Technology

JBL Link Music Review

The $119.ninety five Link Music is JBL’s smallest, maximum low-priced clever speaker. With assist for AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Google Assistant voice instructions, it gives no scarcity of capabilities. Sonically, you may assume rather excessive quantity degrees for its length, with wealthy bass and a first rate stability among lows and highs. That said, that is in the end a mono speaker with a unmarried driving force, so in case you’re on the lookout for booming bass, you may must spend a chunk extra.

Design

Measuring 5.three through four.four inches (HW), the cylindrical Link Music weighs in at 1.6 kilos and is to be had in mild or darkish grey models. The outer panel of the speaker is protected in material grille, and the pinnacle panel homes pinhole mics for Google Assistant manipulate, in addition to plus/minus buttons for quantity manipulate and a primary Google Assistant button for controlling playback and alarms/timers. Holding the button down for 2 seconds turns on Google Assistant in case you do not need to apply voice instructions. 

The speaker’s lower back panel homes a Bluetooth pairing button, a mic mute button (whilst the mic is muted, amber LEDs seem at the back of the dress grille at the the front panel), and a connection for the protected strength cable. The backside of the speaker has a rubberized coating to stabilize it on flat surfaces. 

Setting up the Link Music to apply Google Assistant calls for the Google Home app. Other than coming into your Wi-Fi password, the app handles pretty much the entirety else for you, and then you’re equipped to circulation audio or manipulate Google Assistant with hands-loose vocal instructions. If the Link Music wishes a software program update, the Google Home app will routinely set up it.

We discovered the voice manipulate capabilities to paintings pretty well. The mics picked up our voice instructions even if track become gambling at extraordinarily excessive volumes, and there had been in no way any command misfires.

Behind the grille, the Link Music employs a unmarried 20-watt driving force turning in a frequency variety of 60Hz to 20kHz. It’s well matched with Bluetooth four.2, and works over 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wi-fi networks.

 

Performance

 

On tracks with excessive sub-bass content, just like the Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the speaker gives you laudable low-frequency reaction for its length and price. The thumps are robust, and there’s no distortion at pinnacle volumes—aleven though at most volumes, the DSP (virtual sign processing) thins out the bass hits notably.

 

See How We Test Speakers

 

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a tune with a ways much less deep bass withinside the mix, offers us a higher feel of the Link Music’s widespread sound signature. The drums in this tune can sound unnaturally thunderous on bass-ahead speakers, however via the Link Music’s mono driving force, the drums sound extra modest. Instead, it’s Callahan’s baritone vocals that get the majority of the bass presence—they sound even richer than usual, and if there weren’t first rate excessive-mid presence right here as well, the combinationture could danger sound muddy. The acoustic strums and higher-sign up percussive hits acquire sufficient excessive-mid and excessive frequency presence to preserve the combinationture balanced, however interestingly, even in a speaker this length, that is a lows-leaning sound signature. The Link Music can not reproduce super-deep lows, so the point of interest is on slight lows and low-mid frequencies, and that they get driven ahead extra so than the highs.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church withinside the Wild,” the kick drum loop gets sufficient excessive-mid presence in its assault to preserve its punchiness, however what appears to acquire extra boosting is the vinyl crackle and hiss that’s normally relegated to history status. Here, it’s driven ahead, indicating a few sculpting withinside the highs. The drum loop’s thump is likewise intensified a chunk with a few low and low-mid boosting, however the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are extra implied than introduced—we pay attention their raspy pinnacle notes and now no longer an awful lot of the ominous deep bass which could frequently overtake the combinationture. The vocals in this tune are introduced with strong clarity, and possibly a smidge of delivered sibilance.

Orchestral tracks, just like the commencing scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, get a few delivered low-mid push, bringing the lower-sign up instrumentation rather ahead withinside the mix. The higher-sign up brass, strings, and vocals sound a chunk much less brilliant and crisp than usual—the sound signature feels subtly shifted to the lows, with much less element withinside the highs. It’s now no longer a muddy sound, however it’s much less brilliant than we’re used to hearing.

 

Conclusions

 

For its length and price, the JBL Link Music gives you a few palpable bass thump paired with sufficient stability withinside the highs for matters to sound complete and wealthy with out veering into muddiness or missing in element. For a speaker to your kitchen or office, it’s possibly were given extra firepower than you’ll assume from its modest frame. At $120, it is a strong value, aleven though you may get the Amazon Echo (third Generation) for much less. And in case you’re searching out a bit extra strength and bass intensity in a clever speaker, the $a hundred thirty Sonos One (Gen 2) and the $2 hundred Amazon Echo Studio are sturdy alternatives.