Creative iRoar Review

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Creative Labs’ latest iRoar speaker is the company’s most ambitious product to date. It’s advertised as “the most intelligent speaker on the planet,” and frankly, the tagline perfectly sums what this little box of wonder has to offer. The iRoar is a luxury item. It’s like the 488 GTB Ferrari, a stand-out amongst luxury cars. At $369.99, only the most devout audiophiles and audio professionals are likely to invest in the system, but if you’re one of the lucky few who can afford this glorious monstrosity of power and elegance, you’re in for a real treat. 

The Creative iRoar is a testament of modern technology design. Its body is sleek, hiding most of the secondary features on the back and its essential functions behind the top speaker. A thin, bronze-colored accent frames the bass on both sides, and the iRoar logo and red writing serve as pleasing visual contrasts to the semi-gloss, black body. Weighing in at only 2.5lbs and measuring a slim 225.0 x 120.0 x 57.0 mm (8.8 x 4.7 x 2.2 inches), the Creative iRoar is compact in size and perfect for travel. However, its small body hides a large secret. Once powered up, the Creative iRoar delivers such dynamic sound, it can compete with many full multi-speaker setups.

When it comes to Bluetooth audio quality, the Creative iRoar has no competition. This is, hands down, the most impressive Bluetooth speaker on the market, and a new stepping stone for audio technology. The two built-in amplifiers deliver space-filling dispersion that spreads sound quickly around the environment. As a result, the iRoar can be played inside an auditorium with the impact of a high-quality studio speaker.


"If you’re one of the lucky few who can afford this glorious monstrosity of power and elegance, you’re in for a real treat."

The iRoar exterior carries similar features to Creative Labs’ previous models, the Roar Pro and the Roar 2. However, it’s all the downloadable apps that take further advantage of iRoar’s complex interior and enhance the listening experience far beyond its predecessors. With the iRoar Dashboard app for iOS and Android, users can tweak several settings to personify their listening experience. Tweaks to acoustics, bass, treble, immersion and dialog+ (improves speech clarity for music, movies and games) can be adjusted on the fly, and there’s even a deep equalizer menu that allows 360-degree surround sound control for a wider listening range. 

If you’re more interested in professional presets that don’t require any fiddling around, the dashboard provides six sound profiles that automatically balance each setting to fit the selected profile. Available profiles include: BlasterX, Game On, Audiophile Bliss, Cinemania, Sonic Blast and Live Concert. The iRoar also carries a sophisticated Smart Volume menu that lets users hear crisp sound at low volumes when listening at night. When set to auto, the Smart Volume constantly monitors your playback and automatically compensates for low quality audio sources with its frequency analysis adjustment. As a result, audio volume and frequency remain balanced regardless of the media fed through the speaker.


"This is, hands down, the most impressive Bluetooth speaker on the market, and a new stepping stone for audio technology."

As with the Roar Pro, the iRoar is compatible with Creative Labs’ new iRoar Mic. The iRoar Mic can be purchased separately and costs around eighty bucks. It turns the iRoar into a wireless personal Public Address System. As with music, the voice quality when using the iRoar Mic in combination with the iRoar speaker is superb. If you’re someone who gives regular lectures, dance/exercise instructions or public speeches/demos, the iRoar brings a whole new layer of professionalism and pizazz to presentations.

If you want to get really creative and have some fun with your presentations, you can play around with the many Voice Morphs that transform your speech in many hilarious ways, like: Elf, Dwarf, Demon, Alien, Orc, Robot, Chipmunk and many others. If all the included extras aren’t enough to satisfy your audio needs, Creative provides a Software Development Kit (SDK) so users can expand their iRoar for many professional, personal and educational uses.

"When connecting two iRoars with Creative Labs’ MegaStereo Cable, the system even outranks the audio quality of some of the best rated high-end entertainment systems."

Three years of behind-the-door development is finally paying off. The Creative iRoar is a one-of-a-kind speaker that may very well change the future of audio development. The iRoar proves that 5+ speakers may no longer be needed to achieve a thorough surround sound experience. Even at this point, the iRoar bests most mid-range 5.1 setups, but connecting two iRoars with Creative Labs’ MegaStereo Cable easily even outranks the audio quality of some of the best rated high-end entertainment systems. The Creative iRoar is, without a doubt, the most impressive Bluetooth speaker I ever tested. 

Review by: Tin Salamunic                 

A+

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