Waterproof BRV-PRO Bluetooth Speaker

Audiophiles and outdoor enthusiasts alike agree, the BRV-PRO Bluetooth Speaker is “built like a tank” and “will feel something like the GoPro of Bluetooth speakers”. Ranking the PRO at the highest level with an Excellent grade, PC Mag ran an in-depth review of the latest speaker in Braven’s Outdoor Series praising its design, performance and versatility. Full report from the tech site below.

EDITOR RATING: EXCELLENT
BY TIM GIDEON

Braven has made plenty of outdoor-friendly Bluetooth speakers at this point, but the BRV-Pro takes things to a new level. Built like a tank, this speaker is designed to mount on surfboards, or work with solar-power adapters—and it is, of course, waterproof and rugged. At $149.99, it’s also a bit pricier than the typical outdoor-focused Bluetooth speaker this size. While its audio is certainly powerful, if music—and not hiking or surfing—is your main priority, there are other options in this price range that might serve you better. For outdoor-types, though, the BRV-Pro will feel something like the GoPro$399.99 at Amazon of Bluetooth speakers.

Design

The design of the BRV-Pro is almost intimidating. Offered in all black (with red details) or black and silver (with blue details), its looks like a military instrument designed to survive explosions. Measuring 1.5 by 2.8 by 6.4 inches and weighing in at about 1.5 pounds, the BRV-Pro’s metallic housing is IPX7 waterproof—it can withstand splashes, water jets, and rainfall, but it’s not a great idea to submerge the speaker for very long.

BRV-PRO Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

The front face houses the speaker grille and, behind it, the stereo drivers and the microphone for speakerphone functionality. The drivers can be positioned upward toward the ceiling, or forward, toward the listener—there are rubber pads on two of the panels to support either listening position and keep the speaker, which produces quite a bit of vibration, from moving around on flat surfaces.

Of course, the speaker can also be mounted, or fastened to a surface using the included tie-down strap. A hex key is included to remove a panel on the top surface—removing it opens up a world of possibilities, as the BRV-Pro works with quite a number of accessories. For extra money, you can purchase a solar charging panel, compatible GoPro action mounts, a rechargeable battery pack, and other outdoor-focused accessories.

There are controls on the BRV-Pro that surround the top panel—a Power button, a multifunction button (Play, Pause, Pairing, Call Answer/End), and a + and — button, which control volume and track navigation depending on whether you tap them or hold them.

The snap-shut compartment on the rear panel houses the micro USB connection for charging the speaker (a cable is included), a USB connection for charging other devices using the speaker’s battery, a 3.5mm Aux input (no cable included), and a battery status indicator.

Braven estimates the BRV-Pro’s battery life to be 15 hours, but your results will vary, mainly depending on how loudly you play your music.

Performance

Tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” don’t distort, even at top volumes. The BRV-Pro delivers a decent sense of deep bass, but much of this is thanks to how much it vibrates—a common feature in today’s world of portable speakers outfitted with passive radiators to enhance the feeling of bass. The bass response sounds full for a speaker this size, but it won’t appeal to bass fiends looking for deep lows—simply put, if you want booming bass, you need to buy a bigger speaker.

Tracks with less deep bass content, like Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” sound crisp and mids-focused through the BRV-HD. Callahan’s baritone vocals sound rich in the lows, but get plenty of crisp treble edge to remain the focus of the mix. One thing becomes clear, however: At high volumes, there’s some sort of digital signal processing (DSP) or push-back from the drivers. The attack gets squashed, so that even on a singer-songwriter track like this, the vocals trigger a subtle drop in volume. Not every listener will notice, but purists who care about dynamics certainly will.

BRV-PRO Rugged Bluetooth Speaker

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop’s attack gets plenty of treble presence to help it remain sharp and edgy, slicing through the dense mix. But it seems to have even more power in the low-mids with its thumping sustain—which is not always the case with this track. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are more implied than fully delivered—those truly deep bass frequencies exist in a realm the BRV-Pro can’t quite reach.

Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound crisp and bright—the focus is definitely on the higher register strings, brass, and vocals, but there is a slight boosting that brings out the lower register instrumentation as well.”