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Truth be told, at the end of the day most iPod speaker docks just aren’t loud enough. Sure they may sound good, but often end up distorted when cranked at a higher volume. If they even can get that loud. The JVC RV-NB50 does not suffer this problem. While not a perfect iPod speaker system by any means, the Kaboom does enough stuff right to satisfy anyone looking to seriously blast some loud music without the loss of fidelity. However, if you want only the best, then check out our best speakers list.
To start with the Kaboom’s visual presence would be the obvious one. It pretty much looks like a bomb, which must have been the idea since it literally goes off like one. I personally liked the way it looked, but my roommate and some others thought the aesthetic was too gaudy and didn’t fit into the modern contemporary feel of our apartment. I mean, most people would say that they wouldn’t want anything sitting around their place that looked like a bomb right? Especially in these trying times, I’m sure!
Apart from the glaring resemblances of the aforementioned detonation device, carrying this beast could have been dealt with more efficiently. The shoulder strap was uncomfortable and the handgrips on each side of the Kaboom should have been more ergonomic. The strap used your typical weave, and could have easily had a cushion insert so your shoulders didn’t wear the mark of carrying it around for more than 5 minutes. The grips could also have easily had some squishy adhesives instead of the open plastic backing that exposed the handle’s innards.
Related: See also our Native Union MM04I Honey Comb BT iDock review.
Function-wise, the RV-NB50 plays MP3 and WMA files from a CD or a USB drive in addition to whatever is on your iPod. Do people still do that? The front side USB input didn’t charge an iPhone, I can tell you that. The included remote lets you navigate through folders and settings with ease just don’t lose it because you won’t be able to do a lot of stuff without it.
What I found to be the most troublesome aspect of using the JVC RV-NB50 was that it would never recognize my iPhone or iPod touch immediately. I would have to remove it and place it back in the dock all while futzing with the play/pause button on the face of the RV-NB50. Pretty annoying really. I have run into this with other JVC speaker docks and I don’t understand what their problem is. It also always wanted to put me in airplane mode which just added to the frustration.
See also: Our JBL OnBeat Air review.
Another gripe I had was managing playlists and songs in the RV-NB50. While the casing surrounding the iPod was clear, you had to unlatch it to change the songs. Being that it was set so low in the RV-NB50 and depending on where you have the boombox situated, changing songs and artists can be a real pain. The remote lets you get through the menus OK, but it’s much faster on the actual iPod. What would have made the RV-NB50 crazy awesome would have been a resistive screen that let you touch through to an iPhone or iPod Touch. Also, the connector is really wobbly and didn’t feel all that secure.
Once you got the iPod playing, however, the RV-NB50 cranked some serious jams. The bass knob had 6 levels of low end that was easily adjustable and really sounded great across almost all of my MP3s. The RV-NB50 had a bunch of preset sound settings that added a nice touch to the sound spectrum. I noticed that the RV-NB50 would also pick apart your bit rate whenever it wanted to, and really stressed the importance of quality MP3s, which in the end is a good thing I’d say. The RV-NB50 really held its quality of sound once the volume was turned up and is easily the biggest selling point of this boombox.
The radio also sounded really nice and clear with the bass adding what most radio signals desperately need. The LCD display was a bright blue and was pretty easy to read with its everyday clock style digits.
So while facing some serious interface and connectivity issues, the JVC RV-NB50 will still be optimal for any BBQ, beach outing, or any other scenario where you need your tunes to be heard. Clear and unobtrusively banging, the RV-NB50 is a great addition to anyone who needs loud and responsive music around the house or on the go. Capable of being wireless, you gotta stuff 10 D batteries up in the RV-NB50 ( buy some rechargeable ones ), and there’s even a separate after-market car plug for your next Honda Element adventure.
Buy the JVC RV-NB50 Kaboom System here for $240!