Sony today announced a new line of party speakers – three robust and portable units that promise to bring powerful music and other outdoor entertainment features.
Sony’s X-Series features the SRS-XP700 and SRS-XP500, both of which take design signals from PA speakers, as well as the SRS-XG500 which looks more like a modern interpretation of a boombox.
In Australia, these three units will be available from June 2021, and the SRS-XP700 and SRS-XP500 cost 699 Australian dollars (about 420/350 pounds) and 499 US dollars (about 300/250 pounds), while the SRS-XG500 costs 629 AUD (about 380 USD / 320 GBP). Prices and availability for other regions have yet to be announced.
All three units derive their name from the non-circular X-Balanced speaker units that, Sony claims, offer “richer, clearer sound regardless of the style of music you listen to” due to increased sound pressure and reduced distortion provided by the larger diaphragm.
Each speaker also has ambient lighting, similar – if not identical – in style to Sony’s Extra Bass speaker range (such as the SRS-XB33), allowing for multiple patterns of light to match the music.
Another common feature in the X-Series is the ability of each speaker to accept either a microphone or a guitar input, allowing for karaoke sessions or, presumably, an improvised guitar amp if you’re desperate.
As mentioned, the XP700 and XP500 have a shape factor similar to PA speakers, but have integrated sensors that allow them to optimize sound whether placed vertically or horizontally.
These two speakers also have a range of tweeters alongside the main drivers, with the larger one having three at the front and one at the rear for omnidirectional sound, and the smaller one with just two at the front.
All three speakers have a neat carrying handle and promise long battery life (no specifics yet), but the XG500 brings an open-ended cake thanks to its IP66 weather resistance rating and water-repellent grid. The XP700 and XP500 have an IPX4 rating, which should prevent you from getting into trouble in bad weather.
Speakers of fun without fun
Sony’s timing with these speakers may seem inappropriate given the various blockages and quarantines faced by countries around the world, but this could suggest why we’ve seen Australian product details so far (we contacted Sony for more information on this).
The concept of party speakers is certainly not new, but of the Bluetooth speakers launched in the pandemic era, we have seen more success in smaller, personal speakers like the Sonos Roam, which we loved for its robust, compact design and lush but not loud sound.
Another space we’ve seen getting more attention during Covid-19 are smart speaker families – for households that don’t necessarily invest in an expensive hi-fi system or would rather have a few smaller speakers throughout the house, smart speakers like the Sonos One have a lot sense.