Jambox vs. HMDX Jam

This comparison is still in progress… this is just the initial draft ūüôā

Front view of the fun 'jam' packaging

Front view of the fun ‘jam’ packaging

[more photos will be added]

First we will start with a comparison of performance on six different songs covering a variety of eras and genres:

Listening (at moderate/normal volume levels)

Jambox ratings for the following sampling of songs:

  • Thrift Shop – this is a fun song and the Jambox does a superb job here. Everything sounds as it should. Excellent
  • Roll Over Beethoven, Chuck Berry -overall nice sound and no problem keeping up with the vocals as well as fast paced instrumental sections. Good.
  • Bette Davis Eyes,¬†Kim Carnes –¬†very pleasant vocals though the Jambox slightly overdoes the bass. Good
  • Back in Time, Pitbull – bass is¬†almost overdone here but the Jambox manages to rein it in and produce a pleasant rendition of this fun and catch song. Good
  • Bom Bom Bom – thumping bass beat, nice vocals and all the instruments sound great. Excellent
  • Rumour Has It,

HMDX Jam

  • ¬†Thrift Shop – the bass is missing and the saxophone solo is not as striking as it should be. Poor (compared to the Jambox).
  • Roll Over Beethoven, Chuck Berry – guitar riffs sound good and vocals are okay too. Good
  • Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes –¬†vocals come through acceptably but the overall song ends up being rather flat. Fair
  • Back in Time, Pitbull – overall feel of the song is good, bass and vocals not quite up to par though. Fair
  • Bom Bom Bom, vocals are nice and the song is still fun but the bass beat is missing. Good
  • Rumour Has It, surprisingly nice sound throughout this song. Excellent

 Winner: Jambox, a deeper richer sound in almost all songs. At moderate listening levels this is a tough speaker to beat!

Listening (at LOUD levels, volume turned all the way up)

NOTE: this 1 to 10 scale is relative to small portable bluetooth speakers, if I were to pit these against (larger) bookshelf speakers then the portable speaker scores would be lower… hopefully this makes sense!

HMDX Jam
9/10
Loud enough to easily fill a decent sized room (25’x25′). Vocals get a little shrill when the speaker is turned all the way up. Can play loud enough for it to be uncomfortable for me to listen to (i.e. hurt my ears). If you live in an apartment you could easily get some complaints when this speaker is turned up all the way. ūüėČ

How did these songs sound when played loudly?

  • Bom Bom Bom, sounds fair and goes loud with minimal issues. Good
  • Thrift shop, vocals get shrill and overall sound is not ‘full’. Fair
  • Relax/meditation music, sounds very nice and gets loud. Good.
  • Back in Time, overall sound can get a little flat but instrumental riffs sound good. Fair.
  • Rumor¬†Has It, gets loud and hangs in there okay even with Adele’s vocals. Fair.

Jambox:
8/10
Fills a large room (25’x25′) sufficiently for my tastes and does so with more bass. However, it does not get as loud as the HMDX Jam.

How did these songs sound when played loudly?

  • Bom Bom Bom, nice bass and decent vocals but the overall sound get a little muddled at full volume. Good
  • Thrift shop, vocals get shrill and overall sound is not ‘full’. Good
  • Relax/meditation music, distortion occurs with wind instruments and the sound is harsh in general. Bad.
  • Back in Time, bass ends up overpowering and distorting everything else, otherwise some pleasant sound. Fair.
  • Rumour Has It, achieves a nice volume and handles the bass and vocals with ablumb. Excellent.

I was surprised to find that at high volumes I generally preferred the HMDX Jam. The HMDX¬†gets louder than the Jambox and distorts less. When the Jambox sounds bad at high volume it sounds really¬†bad, whereas the HMDX¬†Jam never rarely gets to the ‘bad’ level.

Lets be realistic, neither of these speakers can be a bass powerhouse… but unfortunately the Jambox tries to be and that is its downfall. However, I would not recommend playing any of these small speakers at their highest volume settings so this is not a huge loss for the Jambox.

Loudness Winner: HMDX Jambox, it gets loud and it does so while retaining a generally pleasing sound.

Bass

Jambox
The Jambox really tries hard to do justice to bass and it succeeds at low to moderate listening volumes. Beware though, turning the volume up higher can end up being a real issue though as the bass begins negatively affecting the rest of the sound and often resulting in distortion.
Rating 7/10

HMDX Jam
It does not have much bass but most sonds still sound pretty good. If you are a big bass fan and to make sure the bass shines through in your music, skip this speaker.
Rating 5/10

Winner: Jambox, there really is not much competition.

Connectivity and range:

Jambox
Takes some time connecting. I occasionally had trouble connecting to the Jambox and would have to power it off/on to connect. Likewise, I would occasionally lose connection to the Jambox. These issues occurred on both Android (EVO 4G LTE) and iOS (iPad). Range was excellent at 50ft+.
Rating: 7/10

HMDX Jam
Generally paired quickly and reliably. Disconnects were rare. Range of approximately 30ft.
Rating: 8/10

Winner: HMDX Jam, it simply did a better job than its competitor when it came to establishing and keeping a connection. The Jambox does have admirable range so it gets a close runner-up award here.

Overall rating in small speaker category:

Jambox 

There is a reason the Jambox is so popular… it sounds bigger than it is ¬†ūüôā

Rating: 8/10 Very good.

HMDX Jam 

For a value oriented (cheap) speaker the HMDX Jam does an admirable job. It loves to get loud, but unfortunately it lacks the bass and fullness of sound that are hallmarks of the Jambox.

For around $35 it is a great portable bluetooth speaker ūüôā but if you truly want the best sound out there (for moderate listening levels) then look elsewhere.

Rating: 7/10 Good. 

Overall rating in ALL speaker category:

Jambox 6/10

I could listen to a lot of my music on the Jambox exclusively and be pretty happy. It holds its own against some systems that are quite a bit larger. Definitely an above average listening experience IMHO.

HMDX Jam 4/10

The lack of bass leaves the HMDX Jam incapable of competing  with larger and more expensive brethren.Again, a nice step up from laptop speakers or phone speakers, but not in the same class as larger speaker setups.

Speaker in packaging/case

Speaker in packaging/case

Speaker packaging/case with butter knife for size comparison

Speaker packaging/case with butter knife for size comparison

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