Creative SoundBlaster Roar 2 Review – heavy still but roars better
• Better sound over BT
• Solid control buttons
• Standing posture directs sound effectively
• Not waterproof/ shockproof
Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 is the next variant of the Roar, launched in March this year. It is a portable wireless speaker with built in Bluetooth, NFC, aptX sound decoder, audio player, audio recorder, battery and a micro SD card slot for audio playback and recording storage.
Roar 2 maintains its legacy styling, playback controls and more importantly, the speaker drivers that made the previous Roar a classic piece for wireless music.
It might look like there are no major design changes on the new Soundblaster Roar 2, but there is a slight shuffle inside that alters a lot of things. The speaker drivers placed at the front face are moved to the top, beside the bass driver to free up space. Firstly, this makes the speaker smaller; and secondly, the orientation can now officially be that of a standing one too.
This doesn’t affect the sound quality much but I definitely found myself placing it in the standing mode often. The sound is more directional now, since all drivers pump out sound in one common space.
When kept flat on the table, the sound is surely filling, the listener being far away or a group of them. Soundblaster Roar 2 is meant for different kind of use, clear from the idea behind the first Roar. Some portable Bluetooth speakers use a metal-fabric mesh for waterproofing and rugged build on a smaller and lighter form factor for use on travel – like the UE BOOM or some are just lighter and smaller – like the Bose Soundlink Color. Soundblaster Roar (or the Roar 2) is completely different. It’s big and heavy in comparison, and comes to use mostly indoors, excluding bathrooms or kitchens, and to picnics that exclude waterparks, off road trails or something that doesn’t have a walk or water in plan. It’s not waterproof, shockproof or ‘anyproof’ that a rugged travel speaker should be.
On the contrary, it has a way bigger sound – both louder and heavier, that can easily compete with even a desktop 2.1 if required. This is a clear distinction that shall guide you in deciding which one to go for.
Creative has replaced the rubber sheath with plastic which has improved buttons to a more tactile, solid and amply protruding ones. They curve outwards instead of inwards and are made of solid plastic material instead of rubbery. Rest of the top face is covering speaker drivers is a close knit metal grille.
The bombastic sound of Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 is its major selling point and the reason why you would buy it over more handy, waterproof, colorful or cheaper ones.
It uses 5 speakers – two main drivers for high frequency, a big bass driver that takes majority of the space in the center, and two bass radiators that work for dispersion sideways. While the number of speakers remains same as the first Roar, the sound feels more refined on Roar 2, majorly due to the placement shuffle and a change in the bass radiator set.
At low volume, bass can be boosted at will, which is quite unique. The audio becomes powerful without needing high sound level or affecting the subtlety, and it becomes useful in the stand mode for personal listening. But you wouldn’t need it often as the sound is inherently clear and impressively detailed (and that is why the button has been shifted from top to the back edge?). Soundblaster Roar’s wide soundstage is an intriguing quality that would let you listen hours of music, playing uninterruptedly in the background.
The instrument reproduction of the speaker is inherently powerful due to dedicated tweeters and a big mids driver. Apparently, music from wirelessly connected smartphone/laptop didn’t sound very different from when connected using 3.5mm cable, when ‘Roar’ is turned on (a dedicated button toggles TERA Bass which is the extra bass mode and ‘Roar’ mode that widens output by engaging side radiators more aggressively).
You might also find challenges in connecting it with a micro USB due to lack of proper windows drivers or the way it’s setup. But the output is best among the three options.
For a Bluetooth speaker, Roar 2 has a lot of ports; but they are placed in a more organized fashion than the Roar.
There is a USB, micro USB, charging and Aux-in port beside the microSD card slot. The ports aren’t covered under a flap which is convenient; a separate space is carved out for them that protects them in daily use.
While the Aux and Micro USB port are for wired playback, the latter can also charge Roar 2 within about 2-3 hours, providing both a dedicated charging and universal charging option. For long continuous use, the charging port will free up the micro USB for connection. Another USB port is for charging smartphone from the speaker’s built-in battery.
Anyways, the Alarm option is removed now. And the highly anticipated FM radio wasn’t added. The SD card needs NTFS formatting to be detected by the speakers. Two smartphones can be connected simultaneously but song cannot be changed from the speaker controls. Its less of a speaker you carry around and not much of a speaker you keep at one place in the house for all types of playback (all means all).