Hands-On With Sony's New EXTRA BASS Wireless Speakers – CES 2018

Yesterday at CES 2018 Sony announced a number of new products including quite a few audio-related ones. As part of its audio portfolio for 2018 is the latest additions to the company’s EXTRA BASS line. This is a product line that has been around for a few years now and typically sees updates coming through each year during CES. So while it was not a surprise to see some new additions announced this year, the latest ones do come with a few new features and an improved outer casing.

On offer here is the Sony SRS-XB21, the SRS-XB31, and the SRS-XB41. While they are essentially the same speaker, the main difference is the speaker (and driver) size with the Sony SRS-XB21 employing a 42mm driver, the SRS-XB31 a 48mm driver, and the SRS-XB41a 58mm driver. Although there is also a difference in expected battery life as the two larger speakers offer up to 24 hours of playback off a full charge, while the Sony SRS-XB 21 is only capable of 12 hours. In either case, all three speakers do come with what Sony states is “a new fabric design.” The biggest selling point of which is the inclusion of an IP67 rating which means the new EXTRA BASS speakers can be submerged in water. Or as Sony points out, means the fabric surrounding the speakers can actually be washed. Adding to its water-related benefits is rust proof, so after repeated exposure to water they are not going to developer any issues related to rust. As to be expected with an IP67 rating this also does mean they are dust proof as well. A combination which will lend itself well to the likes of the beach where aspects like the sand and the ocean will not impact on the usage or durability of the speakers.

As for the new features, the headline one is the LIVE SOUND mode which is designed to bring the listener closer to what is likened to an in-person listening experience. Sony describes this as more of a 3D listening experience but the major point is that the sound output is designed to be more representative of listening to a live act. Adding to its party features is the use of more lights which respond to the music, while the new Party Chain feature means buyers of these EXTRA BASS speakers can connect multiple units together for a more cohesive and even more bassy sound. So much so that Sony explains up to 100 (of the 2018) EXTRA BASS speakers can be connected together using Party Chain.

One of the areas that has been common to Sony EXTRA BASS speakers in the past is the color selection and this is something that continues in 2018 with the SRS-XB21, SRS-XB31, and SRS-XB41 all available in a number of colors. Although the options do slightly differ between the different models. For example, the SRS-XB21 is available in black, white, red, blue and yellow, the SRS-XB31 in black, white, two-tone red, two-tone blue and two-tone yellow, and the SRS-XB41 in black, white, dark red and dark blue. These speakers are due to become available to buy in the Spring and will be priced between $99.99 and $249.99.

Sony SRS-XB21

Sony SRS-XB31

Sony SRS-XB41

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About the Author

John Anon

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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