Review: Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 Bluetooth Speaker
Creative's Sound Blaster Roar 2 ($170) is a sequel to its original Sound Blaster Roar (which we never reviewed). This speaker is smaller than the original, with Creative claiming the audio has also been improved. Sound Blaster Roar 2 is a portable Bluetooth speaker with five drivers — two 1.5" tweeters, a 2.5" subwoofer, and two passive radiators. The speaker is chock full of features, including some that aren't seen in most Bluetooth speakers, such as a micro-SD card reader and voice recorder. Creative claims the speaker gets up to 8 hours of battery life. Sound Blaster Roar 2 ships with its own power adapter and a micro-USB cable, and it comes in black or white. A carrying bag is sold separately for $40.
Sound Blaster Roar 2’s design is pretty straightforward — it’s less about aesthetics than it is making sure its many features are easy to access. The top of the speaker features the grill, which houses its upward-firing drivers. It’s accompanied up top by volume controls, a power button, a multifunction Bluetooth/speakerphone button, recording and battery indictor lights, and an NFC sensor. The sides feature passive radiators. Sound Blaster Roar 2 is about 7.4” x 4.3” x 2” and weighs about 2.2 pounds.
The backside of Sound Blaster Roar 2 reveals the major differences between this speaker and its Bluetooth competitors. In addition to fairly typical playback controls, a micro-USB port, DC input, and audio port, Creative’s speaker also boasts a USB port for recharging an iOS device with its 6000 mAh battery. A MicroSD card slot allows the speaker to play songs directly from a MicroSD card, and recording controls are built into the speaker as well, allowing Sound Blaster Roar 2 to record conversations or incoming phone calls, with the speakerphone function.
One more feature is the speaker’s ROAR/Tera Bass button. ROAR mode boosts volume and widens audio output, while Tera Bass “intelligently makes up for the perceived loss of bass during low volume playback” — the button does add a touch more bass when playing at low volumes. Sound Blaster Roar 2 is a Bluetooth 3.0 speaker (an older spec, but pairing was not an issue) with support for aptX and AAC codecs, and Creative notes the speaker can also hook up to a Playstation 4 via micro-USB.
In the sound department, Sound Blaster Roar 2 is a top performer for its size and price range, offering strong, well-rounded performance from song to song in various genres. The speaker compares favorably to competitors, including UE’s recent UE Boom 2 — overall performance is very close between the two, though UE Boom 2 can get louder. Long-term listening is no problem with Sound Blaster Roar 2.
Bass isn’t overpowering, but is solid — it offers more than another fine comparable portable speaker, such as Braven’s BRV-PRO. We prefer to listen to Sound Blaster Roar 2’s standard mode, but Tera Bass and ROAR mode have their merits, and can be used to positive effect in certain situations. Speakerphone performance is also very good.
Sound Blaster 2 Roar is capable as a portable speaker, though it doesn’t strike us as the “take anywhere” type — there’s no waterproofing and a number of switches, buttons, and open ports. It’s fine to take with you in certain situations, but it would also be just as useful and proper around the house, preferably in a small or medium-sized room.
There’s a lot to love about Creative’s Sound Blaster Roar 2. It’s not the flashiest Bluetooth speaker out there, but it’s hard to beat when it comes to features (even if many users likely won’t use them all). And most importantly, the speaker offers top-notch sound. Though it launched at a higher price point, MSRP is now $170 — at that price, Sound Blaster Roar 2 is hard to beat, and it earns our high recommendation.