Here at the Texas Music Scene, we are sort of gadget freaks. We spend a ton of time in the field or on the road, and because of the amount of gear we have, we tend to like toys. More specifically, we like things that bring a little connivence or joy into our lives. Occasionally, we get both!
Some of you may recall my story a couple weeks ago about purchasing a Jam Rewind Bluetooth speaker. I had something very specific in mind when I set out on my search, and although the Rewind was not specifically what I was looking for, I just had to have it. Bottom line…I love it.
Now, soon after that, I found out that Jam also makes a more rugged, water-resistant, and yet VERY portable speaker as well. It is called the Jam Street. Still not EXACTLY what I need for my Kayaking adventures, but certainly useful near the pool or out in the woods. The good folks at Jam sent me one to take to the Braun Brothers Family Reunion in Idaho and try out. Right away, I used this in my truck to listen to a Podcast on the way to the airport. It was more than loud enough, and crystal clear. A speaker for my truck was one of the main reasons I have been wanting a Bluetooth speaker in the first place, so it passed Test #1 with flying colors. As a bonus, I was able to receive a phone call through it, which was kinda cool.
For those of you who have been to the Braun Brothers Festival, you know that cellular coverage can be a little dicey up there in the mountains. That means streaming music from Pandora or Spotify is a sketchy at best, and that it drains your device rather quickly, as it is constantly searching for a signal. Lucky for me, they also sent me a MyCharge Portable Power Pack to play with. I’ll get to that later, but this thing was a life-saver.
We rented an RV in Boise to act as our Texas Music Scene TV Mobile Command Unit for the week. So, we had 5 hours of travel time to reach the festival grounds. If you have ever driven a rented RV through the mountains, you know what I am talking about when I say there is plenty of creaking, cracking, and door slamming noises to keep you company. This is where the volume of the Street comes into play. It is MORE than loud enough to drown out any of those distractions, and let us keep our Texas Music jam rolling all the way to our destination. Beautiful sound…it is pretty amazing for it’s size.
One of my favorite things about the Street is that it has a little carabiner hook built into it. This let me hang it off my backpack/camera case, which made it easy to carry everywhere I went. I also hung it off my belt loop when I went exploring one morning. I never tested the BlueTooth distance, but it is rated to 30 feet. I had no need to ever get very far away from it since it was connected to my backpack most of the time, but it worked just fine from anywhere inside the RV, or even when I walked outside.
The specs say that it has an 8 hour battery life when fully charged, but I only charged it once before I left for the airport, and used it the entire trip. At the very LEAST, I got 8 hours out of it. I didn’t charge it until the day we got back to Texas. At that point it was still working fine, so I’d say it lasts longer than 8 hours. Maybe if I ran it for 8 hours straight it would have made a difference, but I can’t imagine a scenario where I would do that.
One of the other nice features is that it really doesn’t matter which way you point it. It has a 360 degree profile so isn’t directional sound like most of the other speakers I looked at. Another important factor for me is that it is tough. I had it strapped to my backpack most of the time, which meant it was thrown around quite a bit as I moved from place to place. At one point I set it on my bed, which was above the cab of the RV. That lasted all of about 3 minutes until I drove off through town to go fishing. Gravity took over, and it was quickly (and not so gently) relocated to the floor behind me along with my wallet, pack of Orbit gum, three fishing lures, and a bottle of water. It has some “character” now as I beat it up pretty good in the mountains. But, that is kinda the point I suppose. It certainly handles the things I would throw at it on a normal basis. You may find this hard to believe, but I am not the most cautious or graceful guy on the team.
The end result: I love it. It is rugged, portable, has great battery life, convenient, and most importantly sounds awesome! Retail price is $79, and that is a STEAL in my opinion.
A few other notes about the device:
AUX-in – it does have an Aux-in port so you don’t HAVE to use Bluetooth
Comes with a USB charger – standard micro USB charging port
Product Dimensions: 2.5 in x 1.8 in x 6.5 in
I wanted to also mention the MyCharge XTmax Portable Power Pack. I have owned a MyCharge before, and it served me well. I bought one as an extra battery pack for my iPhone 4s long ago. I tested the MyCharge XTmax on our Idaho trip as well. Again, this little guy saved me in Challis. The mountains were draining on my iPhone and I was never left in a bind thanks to this unit. It provides an impressive 27 hours of talk time, and charged my iPhone at least three times while we were at the stage shooting. I also used it to charge one of my Canon batteries for my camera. That was a nice surprise. It has 2 USB ports which make it EXTRA handy. Just for grins I plugged my Nike+ Sportswatch into it to see if it would charge it. Worked like a charm. I suppose you can charge just about anything that needs a USB Power supply. I will keep this guy in my camera case for sure. Very impressed with this portable charger. My old MyCharge is still going strong, but it was built with an iPhone 4s dongle, and doesn’t have the incredibly useful USB ports. This is a happy upgrade.
Battery: 6000mAh Lithium Ion
Product Dimensions: 3.9 in x 1.0 in x 3.1 in
Product Weight: 0.48 lbs.
2 USB ports deliver a combined 3.4A output