The XB100 also does well with many other instruments depending on the recording, bringing out brassy guitar strings, smooth and gentle horns, and even covering techno grooves and effects well. Trent Reznors copy of a is particularly clean and clear, revealing dynamic expression and instrumental definition in the speaker’s 360-degree sound field.
The sound is at its best in smaller rooms, but it loses a lot of punch outdoors when you’re not around. Therefore, it is not the first choice for large outdoor barbecues or pool parties. But as a personal soundtrack at the hotel for your weekend getaway, it’s a masterful improvement over your flimsy phone placed against a bowl or solo mug.
The performance and musicality of the XB100 depends heavily on which platform the speaker is placed on. For example, placing it on my glass coffee table will soften the bass and add extra echo, while my wooden kitchen or side tables add balance and groove. As the tone builds, you’ll feel the bass booming through the surface and, in some cases, even through the floor.
This helps solve one of my biggest issues with the original XB13, which could quickly become tinny. The XB100 still gets tinny, especially when playing light recordings or particularly splashy cymbals, but that’s a rare occurrence. On the other hand, the extra bass sometimes feels overdone, especially on rock songs like Blind Melon’s earnwhere the bass guitar takes center stage and obscures some of the other instruments.
If you’re expecting deep detail or expansive stereo imaging, you’ll need to get bigger and probably spend more. But the XB100, especially in the right setting, can pull off impressive sonic acrobatics that far outweigh its size. It’s the device I reach for when I need something to spice up an overnight trip, when boarding a plane, or wherever I want to add music with ease. It easily fits where I go.
If you already own the XB13, it’s not a huge upgrade. However, if you don’t have such a smaller model, you might want to consider getting an XB100, even if you have a whole range of larger Bluetooth speakers. It’s a great addition to Sony’s comprehensive range, offering an affordable and portable model to rock anywhere in comfort.