When was the last time you found yourself bathed in immersive sound by a Bluetooth speaker? How about four of them and a subwoofer? That certainly caught my attention when the folks at Rocksteady asked me if I wanted to review their Stadium 2-Speaker and Subwoofer Pack.
I loved the novelty and wanted to see how the sound quality stacked up. I waited impatiently for the boxes to arrive. Would it be all sizzle and no steak? I started unpacking and set off to find out.
The Rocksteady Stadium 2-Speaker and Subwoofer Pack ships in eco-friendly brown cardboard with packaging designed to be easily broken down and recycled. I laid out the speakers, subwoofer, power supplies and line level adapters before cracking open the installation guide to begin setting it all up.
The quick start instructions are prominently emblazoned with a QR code linking to installation videos. I jumped online and watched all of them. Very helpful. I powered on the first speaker, and it chimed to life with a satisfying power chord braying from behind the grille. The Bluetooth icon began blinking rapidly and I instinctively reached for my phone and paired it. The whole process took less than 30 seconds.
I then powered up the other speaker and its chunky subwoofer cousin. The instructions went on to explain that one of the speakers needed to be designated the “Host” with which the others would wirelessly pair. Rocksteady recommends the subwoofer for this role. I pressed the “Stadium Mode” button on the subwoofer and then followed suit on the remaining speakers. I soon had sound pumping from both speakers boosted by decent low end coming from the subwoofer.
I could’ve sworn the instructions said something about “stereo mode” so I peeled off the rubber bumper from the back of the speaker to reveal a “L/R/Both” toggle switch allowing it to be hard coded as its own channel. I picked the proper assignment for each speaker then sat back to listen for left and right separation. It still sounded mono.
I went back to the instructions and figured out that the speakers ship from the factory defaulted to “Long Range Mode” (this allows the speakers to be placed far apart from each other). I quickly deduced that a 5-second press on the Rocksteady subwoofer’s play button would shift me into stereo mode. I wish there was a better confirmation that this mode was selected and found myself wondering which side of the fence I sat. Ever the nerd, I decided to find a “stereo mode” test track on TIDAL just to make sure I’d done it properly. At last I heard true stereo sound and relaxed a bit.
I started cranking some tunes and was impressed with the full range of sound. Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me” sounded mellow and rich with the subwoofer rounding out the low end. I tried numerous music streaming service/song combinations, and all sounded great.
Rocksteady suggests numerous use cases for their surround system, including outdoors (though not waterproof), permanent placement (there are keyhole mounts in the back of the speakers) and myriad casual portable sound scenarios. I have often been disappointed at portable sound when trying to cover a larger area more evenly and “Stadium Mode” definitely hits the spot in this department.
The Rocksteady Stadium 2-Speaker and Subwoofer Pack retails for $369.99. It’s a bargain for so much sound. I love its upgradability and the fact that you can have up to four speakers paired together with the subwoofer. I can’t wait to try out that configuration! Kudos to Rocksteady for such a unique and solidly performing platform.