XOUNTS UP Portable Party Speaker And Lightshow Review

The battle to be the life of the party just got that much more intense with the XOUNTS UP 360-degree light-and-sound speaker system. The unit, which strongly resembles a three-foot version of one of those quartz pyramids you'd find in your local rock shop, offers an unusual aesthetic for anyone seeking to make a splash at their next BBQ, birthday celebration, or gathering of friends.

XOUNTS UP comes in a fairly big box that contains the power base, multi-colored LED light bulb, remote control, audio and power cables, and a shroud that latches into the bottom of the unit in order to form the transparent pyramid shape. The speakers are actually latched-on to the translucent walls of the XOUNTS UP itself, where they use the plastic as an extension of their own speaker panel (there's also a subwoofer lurking down below). You get two covers with the XOUNTS UP that wrap around the pyramid and lock-down with the plastic cap that screws in to the top. I went with the clearest gossamer fabric cover, but the brick design that was also offered was quite pleasing to the eye.

It's not difficult to assemble the XOUNTS UP, but it's a bit of work to make sure everything is perfectly aligned and straight when giving it a critical eye from top to bottom. In the interests of getting the speaker working quickly and efficiently, I didn't obsess about the fit and finish of my installation, but it's something you could definitely put some time into when seeking the best possible results.

The XOUNTS UP's real claim to fame is that it really looks like no other party speaker on the market, and the main idea is that you position the pyramid in a central place of honor in a room so that everyone can marvel at the colors pulsing out of its four-sided tower. The remote that comes with the XOUNTS UP offers full control over how quickly you want each hue to change into the next, and whether you want a smooth fade or a strobe flash. Bright enough to attract attention, but mellow enough that you won't feel like a prisoner of your local night club's disco ball, the XOUNTS UP lighting system is probably the aspect of the speaker I enjoyed the most.

Which leads me to sound quality. It's hard to offer a portable speaker with a form factor like the XOUNTS UP and count on getting amazing sound quality. It's even more of a challenge to provide the 'surround sound' that the XOUNTS UP advertises using a pair of speaker panels and a subwoofer, regardless of how they are mounted. While the device certainly does fill a modestly-sized room with sound, clarity suffered depending on how I chose to feed the speaker.

I got the best quality output when lining in directly using the provided 3.5 mm audio cable, but when I connected to the provided Bluetooth dongle, the music I streamed from my Nexus 5X felt crushed, especially the higher frequencies, and I experienced unusual tonal drop-outs where the connection was maintained but certain layers of the music were cut from the mix. It felt like an overly-active compressor, to be honest, and it was the most disappointing aspect of the XOUNTS UP Bluetooth experience.

I'd recommend the XOUNTS UP most to people who need to position a fairly loud speaker in an unusual space, because with its available battery pack and nine hours of life you could set it up in a field, on a patio, or in the back of a pickup truck and get your party on with both light and sound without having to fuss with wires or extension cords.

For a house party, however, you'd probably want to stick with a component audio system if sound quality is what's most important to you, and set the XOUNTS UP to light-only mode, setting the mood without sacrificing the fidelity of your tunes. Currently, the company's fully-funded Kickstarter campaign allows you to pledge for XOUNTS UP from $269, which makes it a relatively affordable pathway to amped-up ambiance at your next shindig. Assuming all goes to plan, delivery is expected from November this year.