Creative iRoar + iRoar Rock Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅11-09-16
Performance Testing
Setup, Design & Observations
As with the previous Roar speakers, the iRoar feels of fantastic build quality. It is a little larger than the original Roar, but maintains the same 1.1Kg weight.

The battery was rather low on arrival though for good measure, as with many devices that contain a built in lithium battery, I left it on charge for several hours to fill it right back up again. One that happened, I paired up my phone, downloaded the relevant apps to get going. The iRoar remote app is fairly useful as it gives easy access to the Roar button, mic modes and volume level, though you could argue that the rest of the controls are pointless as the on-phone controls tend to be relevant and easier, especially considering the remote app crashes/shuts down each time you switch tab.

The iRoar can have two devices paired at once, I borrowed my friends iPhone to test out the NFC and found that it was quick and easy to pair with no problem. To swap which device is being used as the source, once any music playback or activity has stopped, it will then start with whichever device puts out the signal next. I found that if your phone doesn't like being used when paired with a Bluetooth device (like my Moto G) and it drops audio when you try using other apps or are receiving messages, I discovered that the responsiveness of the touch controls can also lag a little. Otherwise, during normal operation they worked fine.

The iRoar Rock will need to be connected via mains and you will want to find somewhere prominent to keep it, alternatively, considering its relatively portable size still, you can move it to where ever it is required. The iRoar Rock feels sturdy and well constructed, and the forward facing driver has a bouncy rubberised diaphragm. The docking process is fairly simple, seat the iRoar carefully on top in the correct orientation, and voila!

The first thing that was noticed using the iRoar was its volume level. This blows the Roar out of the water in regards to loudness and sheer presence yet it sounded clear, unmuffled and relatively bass heavy. Listening through to various genres, whether it electronic, or rock, the iRoar reproduced the mids and highs with great separation while adding a good dose of hefty bass richness to the mix. Plugging the iRoar into our desktop via USB, we had a gaming session and then watched some movies and the iRoar gave a fantastic presence and clarity. For once, I feel like I can say that a portable wireless speaker can genuinely replace the cheaper traditional speaker systems.

iRoar + iRoar Rock
I try to shy away from using certain phrases in regards to describing the audio prowess, mostly because it tends to be fairly subjective in a way as readers often have little real way to measure how good something sounds from the words of a 3rd party. So allow me to try and put this in some perspective:

The Creative Roar sounds fantastic, great balance, richness and clarity, though generally as portable speakers go, the audio source can tend to sound rather isolated. This is just a physical limitation of having a load of speakers crammed into a small area. The Roar however does a great job of sounding far larger than it is. The iRoar takes that to the next level as it has double the loudness and a fantastic audio processor built in, giving it that extra precision and accuracy. The iRoar Rock is like a turbo that you can gaffer tape to the side of your iRoar and then be tamed by your smartphone. What I mean by this is, the iRoar Rock creates a genuinely powerful sound system by giving the iRoar that bassy depth and presence a relatively small, portable speaker alone cannot replicate, producing something that can legitimately be a central part of a home entertainment system.

By default, I found the default BlasterX setting to be too rich in bass, so I went through the iRoar Dashboard app to create a more balanced audio signature by drawing my own EQ curve, to which the drivers responded fantastically. The bass remained powerful, rich and pleasant while the mids and highs clearly cut through that loud bass, balancing things out for a genuine hi-fi experience. At maximum volume, the iRoar and iRoar Rock is reasonable enough for a house or garden party. In fact, I say that realising I am sat in the middle of a rather epic 7.1 sound system that has jilted my perspective. Much to my knowledge and experiences, many people make do with a portable speaker system that is inferior to the original Roar, let alone the iRoar and iRoar rock combo. At this point, I am starting to wonder if you can combine two iRoar + iRoar Rock systems together via the megastereo cable...

The microphone was an interesting mixed bag and it will largely depend on how you use it as to how good it sounds. Via USB through our desktop and Skype, the microphone was a little inconsistent, but I realised I had my desktop fan on. After turning that off, the audio cleared up, but was prone to dropping out a little when you swap between 360 and mic beam modes. Once in a stable situation the microphone sounded clear, though it is worth noting that as it is used for a speakerphone, in 360 mode it will pick up any immediate noises. Voice calling via mobile phone was much better, sounding clear while cancelling any noises from the person on the other end. The mic beam mode works very well, giving a more private conversation as it cuts out noises outside of a focused arc. It is worth noting your position to the iRoar when enabling the mic beam/ private mode.

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