JBL took to the showroom floor at this year’s CES to debut a new high-end speaker range called the PartyBox. There are three members of this family; the PartyBox 200, the larger PartyBox 300, and the massive and feature-rich PartyBox 1000. The PartyBox 200 and 300 are mostly the same beast, with the 300 being a bit larger and louder with an integrated battery, while the PartyBox 1000 integrates a huge number of features to make the ultimate party experience. All three speakers will be available this July, starting at $349.95 for the 200. An upgrade to the PartyBox 300 will cost you $449.95, and those looking for the raw power and extra features of the PartyBox 1000 can expect to pay $999.95.
Background: The entire range boasts inputs via USB and 3.5mm, along with Bluetooth connectivity. There are also quarter-inch plugs for instruments and microphones, making all the speakers in this range your go-to for gigs, whether you’re a DJ or an aspiring guitar legend. You can even chain two of the speakers together, feeding from the same source, to fill a space with rich sound. The speakers also have RCA jacks, allowing them to be the centerpiece of an epic setup if you have the extra hardware. The three different speakers are all cross-compatible, though only two can be linked to one another via Bluetooth. This means that you can chain as many of these as you like via RCA, including different units from across the PartyBox range, but if you only want to chain up two speakers, then Bluetooth is your best bet. If you opt for the 300, you can really take the party on the road with a 10,000mAh battery that provides up to 18 hours of playback. The PartyBox 1000 really kicks things up with a three-way acoustic package that takes advantage of its larger chassis to bounce waves around inside and spit out vastly enhanced audio that’s both louder and better-sounding than the 200 and 300. There’s also an air-gesture wristband for controlling the beast, extra inputs, controls, and effects for karaoke, and an integrated 4×4 DJ launchpad. Naturally, all of the listed features from the 200 and 300 range are also on board, making the PartyBox 1000 a great one-device show or a perfect centerpiece for a massive party setup.
Impact: What JBL is showing off here is essentially the low end of professional-grade audio at mostly consumer-facing prices. While this hardware is unlikely to challenge the multi-thousand dollar setups used at concerts, churches, and the like, it could become integrated into such for easier control. Expect these speakers to rule the backyard parties, open mic bars, and small-time DJ gigs of the world. Their price point makes them affordable for almost anybody who has a use for them beyond simply piping music into them to listen to, and their feature set is geared for public use. This is a space that has yet to be fully explored in the audio hardware market, though it’s not entirely unheard of. If anything, this range is likely to offset purchases of used professional hardware in the amateur, hobbyist and recreational spaces, though there are a few competitors who JBL is stepping on here.