Hunkered down in the CNET NYC
listening room, the Audiophiliac compared an ancient JVC PC-X100 boom box with
the latest and greatest portable wireless speakers, starting with the little Riva Turbo X that some say is a top contender.
Armed with ADX Trillium audio technology and seven custom ADX transducers, the Turbo X wasn't bad, but the JVC
PC-X100's size advantage was obvious. The little Turbo X's bass had nice
impact, but the midrange and treble sounded like a small table radio. Dynamic
range was compressed and limited, so the JVC PC-X100 stomped all over the Turbo
Aiwa EXOS-9 vs. JVC PC-X100
The Riva Turbo X was
overwhelmed by the PC-X100, so I next tried the mighty Aiwa EXOS-9 Bluetooth
speaker that's bigger and bulkier than the PC-X100. The EXOS-9's brawn made
itself known; it played louder, but this bad boy sounds harsh and grating at
any volume. The PC-X100 was smoother and clearer, but it couldn't play as loud
as the EXOS-9. It was a closer contest, but I'd rather listen to the PC-X100
any day of the week.
Tweaking the sound balance
The JVC PC-X100 has an easy-to-adjust graphic equalizer on its top panel, changing the sound's tonal
balance was a snap. Most vintage 'boxes were similarly equipped.
Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth Speaker vs. JVC PC-X100
The Fluance Fi30 looks a bit
like a boom box, and this one sounded clearer than the other Bluetooth speakers.
The high-gloss wood cabinet looks sweet, too; bass is nicely detailed, not at
all pumped up or exaggerated. The Fi30 is the best affordable Bluetooth speaker
I've heard, but the JVC PC-X100 wasn't embarrassed by the comparison.
JVC PC-X100, not bad for 24 years old
I'm not claiming the PC-X100
was the greatest boom box of its era, just a very decent-sounding 'box. It's
big, and sounds it, especially when you compare it with any small 2015 portable
Bluetooth speaker. They all sounded crude and harsh next to this big guy.
Detach the JVC PC-X100's speakers for even better sound
I haven't seen too many
Bluetooth speakers that let you spread the left and right speakers like the JVC
PC-X100's. Placed a few feet apart, the two speakers produce true stereo!
Swapping out the JVC PC-X100's speakers for better speakers
Substituting the inexpensive Dayton B652 speakers was a major upgrade over the JVC PC-X100's standard
speakers. Some, but not all boom boxes let you change speakers, that's an advantage
I've rarely seen on Bluetooth systems.
Stepping up to even better speakers
Even better sound, here's a
pair of Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers with the JVC PC-X100, I loved
that combination. Of course, you can try out any small speaker with your boom box.
To change a boom box's speakers...
Look and see if your boom box
has speaker connectors like this on its rear panel.
The JVC PC-X100's Hyper-Bass Sound
The JVC PC-X100's central
unit not only houses the amplifier, radio, CD and cassette player, there's also
an internal woofer you hear from the front panel's twin bass ports. The bass was boomy, and lacking in definition. Then again, that's why they called them boom boxes!