Sony SRS-XB40 and SRS-XB20 Bluetooth Speakers Review

Editor’s Intro – Xavier Lum

It is my honour to have my audiophile buddy, Mickey Tan to share both Sony SRS-XB40 review and SRS-XB20 review.


Hello Sony, it’s been a while, and I’m so glad to meet (Hear) you again.

I recall my first Hi-FI – a Sony FH-B1000; this was way before the Internet, iPhones and Uber. When music compact discs (CDs) was a thing, only rich boys were entitled to have. After watching the SONY HI-FI 1000 watts TV commercial aired, I begged my father to get me one in exchange to score well for my school grades.

Well, I did only pass one subject out of a few, and I became one of the lucky spoiled brats who get to own one. Then on, my father and I shared our afternoons listening to Kitaro Silk Road and Teresa Teng’s best hits on the “highest bitrate”.

25 years later, my dad is no longer around, and now I have a son. How strange the first time we shared time together listening to music was also a Sony. Abet on a different system, one that has everything that my dad and I could not fandom.

Sony SRS-XB40 Review
The sexy Sony SRS-XB40 Bluetooth Speaker…

Both Sony SRS-XB40 and SRS-XB20 Bluetooth Speakers come with the extra bass on such a small device 4.0-by-11.0-by-4.3-inch weighs a measly 3.3lbs, most importantly with water resistance index of IPX5. It is bathroom-safe, and we had fun playing with bubbles and water listening to nursery rhymes with them.

Splash proof SRS-XB40
My kid giving the SRS-XB40 a good scrub.

Design

All round edges with all the controls right on top, with all the connectors, nicely tucked behind a splash-proof cover. With the rubberised insulated cover, you can be sure that this impressive gadget can handle anything and anywhere; regardless wet or dry.

All buttons can be found at the top.

Performance

Sony SRS-XB40 in the “rain”

I have used and owned many other speakers such as Yamaha NX-U10, the Creative Roar, and the Creative Woof; but none of them has been the mainstay. Every other of them seem to be too clear, clean, and small sounding even all claimed to have extra bass. The sound produced from them has such a little sound space, everything feels like it’s coming from a small spot in the room. Sony SRS-XB40 has this large soundstage that seems impossible from such a small device. Sony must have a team of sound engineers who know what they are doing. The soundstage feels vast and expansive. It sounded larger than it is.

Singing in the rain with Sony SRS-XB20

I could not say the same about the smaller SRS-XB20. My Creative Roar and Yamaha NX-U10 at least has the highs that are clean and sharp whereas SRS-XB20 struggles on the high side. SRS-XB40 on the other hand, you get a very comfortable balance of vocal and bass, a little short on the highs but the sound comes together.

While listening to Bossanova, I can vouch that the sound is crisp and pleasing but still a far cry from my favourite bookshelf speakers set-up by Micca MB42X with a Lepai LP-2024A+amp.

Uniques

Controlling the speaker illumination with the Sony Fiestable apps, available in Apple and Google Playstore

The LED thing seems to have other brands following Sony’s footstep. Why? People want it, and why not? Light and sound always go hand in hand. With a combination of well-designed apps — Sony Fiestable and Music Centre (Available on iOS and Android), it gives you the ability to customise the lighting, rhythms and moods, or to turn it off altogether.

Conclusion

The glows and sparks feels like having a taste of what DJs do, great splash-proof design, fascinated my little one and me, making our bathtime party more fun. The duo definitely raised the bar for Bluetooth speakers of it’s range with good sound quality and price.

Signed
Mickey Tan

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