Portable Audio for Your Classroom G-Boom
I have been looking for a good substitute for the Brookstone Boombucket for a number of years. The Boombucket is a loud, portable, rugged speaker with an rechargeable battery that was made for iPods BEFORE the iPod Touch. It was a fantastic speaker, and I bought them for both of my previous schools. When we opened my last school (it was a new school), the Boombucket was already discontinued, and we had to find them used on eBay.
The Boombucket existed before Bluetooth speakers were common–and none of those iPods had Bluetooth. You could either leave an iPod inside the Boombucket on the 30 pin adapter, or you could use “Aux In” with a 1/8 stereo cable.
In the past year, I have looked at a number of Bluetooth alternatives to the Boombucket, including the highly rated Jawbone Jambox and the Vers Audio 1Q and 2Q. These are all wonderful devices, and of these, I like the Vers products for home or office use. Still, they are susceptible to dropping and difficult to carry.
While I was at Target the other day, I noticed a product called the G-Project G-Boom, a $99.00 bluetooth speaker. It is large (about the same height as a gallon of milk), heavy duty (big handle/hard plastic), and it has a rechargeable battery. The device also has “Aux In” (very important–just in case), and a USB port for charging a device from the battery's power. I read some of the reviews of the speaker online and decided to purchase one of these speakers (just one, for now) for my new school out of the booster choir account. The speaker will be used for and by students–which is why the rugged part is essential.
The Bluetooth connection uses the older 2.1 format, which on some speakers has led to poor audio quality, but the reviews of this speaker indicated that the quality was fine. It was given an “A” rating by iLounge, and the average review says, “If you're looking for Bose, this isn't it, but if you want good sound and loud sound, this is the way to go.”
The battery lasts up to six hours (therefore, count on less), but the device could be plugged into a wall outlet should power fade.
Considering that the Brookstone Boombucket originally sold for $150, and this device is $99, and includes Bluetooth, that's a win.
You might want this device if you do any activity with iPads (or iPhones, or iPod Touches, or Android Devices) that needs amplification away from a power outlet. I've used them for sectinonals (preparing audio tracks ahead of time, and sending students with devices and a speaker), solo/ensemble preparation, public performances where there is no PA system, tours to feeder schools, and musical rehearsals.
As a warning: the current version of SmartMusic does not work with Bluetooth speakers (Thanks to Paul Shimmons for pointing this out), and the Google Chromebook does not have Bluetooth drivers for audio (or at least my Samsung Google Chromebook does not).
So…$99 for a heavy duty bluetooth portable speaker that could be used in your music program–not a bad find at all.