JLab Audio Block Party and House Party Bluetooth Speakers Review
Feb 11, 2017 at 10:34 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

red71rum

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JLab Audio Party Series Wireless Multiroom Bluetooth Speakers
 
 
 
 

Here are the what the speakers looked like when they arrived.
 
 
 
 

Here you can see the size difference between the Block Party and the House Party Speakers.
 
 
After checking out the 2017 CES, I was intrigued by the wireless multi-room speaker offering that JLab Audio was showcasing, the Party Series Wireless Muti-room Bluetooth Speakers which can connect of up to 8 speakers. While I mainly use wired speakers and amplifiers, I had sometimes looked at the expensive offerings by Sonos and how they used wifi to connect their speakers. I thought that wireless speakers like this could a different way of having speakers where wires and receivers might not be the best choice. I decided to contact JLab and they sent me one of their Block Party and one of their House Party speakers to check out.
 
 

Here are the speakers ready to be used.
 
First Impressions
After receiving the speakers, my first impressions were that they are sturdy. The speakers are mostly metal, making them feel substantial in my hands. The speakers are rounded, with no sharp edges, with a nice elegant modern look to them without being too showy. Even the larger Block Party speaker does not take up too much space and would be able to fit in multiple locations that might be difficult for a regular wired speaker to be used. Also the ability to be on for 9 hours without having to be connected to a power source is a big plus.
 
 

Here is the House Party speaker in share mode in another room.
 
 
Accessories
 
Both the Block and House speakers come with a micro usb cable, but the Block Party speaker also comes with a ac power adapter and removable handle. As a bonus, both speakers have 3 months of Pandora Plus included also.
 

A close up of the available connection on the Block Party.
 

A view of the back of the Block Party speaker
 
 
Build Quality\Controls
As I mentioned above the speakers are made of metal. They seem very well built. The larger Block Party speaker has the addition of a removable rubberized handle making it easier to carry the larger speaker outside or wherever you want to move it. The controls are all on top of both the Block and House Party speakers. They have a nice rubberized feel and do seem to be rugged and at the same time are made in a way that will not wear out or be damaged easily. The controls consist of the power button, volume\battery level\eq change and a Bluetooth\sharing button. There is also another multifunction button(with the JLab logo) above the other controls that changes from share mode\receive mode\play\pause. It is very easy to pair a speaker a phone or Bluetooth device. After powering on the speaker, the button with the JLab logo will either pulse blue or have a white rotating ring. If it is blue you are in Bluetooth mode, if it is white you have to click on the Bluetooth\share button to decide whether you want this speaker to be the one that receives Bluetooth or shares with another speaker. Anyway, after you have chosen what speaker to receive the Bluetooth signal you can then add up to eight Block\House party speakers all over the house utilizing JLab Audio’s Connect 8 technology. The speakers use their own 5.8ghz frequency and can connect to each other from over 100ft away. That way you can have speakers all over the house as long as your phone\bluetooth device is 30 ft away from the paired speaker. This way, you could have multiple speakers connected at a location such as an outside party without the need for wifi. These speakers last nine hours on a charge. These speakers also utilize universal controls, so say you are in one room with a speaker, you can either play or pause all the speakers at once. The speakers also have a sleep mode that allows the speakers to still be connected even while plugged in or idle. The Block Party speaker has 50 watts of amplification while the House Party speaker has 20 watts of amplification. The speakers also have and IPX5 splash proof rating.
 

 

I used the speakers outside while playing soccer with my kids
 
Sound
For most of the testing I used my Samsung Galaxy 7 and my wife’s Iphone 7 Plus. While the speakers do not utilize AptX, I was not able to tell. I found that they had a decently wide soundstage for speakers that are this small. They were able to fill a room with undistorted sound, I was able to pick up individual instruments when listening to Chris Cornell’s Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart of his Truth album. I listened to mostly FLAC recordings and the speakers had decent but not overblown bass and the treble was not harsh. I was able to listen to music from the speakers for a couple of hours without it being fatiguing. These speakers have 3 speakers on 3 of its sides and each speaker has two drivers and a DSP processor. The block party utilizes (2) 15w three-inch high frequency drivers, (2) 7.5w one-inch tweeters, (2) three-inch passive subwoofers while the House party utilizes (2) two-inch 10w full-range drivers, (2) two-inch passive subwoofers. JLab Audio uses their C3 Sound to help the speakers sound clear without distortion. Since these speakers have an AUX connection, I connected my Xduoo X3 dap to them, I prefer the sound form the X3 over my Samsung Galaxy S7. The speakers also have two EQ settings for inside and outside, but I could not really tell the difference.
 
 
Conclusion
Overall I think that the speakers are a great deal. I like the fact that you can say plug in an MP3 player\DAP into the AUX connection or you can use your phone via Bluetooth as long as you do not move more than 30 ft away from the paired speaker. I also think like that they use the 5.8ghz frequency instead of wifi, so it makes it easier to use these speakers in different locations. I would have liked to have AptX to be included, but maybe that would not have really mattered I guess. The House Party speaker works great for most rooms, and is loud enough at 20 watts of amplification. The Block Party speaker with the 50 watt amplifier is even better and could be used at a larger room or outdoor event. At $99 for the House Party and $149 for the Block Party, their size, portability, and sound quality make them easy for me to recommend.
 
Feb 14, 2017 at 10:32 PM Post #2 of 4

MomJenniferRose

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Thanks for the review!  I am considering these speakers and I was wondering if you would assist in a few practical concerns. I appreciate your unbiased assessment.
Are you able to use one of the remote speakers on a different floor in your house? Like the basement, upper level from the main unit, or with the parent unit inside and a 2nd one outside?  My house does not have the modern wide-open floor plan so any use of this system on one level would have at least some wall in the way.
Does the speaker accept bluetooth connections while being plugged into an AUX?  Does the AUX allow for pause/play to be controlled by the speakers' buttons?
 
Feb 15, 2017 at 8:59 AM Post #3 of 4

red71rum

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  Thanks for the review!  I am considering these speakers and I was wondering if you would assist in a few practical concerns. I appreciate your unbiased assessment.
Are you able to use one of the remote speakers on a different floor in your house? Like the basement, upper level from the main unit, or with the parent unit inside and a 2nd one outside?  My house does not have the modern wide-open floor plan so any use of this system on one level would have at least some wall in the way.
Does the speaker accept bluetooth connections while being plugged into an AUX?  Does the AUX allow for pause/play to be controlled by the speakers' buttons?


Yes, I used them on different floors and I did try the main and slave speaker, and tried each one inside and one outside the house. I found that I had virtually no dropouts, but it did happen on occasion, but that is what you get with the convenience of a wireless system. Unfortunately I did not try having both the aux and bluetooth connected at the same time, I either used my DAP or phone, never both at the same time. I also did not try pausing with the controls on the speakers while connected via AUX. I have already sent the speakers back unfortunately so I cannot test that out. I would call JLab directly to ask them(I looked at the online manual also and could not find that), they have very helpful tech support at 1-866-358-6640.
 
Feb 16, 2017 at 6:21 PM Post #4 of 4

red71rum

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Thanks for the review!  I am considering these speakers and I was wondering if you would assist in a few practical concerns. I appreciate your unbiased assessment.
Are you able to use one of the remote speakers on a different floor in your house? Like the basement, upper level from the main unit, or with the parent unit inside and a 2nd one outside?  My house does not have the modern wide-open floor plan so any use of this system on one level would have at least some wall in the way.
Does the speaker accept bluetooth connections while being plugged into an AUX?  Does the AUX allow for pause/play to be controlled by the speakers' buttons?


I spoke with JLab and this is their answer:

“The Party Series speakers will not accept a Bluetooth connection if there is an AUX cable plugged in. When an AUX cable is plugged in, the speaker defaults to play from the AUX source. If you are playing from a device through AUX, the speaker can still connect/cast to other Party Series speakers via wifi. When playing from a device through AUX, the play/pause button on the speaker will not control your device.”
 

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