Last week, three earnest audiophiles rang my doorbell and stormed into my living room to show me a handsome Bluetooth speaker that they claimed was going to reinvent the world of Jambox-alikes and transform Bluetooth speakers into “objects of desire.”
The guys in question? Three gents from Grain Audio, an up-and-coming audio company. And the product they wanted to show me was a prototype of their upcoming Packable Wireless System, or PWS: a walnut-enclosed Bluetooth speaker with some seriously good sound for its class.
The PWS won’t be available for sale for a few months, still, but it’s a speaker worth keeping an eye on. Here’s why.
Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, but Grain Audio’s forthcoming PWS sets itself apart with a distinctive walnut-paneled enclosure that would look right at home in Don Draper’s apartment.
It sounds good, too. Boasting a pair of two-inch loudspeakers and a passive radiator, as well as featuring Grammy Award winning audio technology, the PWS can easily fill a large room with robust, rich sound.
We compared the PWS head-to-head with the Jawbone Jambox, and we were actually really impressed. The Jambox — the category-definer, and up til nowour favorite all-around Bluetooth speaker — sounded positively weak compared to the room-filling PWS.
Even worse, when we tried to pump up the volume on the Jambox to catch up with the PWS, the Jambox’s audio noticeably distorted, while the PWS played the same track at an almost 50% greater volume, clear and true.
It’s not an apple-to-apple comparison, of course. The PWS will have an MSRP of $249.99 when it is released in the coming months, compared to the Jambox’s $199.99. In addition, the Jambox is about 25% smaller than the PWS.
Still, we think the trade-offs are worth it. The PWS has a great sound, and it’s a noticeably classier speaker than most Bluetooth speakers we see: it looks like it belongs in a mid-century bachelor pad, not a teenager’s bedroom.
If Grain Audio can deliver the PWS up to this standard when the speaker eventually launches, we’ll be very impressed indeed.