JBL Partybox 310

JBL Partybox 310 BT transportable speaker – pump up the jam (review)

9

Techtonic must have been channelling how I felt when I opened the JBL Partybox 310 and started to ‘pump up the jam’ (no endorsement intended). Partybox by name and party box by nature.

The JBL Partybox 310 is loud, proud, bright, and brilliant with 240W RMS (on power – 140W on battery) of useable power. It is transportable (17.1kg with a carry handle and wheels), mono (can stereo pair), battery operated (up to 18 hours), BT speaker with 2 x 6.5” woofers, 2 x 2.5” tweeters and a light show. 

Now, this is not for ‘juniors’ room’ – it is way too loud. It is to throw in the back of the ute (or another large vehicle), skive off to the beach (IPX4) and have a party.

We will go through the main features, but remember its prime purpose is loud and proud to fuel your party.

Details: JBL Partybox 310 BT transportable speaker

  • Website here
  • Price: $699.95
  • Warranty: 12-months ACL
  • JBL (Est. the mid-40s) is short for James B Lansing (Yes, he was the Lansing in Altec Lansing as well.) Now it’s part of the Harman group of companies owned by Samsung.
  • You can read more GadgetGuy JBL news and reviews here.  

First impression

Big (325.6 x 687.7 x 367.8 mm), heavy (17.1kg), basic black with a cabin bag aircraft-style retractable handle and smooth-glide wheels. It plugs directly into 240V or 12V/4A (needs a special cigarette lighter adapter 46-ADT502-XX1) to fill the ample 72Wh battery. It looks tough – use it vertically or horizontally, or you can pole mount it. A black metal grille protects its drivers. Perhaps the most understated part is the JBL app that adds considerable value – we will come to that later. The top is a control panel with volume, bass/treble, Bass Boost, echo, and input selector.

The back panel has USB, TWS (stereo pair), AUX in (3.5mm), dual-mic (20mVrms  600 Ohm) or mic/guitar (100mVrms) 6.5mm inputs. There are curious in/out 3.5mm ports for daisy-chaining multiple Partybox 310s together.

The app can set different colours and patterns for the two circular RGB lights or by using the light button on the speaker.

Partybox app

  • SETTINGS: OTA update | Firmware Version | Quick Start Guide
  • REMOTE CONTROL: Music playback – Play/Pause & Skip Track | Karaoke – Bass/Treble/Echo | DJ sound effect – Here you can swap which samples will play when you hit the three Sound Effect buttons on the top panel, or play all of the available sounds on one screen | Top panel control | Source select | Bass Boost – On/Off
  • LIGHT SHOW: Fully customise your light show in real-time – Change light themes and animations to suit your mood | Turn animations on or off | Turn the strobe on or off | Customise colour (pre-set or colour palette) | SOLO mode
  • GET LOUD: Connect in TWS, switch Stereo channels and enable Party Mode
  • EQ is very basic and really only for Karaoke

Battery life

It depends on use and volume. At 50% volume, you can get up to 18 hours of MP3 play. Ramp it up to 100%, and it is around 8-10 hours.

Charge time – of 240V approx. 3-3.5 hours. It does not charge off 12V.

BT and Sound formats

It uses the SBC codec, which means about 165mns latency. We found it has some latency lip-sync issues that may affect video streaming.

It natively plays WAVE, MP3, WMA from AUX-IN and USB.

Inputs

  • AUX-IN 250mVrms
  • 3.5mm analogue
  • USB – No playlist –starts playing from the root. It also acts as a 5V/2.7A power bank

Sound stage

Surprisingly narrow in vertical format but the intent here is to fill the room. Not bad in horizontal (it claims to be able to play in stereo but the tweeters are one side) but still a cone shape at approx. 6m wide at 6m. But the sound stage is almost immaterial for a mono speaker that uses raw volume to fill the room.

It has a rear passive bass plate so put it where it can bounce the bass off the wall.

Speakers and wattage

While 240W sounds a lot, remember its 140W on battery spread between 2 x 6.5” woofers, 2 x 2.5” tweeters – that’s about 35W (battery) to 60W power per speaker. Sure, that is heaps for most use, but it is like soundbars that claim 500W and have 15 speakers and 33W per amp, and you know how loud they are.

PartyBox gets plenty loud but maybe not as high as you think.

Volume – claim over 100dB – yes

We measured on battery/power:

  • BT content with smartphone BT limiter off – 80/95dB
  • USB content – 80/85
  • Aux IN – 80/100dB
  • Other sources – 80/100+dB

How would you expect the JBL Partybox 310 to sound? Bold and bassy.

JBL claims a 45Hz to 20kHz frequency response. The three basic controls – bass, treble and bass boost can completely change the signature.

There are two bass boost levels (both shorten battery life) – one for mid-bass (50-100Hz) and one for high-bass (100-200Hz). There is also a Bass Boost button (mid-bass) on the control panel.

Our equipment detected low bass from 30Hz (it should not have been there) and good mid-bass from 45Hz, ramping up well to 100Hz. It has bass to burn but not in the earth-shattering way that a sub-woofer has. It is more to define the music, and it does that very well.

After 100Hz, it is has solid mids and is relatively flat to 10kHz. There is a dip to avoid harshness, and after which it peaks to get that mid-treble so necessary for instruments then drops off fairly steeply to 20Hz. You can learn more about Sound Signatures here.

But as we found, you can adjust the hell out of it so let’s say that out-of-the-box, it is pretty warm and a little sweet that is good for most music. Remember that it won’t add or subtract from the music source, e.g. crap MP3 will sound like crap MP3.

Other uses

  • Karaoke microphone (JBL Cardioid PBM100 600 Ohm mic not supplied) – can use two mics instead of the guitar input
  • Guitar amp ((100mVrms standard 6.5mm sound pickup)
  • PA

Missing

  • Speakerphone
  • Voice Assistance
  • AirPlay 2
  • Chromecast
  • Remote control

GadgetGuy’s take

It is important to buy what meets your expectations and your budget. At $699.95, you get a lot of flexibility, a guitar amp, PA, mic, various input sources, and a battery. Volume-wise, it is perfect for areas up to 400m2 (guestimate), so it is for a backyard or beach party – not hundreds of people at a dance party where 1000W or more starts to make a difference. Sound-wise is bass-forward, and a better EQ could help there. It is perfect for the sound you want to belt out at a party. Lights-wise, it is fun with several pre-sets and lots of customisations. Looks and durability – it is 17.4kg, has an IPX4 rating, and aircraft-style roller wheels make it perfect for lugging around. A battery adds flexibility, but volumes drops.

JBL Partybox 310
The JBL 310 Partybox is perfect for your next backyard or beach party. Its battery/mains/ operated and luggable at 17.1kg.
Features
8.5
Value for money
9
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
10
Design
9
Positives
Great build quality and IPX4
Lots of flexibility and inputs
Best sound quality/volume is over AUX IN from decent ripped MP3
Perfect for backyard and intimate beach parties
Negatives
A little unsteady on wheels – narrow track
Heavy - luggable
Only 140W on battery power
9