provided adapter which is acceptable given its incredible battery life. The Bose loses here because you have to use the provide charger or stand.

The overall winner is.......The Roar. The speaker is just so innovative and contrary to other reviews it really sounds good. As stated before I prefer its overall sound to the others. When you consider sound, price, features and convenience you have to go with the Roar. I still like listening to the other two, however, because I just like a variety.

Summary: These three speakers are three of the best on the market and they all sound great. It really depends on what you are looking for in a speaker. Again at $149 the Roar is just hard to beat as far as value especially given the feature set.

Hope this was helpful.
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64 of 77 people found the following review helpful
My short review:

If you have the money to spend on this speaker, don't walk, RUN to the order button and just buy it. This is easily the best sounding portable speaker I have ever heard, and if you pair them it is likely the sound from these two devices will trounce what most normal people usually listen to music on at home.

I have heard several Bose options from the higher end BT speaker side, and countless BT speakers from the low end side from all sorts of vendors. This is the first time, in all my testing, that I can say that the price belies the tremendous capability of this speaker.

Very highly recommended.

UPDATE - A month later, and as cliche as it sounds, I am constantly amazed every time I turn this speaker on. I have received quite a few free to review BT speakers since then, and I still can't get over how amazing this one speaker sounds compared to all of them. Definitely a great purchase, and I'm really happy to have 2 and the mega stereo cable!

Longer review:

Creative Labs was the audio darling of the PC sound card world. Their cards were top of the class, providing advanced features and capability that PC gamers and audiophiles craved. Then Intel and others begin including audio components on their motherboards and chip sets, and Creative lost their way. The mighty fell.

Thankfully, they have soldiered on, continuing to provide top of the line audio cards and audio capability to computer users, but at a lesser capacity than their heyday. Now they are focusing on other areas of audio, and this speaker is just one of the areas they spent a ton of research and development time/resources to make it sound nothing short of amazing. And they succeeded, hands down, making me realize how much I miss the old days of PC building.
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The sound from the Roar Portable Bluetooth Speaker is nothing short of amazing. I received a free sample from Creative for review purposes and wasn't overly excited by the idea of reviewing yet another Bluetooth Speaker. But then it arrived, I opened it and connected it to my computer and... my jaw was on the floor. I have never been this surprised by a BT speaker in my years of reviewing on Amazon.

Opening the box, you don't get the "Apple Ecstasy" of a premium product opening. To me, that's not a huge deal, but the feeling of wow of unboxing could match the absolute feeling of WOW when you power it on and hear how amazing it sounds.

There are a ton of ways to provide audio to the speaker, they include:

Bluetooth (you can connect up to 2 devices at a time, though only one will play audio obviously)
NFC (if you aren't aware, NFC is just an easier way to connect BT devices that support it)
3.5mm input
MicroSD (up to 32 GB capacity only, higher capacity does NOT work, I tried)
USB input to your computer as a USB sound card (this offers a ton of control for your audio if you choose this option)

Added features:

You can charge your phone w/ the built in battery via USB
There is an "alarm" feature for getting people's attention

Bluetooth is using BT 3.0, instead of BT 4.0, but don't let that fool you, it still sounds amazing and supports A2DP (can also be used as a speaker phone).

The audio out of this single speaker is nothing short of amazing. Highs are high. Lows are low. Mids are mid. It sounds exactly what you should expect from a high quality speaker.

Part of why this sounds so amazing is that it utilizes two amplifiers. One amp is focused on lows and mids. The other is focused just on providing accurate highs. At max volume, there is no distortion. And the amount of bass from this, when it is sitting on a flat surface, is quite thumping. There are essentially 3 speakers in the box. Two are 1.5 mm and a single down firing 2.5 mm driver that is designed to pump out bass. The grills on the side are designed to throw the bass around, and filling a room with sound is an easy proposition.

When using the Roar, be sure to place it on a flat surface with the power button facing UP. This will ensure audio plays back correctly in terms of audio quality. It CAN play in other configurations, but the problem there is that you really change the acoustics, and in the case or putting the power button facing down, the sound becomes harsh. Most people wouldn't do this, so I'm just mentioning it, just in case.

I am, right now, placing an order for a second speaker to use this is true stereo mode. Just the quality from a single speaker is this good, I can only imagine how great it will sound with the stereo feature working.

Features:

Speakerphone

Volume up/down

Power on/off

mic input for recording audio to MicroUSB (and a built in mic for speakerphone that can be used to record audio notes and record calls)

LS1 and 2, plus the off switch just allow 1 or 2 devices to connect to the speaker, turning this off allows everyone to pair with it

Terrabass (also works as the siren button) for more intelligent bass as you turn the volume down, similar to night or midnight mode on a stereo or surround receiver

Roar mode turns on a loudness option. You lose audio fidelity with this setting, but in a party setting you won't notice and it will toss sound more fully and completely around the room.
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Playback time from the battery seems to be in the 6-8 hour range for me. If you connect your phone to charge, and if you are using Bluetooth for connectivity, expect lower battery life. If you are using this at maximum volume, expect the battery life to be lower.

Overall:

In the end, at the current Amazon price, this speaker's audio quality is impossible to match elsewhere for even $50 more. It is also packed with features. I can't wait for my second speaker to arrive to test this is stereo configuration.

Very. Very. Highly recommended.

(As stated, I received a free sample from Creative for review purposes, and now I'm purchasing a second)

Pros:

Great sound for the price
Tons of connection and playback options
Loudness (Roar) button helps fill a packed room with sound
Great build quality

Cons:

Battery life can take a beating
Placement certainly helps to ensure proper audio response
When using the stereo option (2 Roar speakers together), you can only playback via BT/NFC, USB to a computer or MicroUSB (disappointing IMO, since I would love to connect this to my AUNE amp with this configuration)

For those wondering what I listened to via this speaker (this is over BT and connected to my PC through my AUNE and a 3.5mm cable):

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary
Halo Combat Evolved
Several Mozart pieces
David Bowie - Space Oddity/Earthling/Ziggy Star Dust
Moody Blues - Days of Future Past
Hikaru Utada - Various tracks
Guns N Roses - Best of
Derek and the Dominoes (Eric Clapton)
Lord of the Rings Complete Recordings (various tracks from the 3 sets)
Urusen
Trans Siberian Orchestra - Dreams of Fireflies
Cannibal Corpse - various tracks
Napalm Death - various tracks

Everything sounds great. I prefer my B&W 683s through my receiver, but from my computer, this is more than good, it's great.

EDIT 15/7/2014 - I have found that if you have a USB cable connected to your ROAR and you then use the stereo input, you may hear some buzzing interference. I solved this by simply unplugging the USB cable while using the speaker w/ stereo in.

Also, I purchased a second ROAR to test the stereo capability. Unfortunately, the Mega Stereo Cable isn't available from Creative in the US yet. And you can't order from the Singapore site (which has it in stock). I tried a standard 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cable, it doesn't work. I tried a Beats audio cable (the Creative picture shows 3 connection points, so I thought maybe a mic cable would work). This didn't work either.

EDIT- the Roar "Mega Stereo Cable" is now available and I have had the absolute pleasure of hearing 2 Roar speakers roaring in unison. The effect is nothing short of phenomenal. The inner audiophile inside of me is all sorts of tickled and amazed at just how great one speaker sounds, and how much BETTER it sounds with two. Don't get me wrong, you don't NEED 2 Roar speakers to get some fantastic music, but just know that you CAN connect 2 and get sound that will truly knock socks off and give true stereo sound.

I am now anxiously awaiting Creative listing the Mega Stereo Cable on their website so I can order it. If the effect isn't awesome, I'm sending the second speaker back and will eat the cost of the Mega Stereo. I'll update my review once I have the ability to test this out.

EDIT- I received the Roar Mega Stereo Cable today. I've been listening intently for quite some time and I have to say, just as I edited within the review proper, the sound is absolutely fantastic. Very, very impressive. I wish you could connect analog to the master speaker and have it play, but coming over the USB connection to my PC, and via BT on my phone, I don't hear any issues at all. If you have the means, two Roars are better than one, and one alone is still nothing short of phenomenal.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2014
I really wanted to like this speaker since on paper it looks promising, but in reality it's not that great.

If you're looking for a speaker with tons of features and great clear highs then this is the way to go, but in my situation I was looking for something that has deep lows with enough bass to "feel" the notes. This speaker is really lacking the bass and specially when you crank up the volume. At max volume all you hear is a "thug thug" bass even though it has dual passive radiator and a dedicated subwoofer!!

I've compared it to a cheap Bluetooth speaker called Sharkk Boombox that's sells for $59 here on Amazon, and to my surprise that Sharkk outperformed the Creative in terms of mids and lows. The creative does produce a more clear sound and never distorts, but the lack of bass really kills it.

So in conclusion:

Buy this:
1- if you're looking for a clear sound with emphasis on highs.
2- if you're looking for alot of feature in a single speaker.
3 if you need to play music directly from the unit itself using a micro SD card.

Don't buy this:
1- if you're looking for deep bass or decent lows.
2- if you want a considerably loud volume.
3- if you think that the sound quality would be as good as BOSE soundlink mini.
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144 of 181 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2014
Update #2, 8/21/14: Is this not social engineering?

Received from Soundblaster, via email:

"Like the Sound Blaster Roar? Leave us a review!

Help us to spread the word by writing a review!
If you enjoy the Sound Blaster Roar, we would love to have you leave a review on Amazon to help other customers like yourself make an informed decision on their next speaker purchase. By doing so, you'll receive a free bespoke Sound Blaster Roar Carry Bag worth $14.99 in appreciation for your review submission!

After your review has been published, copy the URL of your review and send it to us at reviews@ctl.creative.com. In order to enjoy this offer, the last day to submit your review is 31 August 2014. Please allow us up to 14 working days to process the shipping of your carry bag; as the Sound Blaster Roar is only shipped to US addresses, the Carry Bag will only be shipped to US shipping addresses.

Best Regards,
The Sound Blaster Team"

And, the Amazon rating system fails. D'oh. :(

--------------------------------------------

After this surge of "not helpful" votes I decided to double down on my rating. I played three of my favorite tracks on lower and higher volume, with the Soundblaster Roar, the Bose Soundlink Mini, and even made a special trip back to Target to test out all of the available units there. I spent quite some time at it, playing the same tracks.

After experimenting thus, I would rank the available units as follows:

#1: Sony SRS-X5 ($199, ordering one immediately)
#2: Bose Soundlink III ($299)
#3: Bose Soundlink Mini ($199)
#4: Jawbone Big Jambox ($249)
#5: Sony SRS-X3 ($149)
#6+: everything else, including this unit, the Creative Soundblaster Roar - nothing special, inadequate sound performance

I also discovered another sound quality discrepancy: sound imaging, or, the range of angle from straight-on-center from the speaker's face, in which you can still hear good, clear sound. This one is extremely poor, not even reaching a 45-degree angle in which you can still hear the treble. Further than that from straight-on, it's just some washed-out midrange noise, with no bass or treble to speak of. This is a massive challenge for this speaker, which is not shared by any of the products named above other than, to a far lesser extent, the Jawbone.

I strongly encourage you to spend some time experimenting with your music on these units at Target or Walmart prior to following the subsidized praise that this unit has received here on Amazon. Also, read some professional reviews for far more objective feedback (which, incidentally, also does not agree with the glowing praise on Amazon). On the basis of sound quality alone, this speaker is in no way competitive with any of those named above.

Enjoy your Sony or Bose! :)

---------------------------------------------

I must admit, I'm pretty surprised by the hype. The huge 5-star rating really put me on to this one. Even though I've spent some time in electronics stores trying out all of the aisles of options for bluetooth portable speakers, I never tried this one - I followed the stars and bought it. It MUST be good - more stars than even my Bose SoundLink Mini!

I've heard some that are very good (Sony SRS X5, Bose Soundlink III and Sounlink Mini) and some that are really, really not good (just about everything else - Dre Beats, smaller Sony units, everything from Sonos, Philips, so on). I'm a bit of a sound nut, I own a great many headphones in different form factors, decent speakers, subwoofers, have just about every room in the house wired up for good sound. I do enjoy my music and I enjoy listening to it on a good device, so although I am a layperson, I'm not coming at this from the perspective of ignorance.

Here's what it IS:

1) Loud enough to fill a yard, patio, large room, driveway, for good background music for a party.
2) Packed with more features than any other comparable Bluetooth speaker. (Whether these features are useful is a different issue.)
3) Decent bass (~80Hz+)-mid-treble sound from within a 2-foot range and within a relatively enclosed space.
4) Battery lasts several hours at full listening volume.

What it most emphatically is NOT, which you will not get from the glowing reviews:

1) Capable of producing full-range sound, including both highest, crisp treble, and deep bass;
2) Capable of producing balanced sound, including bass response, from more than 2 feet away;

I honestly can't fathom where all the enthusiasm for this unit comes from, unless it's "paid enthusiasm", which I suspect it is, at least in some cases.. I find pretty much all of the professional reviews (PCMag, TechRadar) to be more objective than the reviews on Amazon. There simply is no bass worth mentioning. Under 100Hz or so, forget it, you need to be within a foot of it to hear tones down to 50-60Hz and it simply has nothing below that.

The mids and trebles are alright, but certainly nowhere near as sparkling as the SoundLink Mini. I would even venture that the Mini bests this unit in bass response; although it may not get quite as loud, the bass in the SoundBlaster Roar simply doesn't project. Even on very bass or mid-bass forward electronic or rock music, once you step a yard away (or further), even in an enclosed, relatively well sound-insulated space, the unit simply does not produce enough sound pressure to make the bass notes audible. So, from half way across a small room, the sound performance has degraded into a blaring tweeter. Think, the cheap set of computer speakers you used in 1998, when having external speakers connected to the computer was first a "thing".

My overall impression, after a few hours of listening and hitting most of my favorites in my library, is that this unit sounds about as big as it is: small. There's no magic here. It's a small speaker with a big battery. The form factor is nice, to be certain, and it may have a bit more low-end range than an old-style computer speaker, but that doesn't matter much if you can't hear it when you're not standing right next to the unit, even in ideal listening conditions.

My benchmark for this criticism is twofold: 1) other BT speakers, large and small, of which I own a few and have tested many/most of the big-name offerings at least once; and 2) a decent, but low-end set of stereo/sub multimedia speakers. In the first case, you don't really care how big the thing is. They're all small relative to a full-size set of speakers or "boom box". I reckon that few users will really try to fit a portable bluetooth speaker in their purse. If you want it for a party, who cares? Put it in a bag. Perhaps, for few and far between, this could be taken camping... in which case, you could annoy the stuffing out of your neighbors on other campisites, or if braving the wild, the bears and raccoons, with some Miley Cyrus or whatever the latest movie is. In the second case, portability suffers, but it is certainly possible to get a pretty decent-sounding set of 2 speakers and a subwoofer from any number of reputable brands, in the <$50 range. Buy one for the patio, one for the garage, one for the kitchen, and one for... the bathroom?... and you've pretty well covered all the parts of your house where you might enjoy good stereo sound on occasion.

To justify the cost, I both expect good construction, battery life, so on, AND good sound - sound bigger than the box it's coming from. Otherwise, it's not doing anything special. It's just a small speaker making small-speaker noise. That, unfortunately, is what we have here. I have (and have owned) several sets of low and mid-range multimedia speakers. Some were pretty poor. But these days, in general, a pair of $30-40 computer speakers with, say, a 15-watt, 3.5" subwoofer, will produce more bass, more range, and far better projection, than this speaker. Maybe it's not a fair comparison, but I do in fact have a system like that sitting outside, on a shelf, on the porch, and we use it whenever having a party, working in the yard, eating outside, what have you, and want to play some music. It works great. In that same environment, this unit pales by comparison. It sound quality and bass projection is so poor, it's simply not worth listening to. The 3-year-old, $35 powered computer speakers that have spent their entire useful life outside, win that battle.

As regards BT speakers only, SoundLink Mini is smaller and sounds better. More expensive, certainly, but if it comes down to dollars and cents, I'm not sure you should be worrying too much about a $100+ itty-bitty portable speaker anyway. And simply dominant sound comes from SoundLink III and SRS-X5. Still certainly not the equivalent bass of a 10" subwoofer, but the bass is there, and you can hear it. It's loud, it's well-balanced, minimal or no distortion even at relatively high volumes. That, unfortunately, is where the good money is spent on a device like this.

So, given the preponderance of love for this unit, you may take my dissenting opinion with a grain of salt. Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable. Maybe for $150, this is a good deal, but for $200, it's not... I don't know. I do know that personally, I'd rather either give up the portability, spend $50, and get FAR superior sound out of an otherwise relatively ordinary set of multimedia speakers, or spend what it costs to get proper sound from Bose or Sony.

Happy listening!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2014
After doing hours of research and going to stores to actually listen to products, I decided to buy the Sound Blaster. I wanted a bluetooth speaker below $300 that was loud, clear, and had a full sound. Based on various reviews and websites, I concluded that the best products for my description were the Bose sound link mini, UE Boom, or (for a little more) the Bose Soundlink III. The soundlink mini had a good sound, but it didn't get as loud as I wanted. The base was good but for $200 I felt like I was paying for the name. The UE boom got very loud, but it lacked the base that I wanted. Honesty, the UE would have been my second choice because for $200 it offers more than the soundlink mini in terms of battery life and ruggedness. Then I heard the Soundlink III. The sound was awesome, but I felt the base was a little overpowering. It was also $300, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to dish out that kind of money on a bluetooth speaker.

It was actually through a review for the Soundlink III that I found the Sound Blaster on amazon. The reviews seemed too good to be true, but I assure you this product delivers, and for a fraction of the price of the comparable products I listed above. This thing gets loud and the base is perfect. The sound is crisp and remained clear from the low levels all the way to the maximum volume. This is a product that puts the comsumer first, as it offers an abundance of features and delivers as it promises. I don't feel like I was paying extra for a name or that this product lacked anything that I wanted. Surprisingly, it has features that I didn't even consider until I found this, such as the Link 2 bluetooth mode which allows 2 devices to be linked simultaneously for a jukebox-type experience.

Personally, I think you get more quality for your money from this product that either Bose or UE. I'm not saying those products are bad, but I believe creative has made a great product that, for me, is better that anything else on the market for my price range. I highly recomend this and believe anyone will be more than satisfied with it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2014
Update 14 July 2014: they have a white paper at creative.com/roar/whitepaper.pdf

I have no doubt this is where I will put my money. 5 stars! ROAR!!!

It is pointless to write another thumbs up review like what the overwhelming majority have done.

Thus, for those who would like to look at its cons and how the cons may affect some, here they are:

1) No audio volume indicator. It will be good to have some form of LED or even display.
2) Too many features can confuse or up the learning curve. Some people just want the features simple, just do it.
3) MicroSD Card support is only up to 32GB. If you have higher capacity, it may not work. My tiny 1GB card works.
4) MicroSD Card needs to be formatted to FAT/FAT32. If you by chance have a NTFS one, it may not work.
5) MicroSD Card playback lacks controls. You can play, pause, skip to next song, skip to next folder (by pressing and hold the forward button), random/continous play and that's all.
You cannot fast foward play a song and so on. And yes, the buttons at the back are for controlling the card playback, not bluetooth. And you cannot use Bluetooth to control the card playback.
Since the buttons are at the back, you could accidentally press back when you wanted to press forward.
6) MicroSD Card playback does not support gapless. I know Windows Media Player since day 1 has support for it, same for a certain fruit company's products. My LG phone cannot play gapless too. If you need lossless audio, I am only in luck with wav. My WMA lossless does not work. My mp3 or wma 320kbps works.
7) MicroSD Card playback is based on date/time the file is copied. FIFO. You cannot create a playlist. If you think you want to get this as a full featured jukebox, you might be disappointed. If you don't understand what is FIFO just use bluetooth.
8) Bluetooth range is ok, but not always satisfying your expectations. My experience is the range is less than my wireless keyboard/mouse. If you are in an area full of bluetooth and wifi signals, good luck. If you keep on thinking about why the price is half of the competitor and why it is made in China, you may start losing confidence.
9) If you looking at voice recording at 16bit 48kHz, you may want to ask Creative tech support how it could be done.
10) Microphone to answer phone call is really ok, just ok only. A tad soft. If you have Soundblaster Axx 200, you will know what is the benchmark.
11) To optimally and efficiently charge the roar, you will need to use the supplied AC charger, not any generic 5V 1A.
12) Micro USB port is not very strong, just like Nexus 7 (2012). Take care if you plug in and out using USB cable daily.
13) The device is a little heavy compared to speakers like Soundblaster Axx 200. If you are neither strong nor careful, let me know the drop test result. I have yet to.
14) It is a rectangular box like device that occupies a large footprint compared to speakers like Soundblaster Axx 200. If you prefer a tiny footprint, do not get the Roar. To achieve optimal audio results, you may have to try positioning it near a wall, at a corner of the room and so on.
15) Since it can connect to the desktop/laptop, you might think it can allow you to enjoy SBX effects on your favorite cans. There is no audio jack out. For gamers, there is no scout mode. Finally, changing SBX effects is not available through Android/iOS app.
16) If you connect it to AC power and up the volume, you may find it louder than without AC power.
17) If you find it too bassy, you might want to send it back for a refund. I have 2 suggestions. If you just want good mids/highs, small footprint/lighter/more features, better mic, get Soundblaster Axx 200. If you want to set it to neutral, connect to desktop/laptop, download SBX software (SoundBlaster Control Panel) and tune it.
18) If you think it can outperform your 5.1 system/expensive soundbar, you will find its lack of stereo separation a regret. Solution is buy another Roar with the mega stereo cable to link up for wider soundstage. Note that the mega stereo cable is not an ordinary jack. It is slightly modified.
19) The 6000mAh battery is non-removable, not user replaceable unless you are prepared to do soldering. My old Nokia feature phone battery is still working fine. Try to avoid draining the battery to zero too often, this can help to lengthen battery lifespan.
20) The 5V 1A output can hardly charge large tablets. If you think of buying this just as a powerbank, think twice. After struggling to fully charge my LG Optimus Pro G (3140mah), it can hardly roar. Meow it goes.
21) Battery life is ok, just plain ok. Nowhere near Soundblaster Axx 200. When battery life is low, it cannot output loud enough. You may want to buy a huge capacity powerbank for this.
22) It is mainly dark gray in color. No other colors available including the accessories.
23) Like any bluetooth device, you may have a device that is not willing to pair with it or you like to hear sudden pause in your music/audio.
24) Like my Soundblaster Axx 200, you may have a certain laptop/desktop that somehow refuse to interact well with the Roar even after reinstall, reset, change micro USB cable and so on. Oh yes, older USB cables may not work well.
25) It is not waterproof. The large horizontal top increases the probability of water invading the drivers.
26) My Efergy power monitoring socket finds it consume more power during charging than Soundblaster Axx 200. 2 amplifiers means more power needed. To be fair, it still consumes less power than most 2.1 systems.
27) No built-in FM tuner. So many features and yet this is missing. It was the standard in all Creative mp3 players (once upon a time...).
20) No frequency response given. Doesn't matter. Certain frequencies are inaudible to humans. Give me a frequency response curve with SNR, that's better. You have a new fan and wants to know its rpm. I prefer to personally experience the wind (coverage, distance, timer, remote control) and noise from it during a hot afternoon.
29) Creative is trying to make a comeback. Well, compared to some other brand that can sell very well even with twice this price, this brand still has some way to go. In fact, the Roar that you are getting today is like Roar 1.1 (some features added recently). I will not rule out a Roar 2 coming within a year that functions as a full jukebox too.

I will update once I encounter new flaws.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2014
I looked all over the place in malls, online, and electronics stores for a quality Bluetooth speaker to be used primarily outside. I made a few mistakes based upon other reviewed products and manufacturer claims. I came across this product recently on Amazon and continued reading about it on other sites as well as watching the overwhelmingly supportive reviews continue to climb on this site. I hit up my wife for early approval to buy my own birthday present and made the purchase. When it arrived, I opened the box and within 60 seconds I had it paired to my phone and playing. It had also received the attention of my three kids and drawing them out of their bedrooms. We listened to it for almost two hours over many different genres of music from Disney to Metallica. I am very pleasantly surprised by the volume, but more importantly, the quality of the sound. I research endlessly and tirelessly when making audio purchases. It took me over a month to buy my home surround audio system. It took me the same amount of time roughly to buy my last pair of headphones because of the traveling that I do. Please trust, I did the same thing here, despite the reviews, because hearing is believing. This is one of the best purchases that I have ever made from a tech standpoint and will encourage friends and family to buy it also. Trust the time that I put into it as well as the other reviewers and just buy it.
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