If you are a fan of black gizmos with a satisfactory helping of silver accents, the OnBeat Xtreme could be the speaker dock for you personally. The very first thing you’ll notice about the kit is JBL’s Weave design, that is a nice break from the standard ol’ bar shaped lightweight sound devices, so far as we’re concerned. Instead of having a normal dock nesting station for your iOS device a rotating device connector is flanked by two arms that secure your iPad or iPhone while keeping their orientation in flux if the need arise. That is more useful with the slate than with the handset, but in any event, it’s a good touch in order to charge and rotate if needed. Although, if you are looking to employ the portrait mode for your Apple tablet, you could have to be somewhat selective concerning which shelf the dock calls home.

Moving around to the proper of leading side, you’ll discover a foursome of control buttons. Maintaining the silver motif, they are a backlit polished silver but more matte compared to the silver panel that covers the very best of the dock. Power, volume, source select and Bluetooth phone buttons reside here, providing you all of the non-DJ controls you will need. The backlit controls certainly are a nice touch, and the machined silver materials may actually make the group withstand heavy use. When in dock mode, the foundation button is lit white, however when you need to decide on a Bluetooth connection, hold that control down and since it turns to blue (well played, JBL), your wireless tunes are all set. Although at times, the quantity controls were just a little tardy in response to your calling for more cowbell (read: face-melting output). Heading around to the trunk panel, you will discover auxiliary input, video out, USB and power connections right in the heart of the dock.

In the snazzy black and silver exterior, you will discover JBL Ridge tweeters and Atlas Woofers. Four transducers use 30 amplification watts each within an effort muster top-notch clarity, whether your cranking Mastodon or The Civil Wars. Much like a great many other offerings, an RF remote can be included filled with playback and menu controls. You understand, for anyone who is so completely relaxed you don’t want to hop up off the couch to skip to another song. Even though you were, you could wirelessly hook up your device and keep it directly on your lap, but we digress. You may also utilize the remote to switch between your dock’s five EQ modes: music, movies, chat, internet radio or game. By holding down the guts button, and carefully reading the flashing source select LED, you can navigate between these but only in these order. We actually found the equalizer a lttle bit confusion, as we were never accurately sure which mode we were in.


Let’s get to the heart of the problem: the way the thing sounds when cranked up to 11. We’re pleased to report that the OnBeat Xtreme provides beautiful clarity at a minimal, background noise level and maintains the same quality when cranked up to full-on dance party volume. Said quality also enables you to detect more subtle nuances in your album library — just like the crisp snare hits of The Appleseed Cast, for instance. We placed on Haste the Day’s Dreamer and slowly worked our way up to full volume. Even at practically maximum output levels, the dock performed nicely, giving growling vocals and chugging guitars their rightful place. And, we didn’t detect any distortion or noise from about six feet away.

Bass lines and beats never became muddy, even across genres.
Being the music aficionados that people are, we were sure to place the OnBeat Xtreme through a grueling genre test. To look at the reduced end, we blasted Jay-Z’s “Hello Brooklyn 2.0.” Bass, snare and other factors of the track maintained their individuality and the lyrics stayed clear even at a louder volume. Bass lines and beats never became muddy, even across genres. As recovering musicians, we fancy the opportunity to discern and revel in individual components of every track we paid attention to made this a worthy contender in the speaker dock realm. Moving down through Anberlin to the Punch Brothers, whatever musical style we threw at it, the machine held up nicely.

Highs are top-notch aswell. We hate to dwell on these clarity with regards to the snare drum, but we’re suckers for high-level music output, and that performance continues near the top of the audio tracks spectrum. Vocal quality will probably be worth another mention aswell. We never encountered a scenario where muffled harmonies ruined a properly good hook. As well, the highs aren’t overly brilliant either as the treble level appears to be well engineered.

While we’ve seen some docks have a problem with the mid-range tones, this JBL group of speakers is not one of these. Unlike what we saw with the G-17 Air, musical factors like super technical metal guitars a la A Plea For Purging kept their tone and stood out nicely. Even through the full assault of breakdowns and choruses, guitar parts hold their own. Add this to the duo of superior highs and beefy lows, and you have yourself an excellent sounding dock.

Bluetooth connectivity
Trying to use wireless connectivity with any device, aside from an sound accessory, can often be a hassle. That isn’t the case here, as connecting via Bluetooth was fast and simple. Once our iOS devices were paired with the OnBeat Xtreme, connecting only took a few seconds. Range was in what you’d expect for a device upon this connection, as we could actually still control and stream until we walked in to the next room. Moreover, there is no noticeable decay in sound quality either, as we were pleased to keep our iPad inside our lap while rockin’ out.

Phone use
Due to the Bluetooth and iPhone compatibility, the OnBeat Xtreme permits you to make hands-free calls without needing to leave the dock. Built with an integral microphone, the dock enables you to order that pizza you’re craving without walking to the coffee table to get your phone. On the other hand, this only worked for all of us in Bluetooth mode, rather than when our iPhone was resting in the dock. The audio tracks quality of our calls was much like you might face on any speakerphone call. But let’s not pretend, we’re not likely to be by using a $500 speaker dock to generate a ton of calls which means this is certainly not really a deal breaker at all.

The very first time you nest your iOS device in the dock, the OnBeat Xtreme offers you a gentle nudge to download the JBL OnBeat iphone app from the App Store. In all honesty, we choose the look of the iPod function on both iPad and iPhone to the business’s application. There’s not necessarily any added functionality that you can’t from the stock software. For all intents and purposes, it’s unnecessary and you could manage just fine using what Apple offers you on each device. Although, if you are into hopping backwards and forwards between iOS and the app, your album progress will be held (when paused, of course) until you resume playback on the other software. Bluetooth could be accessed here (and AirPlay were the dock compatible), nevertheless, you can manage that connectivity and never have to load another application on your device. Possibly the directions in the tutorial how use the wireless features is a redeeming element, but that basically boils down to whether you’d like to read it in some recoverable format or on the screen of your device.