We’ve seen what Monster can do with a boombox before. Alex was quite impressed with what he saw from the Superstar Monster Blaster back when he reviewed it. Monster is back with a brand new Monster Blaster, and this time they’ve partnered with Joe Perry to help tune a special Classic Rock setting on the speaker. Keep reading to see how the Monster Blaster Classic Rock edition performs in this full review.
- Exclusive Classic Rock Mode Designed and Hand-Tuned by Rock Legend Joe Perry
- V-Sound™ Bidirectional Drivers for Direct and Reflected Sound
- Power Bass Powered Subwoofer for Real Bass Response
- Designed for Portability with Integrated Handle
- USB Device Charging for Your Mobile Device
- Bluetooth Audio Streaming for Untethered Wireless Freedom
- Water-Resistant All-Weather Design for Outdoor Use
- 3.5mm Stereo Analog Input to Connect any Audio Source
- 3.5mm Microphone Level Input makes the Blaster a Portable PA System
- Battery Life LED Display Indicates Charge Level
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
- Monster Blaster Classic Rock Edition speaker
- Power adapter
- Drawstring carrying pouch
- Quick start guide
If you’ve read Alex’s review of the first Monster Blaster, there aren’t too many surprises at least in terms of the shape and size of the speaker. Looking at the speaker from the side, it’s roughly a rounded triangle. The Monster Blaster is approximately 18″ long, 7 ½” tall, and 8″ wide at its widest point, making for a big speaker. The Monster logo and name mark are embossed on the handle, with “Superstar Monster Blaster” written just underneath the handle on either side of the speaker. For ease of description, considering the speaker looks basically identical from both sides, when discussing right or left, that will be when looking at the speaker with the Monster name mark facing you.
The two hard plastic ends include all of the controls and ports. The right end includes the power button in the middle, with crossed guitars and “Joe Perry’s Rock Your World” written around inside of the circular power button. Holding down this button for a few seconds turns the speaker on, holding for several more seconds enters pairing mode, and you just have to basically tap the button to turn the speaker off when you’re done. On either side of the power button are up/down arrows to control volume. The volume is indicated via a series of eight LED lights just below the power button. Just above the power button is the Mode button, which switches between Modern and Classic Rock modes. The LED indicators showing what mode the speaker is in are just below the volume LED lights.
The left end has four LED lights that indicate the power level of the speaker near the top, with the NFC contact point just below. A rubber flap lifts up from the bottom, keeping the ports underneath covered, and giving the speaker a little bit of water resistance. Underneath the flap you’ll find ports including Aux In, Mic In, USB charging out, a pinhole reset button, and the charging adapter port.
The body of the speaker is still covered with a metal speaker grille around nearly the entire body of the speaker. The only areas not covered by the speaker grille are the two end caps, and the top center where the handle is attached and the area immediately underneath the handle on the top part of the speaker.
Some of the only visual differences between this speaker and the original Monster Blaster include the gold exterior coloring, as well as a quick drawing and printed autograph from Joe Perry himself in the flat area under the handle. This speaker also features the Classic Rock mode specifically tuned by Joe Perry, which we’ll discuss in greater length in the sound section below.
Otherwise, there are long rubber feet on each end of the underside of the speaker. This is definitely a very solid speaker. It’s got a good weight and heft to it, giving it a good quality feel.
EASE OF USE
The Monster Blaster still includes NFC pairing, which makes connecting super easy provided you have an NFC enabled device. Simply turn on the speaker, tap the device to the NFC contact point on the left side of the speaker, and you’ll receive a prompt to connect. Without NFC, pairing isn’t too much more difficult, you’ll just need to turn on the speaker, hold the power button for a few seconds to enter pairing mode, and then pair via the Bluetooth settings on your device.
Once you’re connected, using the Monster Blaster is also very straightforward. Stream music from your device as you would normally, and raise or lower the volume via your device or the volume controls on the speaker. There are not independent volume controls here, but the volume range is more than acceptable without it.
The main wrinkle outside of normal streaming will be using the Mode button to switch between Modern and Classic Rock modes. You may need to first tap the Mode button if the LED lights on the side aren’t lit in order to “wake up” the speaker display. From there you’ll see an LED next to which mode you’re currently in — Modern or Classic Rock mode. Tapping Mode again will switch you to the other tuning setting. There is a short break in the music as it switches from one mode to the other.
In a word: big. This is a speaker that gets loud and puts out all kinds of sound. Even without independent audio control, there’s plenty of differentiation in the volume. What Monster refers to as V-Sound really just means that there are drivers pointing slightly up from both sides of the speaker. From here, you can create huge sound either in an open area with the audio spilling forth from both sides or in a more enclosed area, up against a wall the sound can reflect up and off of the wall.
The sound coming out isn’t just loud, it sounds good. On the Modern setting, you’re going to get what the company refers to as Pure Monster Sound. In headphones, I’ve honestly thought that pushes the low end just maybe slightly too hard, but on the boombox it really sounds great. For such a big pair of speakers, I did find some of the really low end missing, so stuff like Dubstep was just missing a little bit of the “wubs.” Everything else from rock, pop, jazz, funk, and everything in between sounded pretty great.
The Classic Rock setting does things just slightly differently. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that bass is handled just a little bit differently. You’re still getting huge bass sound, but it’s predominantly the bass guitar that gets boosted and beefed up here. This provides a much more stable platform for the mids and highs, guitars and vocals to sit on. Modern music already has much of this benefit with stronger, louder bass guitar and other heavy bass tones, so this setting really brings up bass guitar in areas where it needs it and tunes mids/highs to mix well with their new beefier basslines.
Since this was a Joe Perry tuned speaker, and since Joe said he used this speaker as a reference when mixing his new solo album, I figured I should probably check out Sweetzerland Manifesto. I listened to a whole lot of the album across multiple devices to see what I felt was really the best overall experience. On the Monster Blaster, the Classic Rock setting was the clear winner, though it didn’t sound bad on the Modern setting by any means. I did find some of the bass hit just a little bit bigger on a pair of headphones, but the album does really sound great coming out of the Monster Blaster.
Full disclosure, with a newborn in the house, and Chicago winter outside, my opportunities for listening to huge room-shaking audio were limited, so I didn’t get to completely drain the battery during my testing with the Monster Blaster. That said, my time using the speaker should parse out to about 15-16 hours of total battery life depending on your volume and other usage factors. Using the USB port to charge your device will obviously affect battery life, as will listening to louder volumes. When you’ve managed to kill the battery, it takes a few hours to charge it back up. Monster does recommend charging overnight rather than keeping the speaker plugged in while in use.
This may be a sticking point for some. The Monster Blaster Classic Rock edition speaker has an MSRP of $599.95 USD, though it’s currently priced at $449.95 USD. The current price is absolutely better, though that’s still very expensive. That said, there is definite value here as well. You’ve already read about how this is a big, well built, and very loud speaker. If you like having room-filling audio that you can easily pick up and take with you, this is a great way to do that. If you listen to a lot of classic rock and just don’t feel like modern tuning is doing your music justice, the Classic Rock mode may be right up your alley.
With what we’ve seen lately it’s pretty safe to say that the boombox is back. The Monster Blaster Classic Rock edition offers a big, powerful speaker with a classic rock mode hand-tuned by the legend, Joe Perry himself. That guy knows a thing or two about classic rock, and the results here really are pretty great. This is a boombox with some extra personality and a few extra tricks up its sleeves.