This isn’t like the other Bluetooth speakers we have reviewed so far. It isn’t portable, it isn’t small, but it offers a few extra features which make it a great choice for many people. The Sound Rise is an alarm clock combined with a speaker. You get a full featured alarm clock, a speaker with various inputs, and a device charger all in one. But is it the right product for your household?
Soundfreaq Sound Rise SFQ-05
Buy it from the Soundfreaq site
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio in, 30 pin iPod connector
External device charging: Yes, 1A USB port and 30 pin iPod connector
Features: Dual customizable alarms, FM radio, 2.1 speakers
What’s in the box: Sound Rise, power cable, FM antenna, two rubber pads (for either exposing or covering the 30 pin connector)
The Sound Rise is an alarm clock and speaker designed for your bedroom. With a base of 150mm by 143mm, its footprint is very small for its size. It has a height of 205mm, making it fairly tall. At first, it looked a little awkward and funny, but I quickly got used to it and grew to appreciate how little space it took up on my nightstand. And with the display situated between fabric speaker grills, the attractive glowing buttons, and the nice gloss plastic base, I think it’s a very attractive device.
The touch buttons flanking each side of the big display light up when they’re needed. Hitting the big snooze button on the base causes all of them to turn off. Hitting it again makes most of them light up. When music isn’t playing, three are not needed, thus turned off. Those buttons would be volume up, volume down, and tone. Touching the music button turns on music, as well as cycles through the four different inputs (Bluetooth, iPod, 3.5mm, and FM radio).
On the base, you can put either one of two included rubber pads on. The first, shown above, is a big block that is designed to cover the 30 pin iPod connector below it and act as a stand for any device you have.
Disclaimer: This is not my iPod, nor should you flame me for touching one
The second is a thin one made to keep the 30 pin connector exposed for your iPod/iPhone needs. I think this is an absolutely amazing design decision, both including a feature many will need but also making a way to elegantly hide it while accommodating other devices. But I think I know which one most of you will use.
The sides are unadorned, all fabric and plastic. The back is also fairly simple, though the bottom contains all the ports.There is the power port, a USB port providing 1A of power (just like most phone wall adapters), a 3.5mm auxiliary port, the port for the FM antenna (which is just a thin cable), and a dimmer button. This controls the brightness of the screen. There are 5 modes: brightest (very bright), normal (what I use most of the time), dim, extremely dim, and off. Extremely dim, coupled with the display being more gray than pure white, has the great advantage of not lighting up the entire room like most alarm clocks with lit displays. While I can’t sleep with lights on around me, this display doesn’t bother me most of the time. It’s well thought out.
The top has a thin metal grill. The speakers are right underneath, firing up instead of forward. This guarantees room filling sound, instead of being projected really low. Though my bedside table is knee level, my knees don’t have ears. With the speakers facing up, the room is filled with sound. This is one of the best design choices I’ve seen on such a device so far.
On the alarm clock side, the Sound Rise has two customizable alarms. Each can be set to play from a specific music source, like auxiliary, iPod, Bluetooth, or FM radio, or it can be set to just beep like a regular alarm clock. Each alarm can also be set to a specific day, weekdays, weekends, or all days. Each has individual volume control too.
When listening to music, you can set a timer for the music to be shut off if you like falling asleep to your tunes. The FM radio has both fine control and can tune to stations automatically. There is plenty of cool stuff in this alarm clock.
Soundfreaq also makes an app, and I tried out the Android version. To be honest, it’s absolutely useless. It’s unattractive and doesn’t do anything that your normal music player can’t do. Luckily, it isn’t at all necessary and has no special features. All I can say is that I can appreciate Soundfreaq offering an app, but I wish they would work harder on it.
Build quality is less important in an alarm clock than in a portable speaker, but it is nonetheless something to take into account. I can say with confidence that the Sound Rise is build very solidly. You shouldn’t be at all worried about how well this speaker is built.
This is the second Soundfreaq speaker I’ve tested, and this is the second time I’ve been absolutely shocked. I was impressed with the Sound Kick for the sound it produced for its size and low $100 price tag, along with not sacrificing build quality. Since this is not a portable speaker, and it is significantly bigger, they have improved the sound quality while retaining the same $100 price.
And yes, the sound is incredible. It is clean, fairly well balanced, and really loud. Yes, it can fill a room with really loud music easily. It doesn’t distort at high volumes and continues to provide very impressive bass. The bass is sharp and punchy, not muddy, and does not shake the actual speaker. Unlike most other Bluetooth speakers, Soundfreaq speakers emit bass you can feel, instead of just shaking the speaker and the table it is resting on, and I absolutely love that.
There is a tone button for those who need it. You can either set it to bright (boosts highs), warm (boosts lows), or no setting, which leaves it balanced. For every genre of music I listened to, it sounded best with no tone change, so I kept the tone button off. I’m still glad they included it for those who don’t like to listen to music as it was intended to be heard (I joke!).
Soundfreaq has once again far surpassed my expectations in audio quality, and every time I listen to this thing, I can’t help but smile.
I love this speaker. It can wake me up, charge my phone, and fill my entire room with excellent quality sound. If you watch movies in bed on your tablet, this could be a great product to have. Instead of using the mediocre (or even poor) speaker on your tablet, why not wirelessly connect to your bedside Sound Rise? Or maybe put it in the kitchen for a great speaker for those who love to cook.
This is a great speaker for a low price with many features. If you were looking for this kind of product, consider this. It’s fantastic in pretty much every way and gets my seal of approval.