In the segment of acoustics, the size matters. Despite all the technological advances, the laws of physics will not be ignored. Therefore, for powerful and percussive sound, volume is required. But Creative iRoar Go promises to give all the same in a compact package, positioning itself as a universal multimedia device for home and outdoor recreation. It will be interesting to see what happened to Creative.
In September 2014 Creative introduced the first generation of the Roar Bluetooth speaker, which provided additional functions compared to other compact speakers, and also gave a more powerful and high-quality sound. The idea was successful, so in mid-2015, Creative released a slightly reduced new version. In the same year Creative introduced iRoar Pro, and a few weeks later it was followed by the usual iRoar. At the end of the summer of 2016, the fifth generation was already introduced, but the Creative iRoar Go speaker appeared relatively recently.
With each new version we received new functions, but you can not name revolutionary differences. The Creative iRoar Go speaker was the first representative of the line aimed at street use. Also, the price is very attractive: in the retail speaker you can find from 170 euros.
Recently tested “junior” Bluetooth-speakers MUVO 2 and MUVO 2c stand out in bright colors, but for iRoar Go Creative chose a modest coloring. The design of the speaker is dominated by black and dark gray colors, the sides are marked with silver frames and the same passive radiators. It seems that the speaker was released in the 70s of the XX century. And the form corresponds. The fifth generation follows the footsteps of the design of the first Roar, but the resemblance to the portable cassette tape recorder is indelible.
The front panel is covered with a metal mesh, which is continued to the bottom of the speaker. To the right and to the left on the sidewalls are rectangular passive radiators, finished with a metallic with the inscription Creative. The emitters have a texture in the form of concentric circles, whimsically reflecting light. On the top panel there are two rubber doors and a panel with buttons. Doors are necessary to provide protection against moisture: behind them are hidden five interfaces. But certification IPX6 provides only protection against splashes and water jets. Creative iRoar Go speaker should not be immersed in water or “bathed” in the sand.
The hull seems quite reliable, which is facilitated by the metal rims of the sidewalls. The grid of the front and bottom panels is also metal, plastic is used only on the rear panel and on the side panels with passive radiators. Also, Creative closed the rubber with all the buttons, rubber bands are installed from below and behind, thanks to which the speaker will be stable on the surface.
The quality of the test sample is excellent, we did not find any uneven gaps, sharp edges or other defects. Unless to rubber covers it is necessary to get used. They are opened with difficulty, and in order to close them tightly, they will have to sweat. Yet a plastic design with rubber pads inside would be more practical.
With dimensions of 192 x 97 x 54 mm and a weight of 810 g, the Creative iRoar Go speaker can not be called very compact or light, but it fits easily in a backpack, and you can hold the speaker with one hand. Unlike MUVO 2 and MUVO 2c, there is no provision for attaching a wrist strap. But Creative offers a special carry case Carry Bag, which already has a strap.
The set of functions MUVO 2 and MUVO 2c can be called large, in the case of Creative iRoar Go it is even greater. However, if you are familiar with the previous speakers of the line, you are unlikely to be surprised. The speaker supports Bluetooth connection (4.2), there is a microSD card slot, there is a line-in audio input and a micro-USB port. There is also support for NFC, which facilitates pairing with a smartphone, but only Bluetooth supports A2DP protocol. Unfortunately, Creative iRoar Go does not support better aptX.
On the other hand, if you select playback from a microSD card, you can use the support of MP3, WMA and FLAC formats; The latter can be reproduced with a stream of up to 1.3 Mbps, in the case of the first one, a stream of 320 kbit / s is available. The Creative iRoar Go can be connected to the computer via the micro-USB interface, in which case it will work as an external sound card. Also supports the PlayStation 4 (Pro), the sound with which you can output via USB.
But playing music is just one of the functions. Thanks to the built-in microphone and Bluetooth protocol support, the HFP speaker can be used for hands-free communication. If you install a microSD card, you can also record conversations. And paired with the complete adapter to the speaker, you can connect an external microphone to use it to amplify the voice. But in our tests the speaker turned out to be whimsical, out of three microphones and headsets with it only one worked. Of course, Creative did not forget about the possibility to charge the smartphone. The USB Type A jack turns a speaker into a Powerbank, the maximum charging current is 1 A with a voltage of 5 V.
Unfortunately, Creative has abandoned some of its predecessor’s functions. You can not install two Creative iRoar Go speakers in the stereo system. Also, it’s not possible to connect an additional iRoar Rock subwoofer.
Some functions can be controlled directly on Creative iRoar Go, 12 buttons are available from the top and from the front. For example, you can directly start playback / pause, go to the previous / next track, adjust the volume, select the source, answer the calls and hang up, start and stop voice recording. Also, the Roar button allows you to switch between audio profiles.
LED informs you about the current source, the presence of a Bluetooth connection and the active equalizer. The power button has a built-in LED signaling the battery status.
Almost all the buttons are understandable by their designations, so often you will not have to cope with the user manual. But, as in the case of the previously tested MUVO 2 and MUVO 2c speakers, you can not control the playback with the speaker – it all depends on the connected smartphone. It’s a shame that you can not start Siri or other voice assistants from the Creative iRoar Go speaker.
However, from the speaker expect, above all, a good sound. Creative tried to equip the Roar line above the average. Two 1.5-inch tweeters, one 2.5 “subwoofer and two passive emitters are built in. The amplification circuit is two: the first is responsible for two tweeters, the second for the mid / low frequency speaker. However, information about the frequency response or power of Creative Does not.
Passive radiators are directed to the left and right, and three speakers are installed on the front panel behind the grid. Creative promises that the speaker will always produce a quality sound, regardless of orientation, although there are differences, of course. With the vertical arrangement of the speaker, the coverage area decreases, but “the sound becomes louder and more directional”. The horizontal arrangement ensures “even filling the room with sound and a balanced sound”. An important role is played by proprietary SuperWide technology. It provides stereo widening with a larger perceived stereoscene effect than could be expected from a speaker of this size. Depending on the location of the speaker in the room, you can get an excellent sound filling the room. Creative on its website mentions scenarios for placing the speaker under the ceiling or on the wall at the ear level, but the corresponding accessories are not included in the package. Therefore, we evaluated more traditional layouts.
If you do not use the Roar mode or different EQ settings, the speaker gives an amazingly harmonious sound with high and medium frequencies, deep bass. All frequencies are well-felt, except that low frequencies could be more impact where it is needed. In the composition of Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind”, for example, from the third minute of the drums you expect more strength and dynamics, although the rest of the composition is excellent. Due to lack of power, the bass guitar sounds weaker than we would like. In general, the composition as a whole gives the impression that Creative iRoar Go too much accentuates the middle frequencies.
But the same test compositions Queen and David Bowie are transformed, it is necessary to turn on the Roar mode. It provides a noticeable increase in low frequencies, but does not accentuate them too much. But at the same time, the middle frequencies are perceived a little weaker. Bass guitar and percussion sound with sufficient dynamics and strength. In compositions without intensive bottoms, this is not as felt as in songs accentuating low and high frequencies. “Empire State of Mind” in Roar mode sounds more voluminous, and the levels are not distorted.
To customize the sound, you can use the Sound Blaster Connect application on your smartphone or computer. In it, you can adjust the equalizer to personal preferences, as well as select different modes. The version of the program for the PC will be useful and the ability to update the firmware, as well as some additional features in comparison with applications for Android and iOS.
The vertical and horizontal positioning of Creative iRoar Go affects the sound, but almost exclusively on the perception of stereo and spatial effect. In the case of a horizontal installation, the stereo and volume are much better. Vertical installation of the speaker, we recommend only if the distance between it and the listener is small, and the speaker itself is at the level of the ears.
Regardless of orientation, distortions begin to be observed only at a volume level above 80%, but they remain quite tolerable. In addition, this level of loudness is still too large even for large rooms. The available loudness of the speaker will be quite enough for picnicking / kebabs in nature.
It is very interesting to compare the power consumption of a speaker with the same MUVO 2 . According to Creative, the 2,200 mAh battery in the MUVO 2 speaker provided ten hours of battery life, in our tests we got twelve. The Creative iRoar Go speaker, on the other hand, has a built-in 5,200 mAh battery, that is, about 130% more, but the manufacturer claims the battery life is only 12 hours. In practice, we received up to 15 hours.
Of course, the battery life time is affected by the volume, the source of music and the functions used. But even if you transfer music via Bluetooth and in parallel charge the smartphone, the battery life will be enough for a long party, for example.
Charging method Creative iRoar Go pleases less. You can charge the speaker only with the help of a complete power supply and a round plug, USB charging is not supported. In addition, the full charge takes 3.5 hours, since the power is only 24 watts (15 V, 1.6 A). The battery is not removable.
Creative iRoar Go speaker can not be called cheap. Yet simple Bluetooth speakers on the market can be purchased for several hundred rubles, and if you need additional functions, the budget increases to several thousand. In order for the mobile speaker Creative to be sold successfully, it should offer the potential buyer much more than usual.
Here you can mention the sound quality above the average, built-in media player and a reliable enclosure. All this is offered by Creative iRoar Go, also the speaker can be used as Powerbank, external PC sound card or mobile microphone amplifier. The user can select a sound profile on a smartphone or computer. Additional advantages include a quality case, more than enough battery life for most scenarios, control playback and recording right on the speaker.
There are not so many shortcomings. To the most essential we attribute the charging procedure, yet charging via USB would be more convenient. Also we did not really like rubber doors closing interfaces, lack of aptX profile support and mandatory software installation on PC if you want to access all the functions of the speaker. Also, Creative added protection against splashing water, but not from dust.
The Creative iRoar Go speaker is great for many scenarios, at least after adjusting the equalizer to the user’s preferences.
If you compare with competitors, everything here depends on the desired functions. If you are interested in NFC support, water drop protection, hands-free function and built-in media player, there are not many alternatives from well-known manufacturers. Of course, you can buy an unnamed speaker of the Chinese manufacturer, but the sound quality is unlikely to be high. If you need a high-quality sound, a reliable case and a long battery life, then from competitors you can note UE Boom 2 for 190 euros and UE Megaboom for 250 euros from Logitech.