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.