Creative Labs iRoar Rock Docking Subwoofer

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Just a few months ago, Creative Labs debuted the iRoar Bluetooth Speaker; the ultimate iteration of their Sound Blaster Roar lineup and naturally their best Bluetooth speaker ever. One of the iRoar’s most intriguing features is its expandability (in addition to cool smartphone apps and an open-SDK for infinite add-ons). The underbelly expansion port could someday connect to a number of hardware accessories, but for now the only piece to take advantage is the iRoar Rock.

First and foremost, the iRoar Rock charging dock and subwoofer is a complimentary speaker, not capable of performing alone. Its job is to take an already terrific product, the iRoar speaker, and make it even better, more versatile and with fuller sound.

DO YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKING?

By simply lifting it up, my iRoar transformed from a powerful bookshelf speaker to a pool party companion.

The iRoar Rock (not to be confused with the 1996 Sean Connery/Nick Cage masterpiece, nor wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson) has two obvious roles: To provide much-needed bass and to act as a ridiculously convenient charging dock. As a stationary product, the Rock gives the iRoar valuable low-end punch and additional flexibility. The iRoar is extremely versatile on its own, but the Rock docking subwoofer allows the iRoar to act as a legitimate home theater speaker without losing an ounce of its portability. It’s important to note that for audio content, the Rock relies solely on the iRoar’s Bluetooth feed, the Rock itself has no direct audio connection. The only wire is a power cord. So, even though it is heavier and less portable than the iRoar, the Rock is still quite easy to unplug and take on the road.

iroar rock Collage2
Creative iRoar Rock and a close-up of the dock connection. (Photo by Heath Washburn/DadKingdom.com)

The two pieces of hardware fit together easily. The top of the Rock has precision-molded soft rubber with cove edging that gladly accepts the iRoar. There is a slight wiggle to the connection, but nothing to be concerned about. The iRoar can be placed and removed effortlessly. You might think, “Plugging in the iRoar isn’t difficult, I don’t need a charging dock.” Well, aside from the benefit that the iRoar charges faster on the Rock versus a standard wall outlet, don’t underestimate how the fluidity of the whole system will encourage you to explore the iRoar’s potential. For example, last week I was heading to the neighborhood pool with my wife and kids, and at the last second I saw the iRoar perched on the Rock, fully charged, begging me to grab it. By simply lifting it up, my iRoar transformed from a powerful bookshelf speaker to a pool party companion. (Keep it dry though!) More than just a speaker, the iRoar Rock is the attractive black pedestal that the iRoar deserves.

IROAR ROCK PERFORMANCE

The iRoar actually changes its own frequency band to focus on the higher frequencies, allowing both components to do what each of them do best.

Functionality aside, the iRoar Rock sets out to take the impressive sound of the iRoar Bluetooth speaker and make it even better. Mission accomplished! The interesting part is the way that the two pieces of equipment interact. Not only does the iRoar Rock add significant low-frequency depth to your movies and music, but the iRoar actually changes its own frequency band to focus on the higher frequencies, allowing both components to do what each of them do best. At high volume in particular, this division of labor makes the audio much cleaner from distortion (a weakness of the iRoar by its lonesome). Pick up the iRoar from its perch, and a moment later its sound profile automatically reverts back to the full frequency range. Cool! Fine tuning the frequency balance is simple using the iRoar’s potent and user-friendly app-based equalizer.

The iRoar Rock is equally well-suited to provide dynamic music streaming or an immersive and lag-free movie experience (as long as your Bluetooth transmitter supports APT-X Low Latency, like the Home RTX Mini). Technically, you can connect your home theater audio directly to the iRoar, but that undermines its go-anywhere nature. Just buy a Bluetooth RTX Mini and thank me later. The Rock is fairly small for a “subwoofer,” but, like the iRoar itself, the results are surprising. The beautifully exposed 3.75″ driver and side relief port provide ample bass. You won’t mistake it for a large house-shaking subwoofer, but it’s powerful enough to project very full sound. It’s obviously not 7.1 surround sound. However, with the equalizer’s immersion setting maximized (in the Dashboard app) it fills up a room very nicely.

I did experience a rare connection issue. A couple of times, I would flip on the Rock’s power switch, the iRoar’s lower frequencies would cut out in anticipation of the Rock’s compensation, but the Rock’s bass wouldn’t kick in. Rebooting the components immediately fixed the problem, so hopefully it was just a glitch.

iRoar Rock closeup
Creative iRoar Rock up close and personal. (Photo by Heath Washburn/DadKingdom.com)

THE LAST WORD

It only takes two words to describe the iRoar Rock accessory: “docking subwoofer.” Simple enough. However, when an iRoar is mated with an iRoar Rock, the sum is greater than the parts. The Rock improves the iRoar and addresses its minor weaknesses, without sacrificing a drop of its up-for-anything versatility. It is a “must have” for any iRoar owner, especially those who frequently use their iRoar at home. The iRoar Rock solidifies the iRoar’s role as a home theater speaker (a role which is precarious without the Rock). Actually, having more than one Rock wouldn’t be outlandish. A Rock for the home theater and a Rock in the master bedroom would be one step closer to audiophile heaven.

iroar rock rating

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