JVC Kaboom RV-NB50 iPod Boombox Review

JVC Boombox - 8

JVC-Kaboom-RV-NB50-iPod-Boombox-Review

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.

To start off 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!

JVC Boombox - 2

Apart from the glaring resemblances an aforementioned detonation device, carrying this beast could have been dealt with in an easier manner.  The shoulder strap was uncomfortable and the hand grips 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 handles innards.

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.  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 do do a lot of stuff without it.

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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.

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 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.

JVC Boombox - 6

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 MP3’s.  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 MP3’s, 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 an separate after market car plug for your next Honda Element adventure.

Pros:

  • Excessively loud
  • Great bass and overall sound
  • Various modes and functions

Cons:

  • Whack interface and connectivity issues
  • Uncomfortable strap and handles
  • Questionable visual flair

Buy the JVC RV-NB50 Kaboom System here for $240!

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14 Comments

  1. I bought one to replace my 5 year old NB20 but after comparing them side by side I quickly sent the NB50 back to the store.  I conduct dance lessons and hold medium size dances with the 20 and people like the sound.  I was hoping to use a memory stick for music but that doesn’t work because I can’t arrange a playlist on it and using an Ipod could work but is difficult because of the limited control available. 

  2. Thanks for the review! Two questions for clarification:

    1. Does the RV-NB50 have an auxiliary mini-jack audio input, or not? Chexin51, below, says not, Amazon says yes: “For additional flexibility, there’s a front audio input.” Which is it?

    2. “…and there’s even an separate after market car plug…”
    Do you mean I can POWER the unit through a car accessory power plug (“cigarette lighter”)? Or that I can simply run the sound through an accessory AUDIO plug output. Would appreciate a clarification. Ideally, I'm looking for something for car camping, so powering a unit through by a 12V car accessory (“cigarette lighter”) power hookup would be ideal. If not this, any suggestions on other ipod amplifier products?

    1. I cant find the damn auxillary for this boombox. I bought it a month ago and was extremely pissed that it doesnt have one, just an audio cord. good thing i have the touch, or ive definitely return it.

      1. Thanks, Jimmy, very useful info. Your advice matches chexin51. Looks like Amazon's description is wrong. Where did you get yours? I can't find one at any local store to check it out.

  3. Great bass – good volume – missing some high frequencies – limited eq presets – beat,pop,flat,clear -one obvious ommission is an audio input to accept any non- IPod mp3 player – JVC wake up and smell the coffee – the USB input will work but you can't see or select songs from your mp3 player – you can use the remote to goto the next song but you don't know which one – this problem can be solved with a USB to Audio adapter such as Griffin IMic for 40 dollars – the best player in its category but it still could be better

    1. Correction from chexin51 – the Griffin USB to Audio adapter does NOT work but they did refund my purchase so they are OK. Tried some cables to access the IPod dock connector I get “No IPod” on the display and no sound so I'm still researching for a fix on that front. So far the only way to use a non IPod mp3 player is usung a FM transmitter to access an unused frequency on the FM band but I can only get 80% volume.

  4. Thanks for the comments! I in fact did mention that the remote control was capable of menu navigation and that it would have been easier if you could touch through. Also I didn't praise the iPhone connectivity because nowadays everything should be iPhone compatible.

    Besides that, I aslo made it aware that I was also having connectivity issues with the iPod touch which is clearly pictured on the box as being compatible. This isn't the first time I have experienced this issue with JVC products.

    Don't get me wrong, I really liked the core offering of this product, but the total package could be greatly improved upon.

  5. theres no aux! there are headphone jacks in the back but thats all it does. What if i want to plug in another mp3 player?

  6. I own the JVC RV-Nb 50 Kaboom and I can attest that you can access track and artist without having to open the door and physically handle the iPod. I have an iPod Touch and a Nano and have had no problems. Look at the instructions before writing a review that is unfair and doing a great deservice to your readers next time.
    Scott D.

    1. The connectivity has failed with my ipod touch. Just decided to stop working. Ipod appears to be working ok as it charges and sync's with pc. This is what the original review may have been talking about with connectivity issues. I feel the design allows for to much movement of the ipod in the doc.

  7. I own one of these and can understand some of your points. A) The fact it plays the iPhone at all shoud be pointed out as a great feature. This unit is not iphone compatible. A quick view of the directions would have told you that. B) Don't lose the remote….? Same could be said for any TV. C) Seems funny to question the visual design when Sony and others have aggressive designs as well. Sony Xplod for example. This is a Boombox for crying out loud…The Sony stuff is cheaper and does not come close to the sound quality of the JVC. Quite frankly…there is nothing like this on the market today…I looked everywhere. If you need a boom box to play outdoors, or fill a gym…and is built like a Sherman Tank, then this unit is for you. If you need a stylish modern looking desktop unit…to play at low volumes…..well there are hundereds of those….

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