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DemerBox Big Bang review:

This all-terrain Bluetooth speaker doubles as a waterproof lunchbox

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The Good Ultra-durable Pelican shell seals internal compartment from wind, dirty, and water, port hole on the front produces tons of bass, 40+ hour battery life with internal USB port for charging smartphones, reaches significantly louder volumes with better clarity than competing Bluetooth speakers.

The Bad Expensive, there's no way to tell how much battery life remains in the speaker.

The Bottom Line The DemerBox Big Bang Bluetooth boombox is at the top of its class in bass response, loudness, durability, and battery life. It's not the cheapest device on the shelf, but if you can afford it, the Big Bang is well worth the cost for a hand-built wireless speaker built entirely in the USA.

Buy directly from DemerBox

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Sound 8.0
  • Value 7.0

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James Demer makes a living as a sound mixer for films and his job takes him to remote locations where wiring a delicate, traditional sound system isn't always an option. He had the idea to build a Bluetooth-enabled boom box into the lid of a rugged Pelican storage case and asked Kickstarter to help him with the initial funding necessary for development and testing, and now the DemerBox Big Bang is ready for mass market.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Big Bang is the toughest-looking Bluetooth speaker I've ever tested, and that's a good thing because it also happens to sound great, too. When the latches are sealed and the port plug is installed, the inside of the case acts as a bass reflex box that opens up space for air to redistribute, which in turn produces a serious bass boost that punches much harder than any traditional Bluetooth speaker I've heard.

Each unit is is built by hand at the DemerBox offices in Portland, Maine, and that means you can expect the company to stand by its product, even if you're not taking it to the furthest corners of the Earth. The speaker is water resistant for all weather conditions, and the lithium ion internal battery even lets you recharge your own devices with a USB port located underneath the lid.

Priced at $399, the DemerBox Big Bang is certainly a "premium-priced" Bluetooth speaker; larger Bluetooth competitors like the UE Megaboom cost $299, but keep in mind that the Big Bang is a boutique product built from parts sourced exclusively in the USA. Additionally, its sound is unrivaled for its size and the extra tough shell means you don't have to worry about it getting banged up, no matter what.

Design

The speaker comes in royal blue, orange, yellow, and matte black color schemes, all with black speaker grills and a small rectangular DemerBox logo on top of the lid. The cool thing about in-house design and manufacturing is that Demer can also make small, limited runs of different colors available to customers too, and right now you can buy a special-edition camo Big Bang in muddy girl, true timber and white digital camo colorways for $100 extra.

Sarah Tew/CNET

DemerBox made the right decision to use a Pelican hard case as the vessel for the Big Bang boom box. Pelican's high-impact Copolymer Propylene cases are used around the world by photographers, military, law enforcement, and anyone else that needs an indestructible container.

They can easily withstand extreme temperatures and there's a small pressure equalization valve built into the lip that seals its contents from dust, dirt, and water. In this application, that means you can safely store your iPhone, chargers and valuables inside it while you use it in less than ideal conditions.

The company really means it when it says the Big Bang is built to last. The DemerBox YouTube channel shows the speaker surviving various stress tests: it gets left outside in a snowstorm for 24 hours, encased in a block of ice for a day, and dunked in a fish tank.

It survives all of it and continues to play music at full volume with no difference in playback, so I'm confident it can withstand anything you might encounter with it in tow.

Size

The Big Bang is bigger than the average Bluetooth speaker, roughly the size of a basketball so it's not in the same category as smaller, luggage-friendly devices like the UE Boom 2 . While you probably won't want to hike several miles to a camp site with it tied to your backpack, there's a handle on top of it that makes it easy to grab and take around with you on shorter trips.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Plus the benefit of storing things inside makes it feel like a lunch box that happens to have a high-powered speaker built into it -- I didn't find it too heavy to bring to the beach or on a car-camping weekend trip while I tested it out. In fact, the extra weight was totally worth it once my friends and I all heard the impressively high volumes and super bass kicks. This thing can easily drown out several loud conversations if you turn the volume all the way up.

Connectivity

The internal storage container is only a small piece of the Big Bang recipe. All the electrical action happens inside the lid: DemerBox designed and produced its own circuit board and coated it themselves to protect it from corrosion and liquid, which powers the music via two 3-inch speakers with an impedance rating of 8 ohms each.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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