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Creative Labs Sound Blaster AXX 200 Intelligent Wireless Sound System - A portable wireless speaker with Bluetooth, NFC and microphone
VOICE RECORDER - Take advantage of the impressive quad microphone array to record anything, directly onto the microSD card slot. This is great for recording phone conversations, speeches, discussions or even your own demo track.
BUILT-IN MP3 PLAYER - One of the trade offs of using your smart phone as your audio source is that your phone can run out of battery pretty quickly. That's why we've built in an alternative: the integrated WMA/MP3 Player. Simply pop in a microSD card containing your favorite music and press the play button. It's that easy.
MOBILE WIRELESS TELECONFERENCING SYSTEM - Simply pair your smartphone to it via Bluetooth and you're ready! With the SBX Pro Studio & CrystalVoice technology, you can eliminate surround noise and focus the call on you by activating the VoiceFocus and Noise-canceling function. What's more, all conversations can be recorded simply by inserting a microSD card into it.
KARAOKE ON THE GO - It doesn't matter if nobody wants to go to the karaoke with you because with the AXX 200, the world's your stage. Our clever microphone reverb algorithm amplifies your voice to sound better than it really is! Simply stream your favorite karaoke tunes from your smartphone and start singing along!
PORTABLE BATTERY PACK - You know what is frustrating? Having your smartphone run out of battery! That's why we've designed the AXX 200 to double up as a portable backup battery for your smartphone, so you've got up to 5200mAh of emergency power right when you need it most. Check out http://www.creative.com/axx200/ to find out more!
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36 of 41 found the following review helpful:
High Performance, feature Rich and Intelligent Wireless Sound SystemDec 04, 2013
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R20FXF7K4AUHSC In short, if you got it for US$149.99 or less, it is a portable, value for money and affordable intelligent wireless sound system. It has so many features that I will only mention those that I have actively used. The speaker is made in China but no issue with that, the build quality and audio quality is excellent. Highly recommended.
The device weighs 0.5kg (not too heavy to hold or use it as a microphone) and the build looks pretty solid. It is mainly plastic except for the painted white metal grille. Bottom is a layer of rubber padding which makes it suitable to be placed on any surface without fear of cosmetic damage to the device or the surface. The capacitive touch buttons are quite responsive even with the protective plastic sheet still on. It comes with a white carrying cloth pouch, a black US 2pin 100-240V (multi plugs not provided) USB 2.1A charger and micro USB cable. As the charger has a max 2.1A output, it can be considered a universal USB charger. It can charge my ipod, iPhone 4s, LG Optimus Pro G, Nexus 7 and this device.
If you have bought the docking base, you will get another same charger with international swappable plugs and another micro USB cable. The docking base also has a rubber padding bottom. To be honest, I do not find much use for the docking base except it makes charging more convenient and you get a universal international USB charger. You can charge the device using USB cable (micro connector) with or without the docking base. To use the base, you need to connect the micro USB cable to it instead of the device. Furthermore, you need to remove a rubber cover (you may lose it easily if you remove it) at the base to expose the two gold plated connectors to match the 2 tiny pins on the docking base. Just let the device sits on the base and it charges. When you need to use the device, just grab it and go; no need to unplug any wire.
The device itself is quite stable as its base is heavy due to the built-in 5200mah battery, 3.7V. Hold the on/off button for 1s to turn it on. To turn it off, hold it for 5s. If you are not using it, it will switch to standby mode automatically. To manually make it standby, press the on/off button once. However, if you are charging it or connected to computer, it will not turn off even if you hold the on/off button for 5s.
I bought this mainly for its audio output performance. You can use it as an mp3 player by copying audio files into a micro SD card (max. capacity of 32gb supported). The files supported are wma (not including lossless), mp3 (up to 320kbps works) and wav (lossless). I used a 1gb and it works fine. You can use the built-in buttons at the back of the speaker to play, pause, skip track or skip folder. If you own a Zen Stone, you will know better how it works. User-guide explains how to organize the files. Please note that it does not support gapless playback.
It has a small bass port behind and while music is playing you can feel air coming out. Overall, the audio is great for such a compact system. You can hear the bass clearly and the mids and highs are tight. And it is loud, loud enough to fill at least a 300 square feet room by 9 feet high. Sound does not distort even at max volume. The SBX enhancement technology does enhance the audio by making certain instruments and specific sounds more obvious without distorting the music. I think it did better than X-fi and I prefer to stick to default settings. Note that tons of settings can be customized. I just hope that one day they release an SDK.
There are two speakers positioned such that the stereo sounds more like surround. This device is both a high quality sound card and speaker and does a better job than any integrated audio or speakers. For gaming audio, I tried with Battlefield 3 and 4, World of Warcraft, guild wars 2, Starcraft 2 heart of the swarm on Windows 8.1 via USB plug in and it sounds great, especially for Battlefield 3 and 4 due to their first person shooter nature. Despite the 2 speakers crammed into 1 metal grille, you can hear the helicopters hovering past you. I find it close to my existing 5.1 speakers though not exceeding. I position the speaker right above my monitor and in the middle and found music and gaming audio great. Note that audio stream from PC can be distorted if you use an older or worn out USB cable. Creative software (Sound Blaster Axx Control Panel) and detailed user guide has to be downloaded as no CD is included. When changing settings via the Sound Blaster Axx Control Panel be prepared to face some laggy issues. When a setting is toggled, it takes a while for the device to update and be reflected in the user-interface.
You can also connect your earphones and headphones to the audio jack and it sounds great on my Klipsch earbuds. For the most immersive gaming experience (such as Battlefield 4 with the ground shaking in Operation Locker), I will still recommend using good earbuds/headphones with the audio out jack. Update 22 Mar 2014: After several months of PC usage, I find that the micro USB port is very sensitive to the cable you use to connect it to the PC. If the cable connector is slightly worn out, the soundcard may not work properly or even fail to work. This issue is not isolated here as my Nexus 7 (2012) faces similar problem when charging. I managed to get Diablo 3 at US$19.99. I put on my old pair of Aurvana Live, change the SBX Setting to Gaming Stadium Surround, set the in-game Audio to Surround (128 voices) and the experience is awesome and terrifying. While exploring and fighting monsters in dungeons, at times I thought someone was approaching me from behind left/right. Try it at midnight to get the optimal feel. I compared the headphone output with my HP Phoenix PC Beats headphone out and I can easily say this device is superior, in both surround effect and punchier sound effects when striking enemies with barbarian axe. Audio processing is done using the built-in audio chip.
Behind the speaker are two buttons for instant recording of external sound or your singing of karaoke. The file format recorded is wav.
There is also Sound Blaster Axx Control Panel for iOS and Android ecosystem. I find them less laggy to use compared to PC but they offer slightly less control compared to PC. The app can also be used as a remote control of your speaker.
Next, NFC and Bluetooth streaming. I use my LG Optimus Pro G to pair using NFC and it works effortlessly. You hear the tone and see the blue light and then tap yes in the phone and pairing is done. Audio quality via Bluetooth is as good as PC USB though interruption may occur initially and quality drops as you move your phone away. There is also an AUX-in for analogue audio input into the speaker.
At the bottom of the speakers are 3 LEDs. While charging the speaker, the LEDs will be blinking from left to right. The LEDs indicate the strength of battery life available. You can use the USB port behind to charge your phone or other device. It is able to provide one full charge to my LG Optimus Pro G 3140mah battery.
If you like karaoke, while playing back your mp3 songs, you can toggle a switch behind to switch on the megaphone. Your voice will be amplified while the music is playing. It works pretty well with hardly any echo problem due to the mic too close the speakers. However, there might be a slight delay in amplifying your voice. When you are not using megaphone anymore, remember to switch it off or else SBX effects during music/gaming will not be activated. SBX effects is a very important part in delivering the good audio. There is also a loud siren mode that can be used to fend off attackers or just for fun. But note that this feature could be accidentally disabled via PC USB SoundBlaster Axx Control Panel and so do not rely on this entirely for your personal safety. An interesting feature is the voice FX thing. You can make your voice sounds like an opposite sex, a child, monster and so on. Maybe you can read bed time story to your kid or entertain preschool kids.
This device supports two audio streams simultaneously. For e.g. you can connect PC USB for gaming and at the same time play the mp3 from the micro SD card inserted. Or it can pair with your tablet for movie and also your phone for answering calls. I have not used the noise cancellation and voice focus much so I will not mention that. You can refer to the YouTube promotional videos for more information on that.
I use Efergy power monitoring socket to test for power consumption. It is much lower than my existing Dell 5.1 speakers (draws 20+ W). Similar results are obtained when I used my IPhone 4s charger 1A and the included 2.1A charger. With 3 LEDs on, the power consumption is 4.8W. With SBX on and mid volume, power drained is 5.5 to 5.8W depending on the ups and downs of the music. With SBX on and full volume, power drain can hit 6.8W. Similar results are obtained using the docking base to charge. Why didn't the 2.1A charger use more power? I guess the device controls the amount of current drawn. If the battery is flat, it draws more power and charges faster and it can charge up a tablet. That's why a 2.1A charger is included. You can just bring one charger on the move for all your devices. The base feels a bit warm during charging and operation as the battery, audio chips and the circuit boards are at the base.
On 29 Mar 2014, I thought of revitalizing my Dell 5.1 wired speakers. I use the headphone jack to connect to the speakers. It works great with SBX turned on. To be honest, connecting to Dell 5.1 gives much better bass and stereo separation. I can play songs from the micro SD card inserted or via Bluetooth streaming from my LG Optimus Pro G. Basically, it can do what Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio Devices does or possibly better because of apt X. So now I got a wireless speaker adapter and a micro SD Jukebox.
After a few months of usage, I still find this my favorite speaker, always connected to one of my DIY PC. Sometimes I used the megaphone to entertain my kids, nephews and nieces or just play out some nice songs. If you have expectation of powerful bass and comparable mids and highs, you should consider SoundBlaster Roar. I will be doing a review on that shortly. As of 30 Jun 2014, the price has dropped to US$129.99. Since it does not allow me to link up 2 speakers unlike the SoundBlaster Roar, I won't be buying another. I did recommend friends to buy a few. A handful users might have encountered compatibility issues with USB plug in to PC or laptops. I personally have issue with HP Phoenix gaming PC which require reboot/replug/loose USB connector. I am not sure if the built in Beats audio interfere with it. However, I don't have issue with a HP laptop (no Beats) or my DIY PC (Asrock H81M-DGSR2.0 i5-4690 CPU GTX 660 Crucial M4 256GB). I choose to put the speaker with the DIY PC as the onboard audio is weak, I love the sound enhancements during gaming and I don't have any issue at all with the USB since day one.
Pros: Excellent audio quality for such a compact system and suitable for any kind of occasion. Portable and long battery life that can even charge your phone. Bold attempt to pack tons of features into such a compact system that anyone can easily find something useful from it.
Cons: PC USB settings take a while to be reflected especially if you are used to fast fluid user interface. YouTube streaming via Internet Explorer may cause distortion. Switch to Chrome and it is perfectly fine. No Scout Mode that is available in Sound Blaster Z cards. Original retail price is too steep for most people. US$149.99 offer is great buy. You need some time to fully appreciate the beauty of this thing partly due to its large number of features.
If I discover something new, I will update.
1) Review first created on 4 Dec 2013.
2) Updated on 6 Dec 2013 on the rubber padding, power consumption and docking base.
3) Updated on 22 Mar 2014 on micro USB port and Diablo 3 gaming experience
4) Updated on 29 Mar 2014 on Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio Devices/Micro SD Jukebox
5) Updated on 30 Jun 2014 on PC compatibility issues and still my favorite speaker
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Almost perfect, just missing a littleDec 24, 2013
By Thomas Tang
So I bought this around Black Friday as a present for my brother. And of course I took the liberty to “borrow” it from him. We both coach a marching band, and one thing we’re always looking for a good outdoor speaker system that’s portable for us while we’re on the move. From working with the Color guard dancers, and the drum major without the band, we need to have something that can project well outdoors while still preserving strong sound quality. I’ve tried several other speaker systems in the past but there was always a problem. Mostly, they either required way too many batteries (8+), had poor sound quality, or were not loud enough, if not all of those problems. This speaker fixes all of that!
To get started, it’s a small speaker, that you can easily carry around in one hand, and it’s shaped into a rather unique hexagon. The volume tool is kind of fun to play with actually, since it lights up and scrolls up and down. It uses an easy Bluetooth pairing with my cell phone and plays really well. There is also a microSD card slot, for mp3 files and to store recordings.
Features: There are a lot of unique features that I’ve played with so far, and probably a few I haven’t discovered, here are some highlights.
-Phone: You can answer your phone on this, and not only does it have great sound quality (better than using the speakerphone on your cell), it receives your voice from anywhere in the room. I tried this out a few times, the caller will be able to hear you as if you’re next to the phone no matter where you’re standing in the room, that was pretty cool
-Voice Recording: As long as there’s a memory card in there, you can record something for playback later
-Megaphone – Probably not as useful, but if you ever need one…
-Voice Modulation – Sort of like the megaphone, you can actually talk into the speaker and it will modulate the pitch of your voice up or down. Useful probably only if you plan to kidnap someone and make a ransom call, but still fun
-Siren – Great for scaring anyone who may be a potential kidnapper, it’s rather loud and obnoxious, you probably don’t want to leave that running too long.
-Multiple Bluetooth pairings, that’s been useful so I don’t need to keep unpairing my phone when I give it back to my brother.
My biggest complaint really is the lack of a display screen. It’s difficult to tell what song you’re playing or what’s next, if you’re playing from your recordings or mp3 files on the microSD card. You sort of just need to wait for the recording to start and see what you get. It’s not a HUGE issue simply because I’m really using my phone to play stuff, and I get the details there, but still a shortcoming. There’s also no AM/FM tuner which would really complete the feature set.
Haven’t really been able to test battery life fully yet, but it’s nice that it’s an internal rechargeable (usb, or outlet), it’s just much more convenient, and doesn’t require me to constantly buy or change out batteries.
Overall, what really sets it apart, is the amazing sound quality, especially at very high volumes. It’s Bluetooth pairing, and really all-in-one features are all amazing, I think I’m going to have to get myself one soon.
14 of 15 found the following review helpful:
An Audiophile Review: Best Portable Speaker For 2014Apr 11, 2014
Creative has really knocked it out of the park with this device. I really take my sound seriously and after purchasing the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB Audio System with THX SB1240, I was very curious about this device, but I was very happy with what I discovered. The SoundBlaster AXX 200 (pronounced axe) is a high-tech Swiss-Army style portable speaker that does everything right for the price. If you don't read any further, buy this portable speaker now.
First and foremost: The speakers in this device sound great. And yes, they are loud. That's your primary interest in this, right? It should be. Regardless of all the additional functions of a portable speaker, it needs to sound great.
The internal speakers on the AXX 200 push a good amount of air for their size; I was surprised that when I put my hand behind the speaker and felt the air movement when I turned up the volume. No other portable speakers in this category that I've reviewed do this. There should be a big check next to engineering and design quality box for this model. Fit and finish is nice and build quality is very solid. This doesn't feel cheap like some other portable speaker systems.
The clarity in audio playback is excellent. Sound is rich, but the frequencies are separated, adding to depth and spaciousness of the sound being produced by these speakers. Engineers have a hard time obtaining stereo separation to produce a "big" sound when you have two small speakers positioned closely together. Creative handles this by offsetting the speakers to produce a larger sound.
Geek Alert: Don't forget there's the dedicated SB AXX1 CPU (next gen) that does all the heavy-lifting when it comes to audio processing. And man, does it do a great job!
This is what separates Creative from others in the portable speaker market. As opposed to the standard "battery + speaker combo" you see in so many other companies' designs, Creative actually performs some pretty sophisticated audio processing (using their own chip) to ensure the best possible sound and playback of your music. Kudos to Creative for this.
I mean think about it, That's pretty cool to think your portable speaker has a built in AUDIO CPU dedicated to making whatever you play though it, sound great. I tested the AXX 200 with some 128k MP3 files and with SBX engaged, it did a great job making them sound really good. 320k MP3 files sounded amazing.
In summary: This is the only portable stereo speaker system that supports a wide variety of inputs and controls AND includes a dedicated audio processing chip. Amazing, clear (and loud) sound with many useful additional functions included. Five out of five stars.
For the Audio Geeks:
aptX / AAC support for the highest quality audio streaming
Dedicated SB AXX1 multicore chipset with mobile device support (woot!)
For the Road Warriors:
15 hour battery life
Quad-microphone and noise cancellation for conference calls like a boss
Skype and VOIP friendly
Karaoke function for those lonely nights in the hotel
For Smartphone Users:
Compatible with Windows Phone 8, Apple and Android smartphones
Support for NFC one-tap connect
Support for two Bluetooth profiles
Speaker will act as a portable charging station for your phone (and other devices too)
Dedicated Android and Apple smartphone apps
Also see my latest review on the NEW! Creative Sound Blaster Roar: Portable NFC Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with aptX/AAC. 5 Drivers, Built-in Subwoofer, Incredibly Powerful. Amazing Price of $149.99!
8 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Clever features, fun design, but sound quality fall shortsFeb 09, 2014
I purchased the AXX200 at the CES show when it was supposed to be on a "show special" sale for $150. Turns out the "sale" wasn't so special (same price here at Amazon). I also have a hard time believing they'll ever get "list" price ($299) for this speaker. Today on the Creative Web site, I see they're now trying to say the speaker is worth $375, but you can get it with the "dock worth $75" for $229 for a "launch special" (the dock is $60 here on Amazon, making your total $210).
Unpacking my speaker was fun. And it's a bit of a strange design. But, that leaves the footprint small, and that's a good thing! First I had to charge my speaker (there was some charge upon arrival but I wanted to get a full charge.) Thankfully, it uses the now-standard micro USB cords that I already have many of for my phone, and other electronics (and comes with it's own charger, of course.)
Bluetooth pairing with my devices was relatively straight-forward. A handy sticker near the back reviews how to do that. It's a good thing the sticker is in place, because, honestly, this thing is kind of a bit more difficult to use than I would hope. Press the same button once to turn on the speaker, press it for 2 seconds to get into pairing mode, press for 5 seconds to turn off. I mean, there's already a lot of buttons and stuff on this speaker, but they might've added a couple more. or a slider to make it easy to turn off an on, and put in pairing mode. With my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone, I was able to get it to pair via the NFC feature okay.
There are 6 "buttons" on top of the unit, along with a "slider" for volume control. All of these buttons are just touch enabled, as is the slider. A BRIGHT blue light on the front top shows what mode the Bluetooth stuff is in, with 3 tiny lights on the bottom showing available power left in the rechargeable battery.
If you turn the unit on, even with nothing paired, it does seem to put out an awful lot of noise when held up to the ear. Sounds almost like a fan running in there!
This thing is pretty small. Think the size of a large sunglasses case! And a sturdy case, at that. The front grill and back are made of a nice feeling metal. It feels of quality. But the size appears to also be a downfall. As a person who listens to dance music alot, bass is important. And this speaker produces VERY little. Every streaming station or dance tune I played sounded distorted and harsh at louder levels. The audio quality of a Bose SoundLink speaker, while a bit larger, FAR exceeds the sound quality of the AXX 200, and manages to give decent bass, even at high levels, and in a small package.
The call recording feature seems to work fine, but it's confusing to tell whether the speaker is actually recording or not, so don't get a criminal to confess without having a backup plan. In fact, telling what the speaker is doing is kind of the hard part all of the way around. I've made a recording. Now do I push "play", or the "record play" button? What is now playing? What mode is the speaker in? Without the manual for regular reference, or unless using the features regularly, they're not at all intuitive. An addition or two to the top display could've solved this.
Also, "it's an MP3" player. Yes, indeed. NOT AVI, NOT M4A, NOT WAV. Pretty much anything of this price range should play all of the major popular formats. So, dragging tunes from iTunes to an microSD card will not work, unless they're MP3 (or WMA, but iTunes doesn't play those anyway.) Don't assume they just left out the other formats in the description. They simply don't work.
The "teleconferencing" feature, otherwise known as a "speakerphone" does seem to work okay, but I have not used it in a large group to get sounds from around a room.
The megaphone feature is a bit silly, but does seem to work, and some effects can make your voice sound strange.
The software apps for iOS and Android seem to largely mimic the controls on the speaker itself, and while they do allow changing of the sound profile, and few other tweaks, they seem mostly unneeded. On iOS, there is actually 3 apps, that all seem to have a crossover of features, or could have been easily rolled into one. And really? Do I need a "remote control" app function for a speaker with I wouldn't ever get more than 50 feet away from for it to be of use?
The Creative Web site also alludes to Sound BlasterAxx Bonus Pack for PCs software, but it's not in the box (or on a simple microSD card they should have included to get you started), nor available for Mac, and further, is only a 30-day trial. You have to download this from the Web site, where you can also get a free control panel software for your PC or Mac. The installation of the software on a Mac actually requires a reboot. Really?
One of the features I LIKE is the ability to connect 2 BlueTooth devices at once... So, keep your phone, and your computer connected, or iPad, or whatever. As long as audio isn't actively playing from one, it can play from the other. (You can't mix audio from two devices together.)
At the end of the day, it's a decent speaker, and would certainly catch my eye at around $100. At $150, I start questioning my purchase, and at $299 or $375, I think they must have gone mad. The sound quality is sub-par to me, just because it has some highs, and a lot of mid-range, but no bass. The noise when nothing is playing seems high, too. The controls are not so much difficult to use, as to know WHAT you're doing. I feel like I'll need to laminate the instruction manual to make full use of the speaker over time. I've considered sending it back, but, alas, I've thrown the packing out, and I'm sure I'll use it for something.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
A full-featured Bluetooth Speaker and Microphone that’s a lot of fun!Apr 30, 2014
By SpinDoctor Reviews
The Creative Labs Sound Blaster AXX 200 bluetooth speaker is a one of the most impressive speakers, let alone bluetooth portable ones, that I’ve ever used. In this review, I will highlight aspects of my experience with the speaker.
The speaker comes with a microUSB charging cable and a power brick, which is a nice thing to include. This is the first bluetooth speaker I’ve reviewed that has included a separate power brick, so that to charge it, it’s not necessary to use another power brick or plug it into your computer.
There’s a quick start guide, and also a more extensive instruction booklet that details all the features of the device. On the side of the speaker, there’s a sticker with the basic instructions, such as how to turn it on, how to enter bluetooth pairing mode, recording with the speaker, etc. I found the instructions easy to understand, and the controls on the back were quite self explanatory with the labels.
There’s a lot of extra features in this speaker, some of them more gimmicky than others. For example, when you pair it up with an iPhone or iPad, it will prompt you to download the Creative Sound Blaster apps, which allow you to change the equalizer setting, and access some of the features such as the battery level, remote, etc. I particularly liked the megaphone feature, which projects your voice through a microphone on the back. It’s useful for a large crowd, or for a party when you want to get the group’s attention.
Using the speaker to play music was amazing. I’m a bit of an audiophile, so I care a lot about audio quality in the speakers I use. The Creative AXX 200 absolutely blew me away. For a speaker of its size, it has excellent highs, mids, and pretty decent base, due to a built in subwoofer at the back. In addition, it gets REALLY loud. I was able to use this outside for a crowded party with no problem at all. In using it just to listen to music in my apartment, I barely turn the volume past a quarter of the max level because it can get so loud. There was no distortion at the highest volume levels, either.
One thing to note is that when you connect the speaker through Bluetooth, the buttons at the back will not work to play/pause or change the next song. The touch control volume on the front, however, adjusts the volume great. It syncs to the volume on your device, so there’s not two different volume settings to fiddle with. I personally liked this feature a lot. When I increased the volume through my phone, it showed the volume level on the speaker raised as well.
Another great feature of the device is that it doubles as a battery pack. This is great if you’re on the go, or going on a trip and want to be able to charge your device. It can charge any device through USB. Recharging the speaker was quite fast, too.
Overall, I’m EXTREMELY impressed by this speaker by Creative. If you’re looking for a high end bluetooth speaker with tons of bells and whistles, look no further!
I was provided with this item as a sample in exchange for my fair and honest evaluation. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me in my profile.
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