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It doesn’t take long to look at the Marley Roots Rock Bluetooth Audio System and realize that it stands on its own when it comes to its unique design. The combination of wood and fabric are a departure from the hard plastics and metals so common in portable speaker systems, but good sound doesn’t come from just what’s on the surface. We look into what kind of audio prowess the Roots Rock can offer.
Dual 4-inch speakers with two full-range drivers and two passive radiators
Bluetooth audio streaming
1 auxiliary input (comes with 3.5mm line-in cable)
Rechargeable battery (up to 8 hours battery life)
Universal wall adapter
Made of mostly recycled materials
There is a feel-good element to this product that you don’t easily find with others. The fabric, plastics and packaging used for the Roots Rock come from recycled materials, in keeping with the overall message of the House of Marley brand. It doesn’t have a solar charger on it, but it does have a rechargeable lithium battery inside that could manage up to eight hours of battery life (that’s a relative number, of course). It also has a shoulder strap to make it portable enough to almost be an 80s-influenced boombox.
It’s no doubt an interesting mix of old school charm with a holistic earthly design. Looking at it, you’re almost not sure it could be a speaker. But it definitely is, and it’s main function is to play music streamed from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet or MP3 player.
Pairing is as easy as holding down the Bluetooth button on the speaker (the blue light flashes) and choosing the speaker on your phone’s Bluetooth device list. With that out of the way and the battery fully charged, you’re ready to use this pretty much anywhere you like. If you don’t want to use Bluetooth, you could use the included 3.5mm line-in cable to connect your device directly to the speaker’s auxiliary input for wired playback.
The two feet at the bottom prop up the speaker, but the jacket that covers it overtop doubles as a stand to place the Roots Rock on more of a slant. The pouch at the front can be used to keep your phone safely tucked in, or to transport the AC adapter in case you need to plug it in at some point.
As far as performance goes, the Roots Rock impresses on a number of levels, the most obvious being that it’s not underwhelming in its output. It doesn’t saturate the EQ with a ton of bass, but rather balances the sound out to the mids and highs, adding a bit of warmth to the vocals that you might appreciate. The speakers pack some punch, but the Roots Rock isn’t meant to bring the house down. It’s more ideal for those outdoor barbecues or indoor lounging moments where you’re hanging out with friends and family and want to hear tunes in the background. In that respect, it’s perfect to bring to the cottage or at the pool (provided you give it some distance from splashing water).
There aren’t too many downsides to the Roots Rock, which is a good thing, but there are some key points to take into account. First, battery life is rated at up to eight hours, but that’s not likely not as far as it will go if you crank up the volume. Second, you have to be careful as to how high you go with the volume because of the distortion that starts to seep in.
The shoulder strap is great for carrying the Rock around, though it doesn’t seem highly likely that you’d be hulling the thing like it was a boombox. In that sense, the strap proves useful for the portability, not for playing music on the move (though you certainly could if you really don’t mind the attention you’d get).
As mentioned earlier, this isn’t the speaker for larger gatherings. You’re fine if you’re hosting 10-20 people in a smaller space, but more than that, and in a larger space, you’d have to go with something bigger with more power.
The Marley Roots Rock is hard not to like when you see it and then use it. It’s an odd thing when you feel like you’re doing a small part for the environment by using a product that comes from recycled materials. Of course, none of that would matter if the speaker was terrible, and thankfully, it’s far from that.
At $199.99, it’s not especially cheap, but you are getting what you pay for, especially for the fact the battery makes it portable and its usage flexible. If you like the look of the speaker, you’re probably going to like how this one sounds, too.
The Marley Roots Rock Bluetooth portable audio system makes it easy to enjoy your music with clear, authentic sound quality while you're on the go. With Bluetooth technology you can wirelessly stream your tunes from your media player, and the cover conveniently folds over into a stand.