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Altec Lansing Life Jacket 3 Review

The new $149.ninety nine Life Jacket three is an replace to Altec Lansing’s Life Jacket Bluetooth speaker lineup. 

 

The rugged, water resistant Life Jacket three floats, and might challenge audio at fairly excessive volumes, making it well-proper for out of doors use. Altec Lansing additionally consists of a strong array of accessories, which include a mounting package for bikes. It’s too bad, then, that the virtual sign processing (DSP) hired through the speaker is dialed as much as the sort of excessive level. You do not want to be a valid snob to word the dynamics of any given music getting squashed because the extent appears to dramatically boost and dip. A extra diffused method to DSP might have ended in a completely one of a kind listening experience, however as matters stand, the Life Jacket three’s finest presents are its rugged layout and beneficial accessories, at the same time as its audio overall performance is simply first rate.

Design

 

Measuring 4.7 through 8.6 through 4.2 inches (HWD), the rugged, rubber-coated Life Jacket three is to be had in darkish gray, with blue, teal, or pink highlights. If you have visible the Life Jacket three’s smaller sibling, the Mini Life Jacket three ($59.00 at Amazon)(Opens in a brand new window) , they’re actually indistinguishable besides for size—the Mini is manifestly smaller, and makes use of smaller drivers, however their contours and format are almost identical. Both audio system are rated IP67, that means they’re water resistant up to at least one meter. And as mentioned, the Life Jacket three, like its sibling, also can drift. Behind the speaker grille, the Life Jacket three employs twin 2-inch neodymium drivers and a rear-firing passive bass radiator.

On the pinnacle panel, the Life Jacket three has a energy button that doubles because the play/pause control—maintain it in to energy up or down, faucet it to govern playback. You also can solution calls or cease them with this button, or faucet it two times to enter Voice mode (which summons Siri on iOS gadgets). The plus and minus buttons paintings in a comparable manner—faucet them to modify extent (this works at the side of your cell device’s grasp extent level), maintain them in to navigate tracks.

Unfortunately, it is enormously smooth to by chance pass a music while you suggest to modify the extent in case you are now no longer paying near attention. Various different mixtures of the buttons being pressed let you pair the speaker with any other Life Jacket three and assign left and proper channels to each, or cross into pairing mode. (The Life Jacket three can pair with up to a few gadgets so that you can concentrate to one, and take calls from any other.) The pinnacle panel additionally acts as an NFC pairing quarter for well matched gadgets.

The lower back panel homes a snap-close compartment that protects the micro USB port for charging (a micro USB cable is protected), a three.5mm aux input (a quick audio cable is protected), and a USB port for charging cell gadgets the use of the speaker’s battery. A threaded hollow on the lowest panel connects to the protected mount system, permitting you to clamp the Life Jacket to any variety of cylindrical surfaces, like a bike’s handlebars.

Altec Lansing estimates battery existence to be as much as 30 hours, however your effects will range primarily based totally to your blend of stressed and wi-fi playback, and your extent tiers.

Performance

 

The virtual sign processing utilized by the Life Jacket three isn’t diffused. It ambitions to save you distortion at better extent tiers through proscribing the dynamic peaks of louder moments in tracks—specifically bass-heavy ones. But the end result regularly seems like extent is dipping while matters are loud and elevating notably while there is a quieter moment. It will pressure any audiophiles obtainable insane, however it is sufficient to irk even people who are much less picky.

On tracks with severe sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the Life Jacket three flirts with distortion at pinnacle extent tiers.

 

 It can get plenty louder and supply a more potent experience of bass reaction than its Mini sibling, however all of us searching out a large bass sound goes to want to spend extra money. At slight volumes, the experience that the drivers are teetering on the threshold of distortion disappears and the Life Jacket three grants a clean, mids-targeted sound, albeit one which dips and increases every time there is a quick damage withinside the audio onslaught.

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a music with much less deep bass withinside the blend, offers us a higher concept of the Life Jacket three’s average sound signature. Bass-ahead audio system can regularly imbue the drums in this music with a long way an excessive amount of deep low-cease, however the Life Jacket three grants the drums with a modest experience of bass depth—not anything so as to be fallacious for thunder or an overactive subwoofer. Callahan’s baritone vocals get a strong, wealthy low-mid presence it is matched with a few crisp excessive-mid side that brings out their contour, in addition to the assault of the guitar strums and drums. But again, while the dynamics of this music change—on the bridge or the chorus, for instance, after which lower back into the verse—you get DSP extent dips.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church withinside the Wild,” the kick drum loop’s assault receives lots of excessive-mid focus, bringing out its sharp side, at the same time as the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are brought with a first rate experience of depth—however not anything like a subwoofer should bring. The vocals manipulate to drift brightly over the multilayered blend, with out ever sounding too sibilant. But there are nonetheless the ones dips wreaking havoc at the dynamics.