Back in the 80’s, the boom box was the ultimate in portable music solutions, blasting out music to all within earshot. Then came the Walkman and eventually the iPod generation, with music becoming more portable, but also more personal due to limited options in portable speaker technology.
The Roadie from Franklin Explorer seeks to change the playing field by removing the need for speakers entirely; creating a sound unit that adheres to any flat surface to create an instant speaker anytime, anywhere.
The unit itself is a compact and solid amplifier and tweeter which is nicely finished in sturdy brushed metal. The unit stands upright and transmits the sound downwards through the device to a rubber base covered with adhesive. The base is perhaps the weakest design point. Although it comes with a cover that you can peel off and re-stick, it remains to be seen how long the base will stay sticky.
As advertised, sticking the unit on a surface turns the entire surface into a speaker. However, not surprisingly, the nature of the surface will determine the level of amplification and can even alter how the music sounds. At low volumes the unit can struggle to amplify enough bass, while at higher volumes the bass can be almost overpowering. There is also a “sweet spot” that changes depending on the surface used. While this can make it tricky for audiophiles to get the best possible sound, for general users who just want a unique portable sound option, the unit works fine in most situations.
Inputs are supported via Stereo jack/USB and SD card slot.
Small portable size
Versatile – can adhere to a variety of surfaces
Micro SD card input or Aux Cable
Built in rechargeable battery
No wireless option
Sound can be altered depending on surface
Need to get the surface and volume to the right “sweet spot” for best results
The Roadie Mobile Amped Audio System provides a lightweight and portable sound solution that can turn any flat surface into a giant speaker. While it generally works well, certain surfaces and volumes will produce better results than others.