JBL OnBeat Venue iPod dock
This Bluetooth iPod dock has a simple design and good speakers
- Solid construction
- Good sound quality at low and moderate volume
- Maximum volume introduces distortion
- No remote control
JBL's OnBeat Venue is a simple, mid-range iPod dock with built-in Bluetooth. It's got good sound whether you use it wirelessly or with the dock, and can reach an impressively loud volume. It does distort at max power, and sounds punchy, which may annoy some listeners. As an easy-to-use wired or wireless music system that's almost portable, it does a good job.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
JBL recently updated its mini hi-fi speaker docks with three new systems: the OnBeat Awake, the OnBeat Rize, and the OnBeat Venue. The Venue is the big brother of this group, with a body that hides four speakers and 30 Watts of oomph.
JBL OnBeat Venue: Design and features
The OnBeat Venue looks as if it’s taken deportment lessons from the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air — a long, low, wide body with a central iPod dock and top-mounted buttons.
The dark grey fabric that covers most of the OnBeat Venue’s body looks good, as does the satin light grey and black plastic used for the chassis and buttons. The iPod dock that pops out from the centre of the base can also accommodate an iPad, and there is a small rubber foot on the centre of the speaker that your iDevice can lean on.
Buttons up top from right to left range from volume to power with three mode lights (for Bluetooth, the iPod dock, and the rear auxiliary connector), then a mode toggle and two equaliser modes — Movie and Bass, predictably.
Beyond the three status lights, there aren’t many visual cues to show the OnBeat Venu is active — there are soft white backlights for the buttons, but that’s it. The lack of a physical volume control dial might be annoying, since it’s possible to accidentally boost the volume to an excessively loud level before plugging in a device and starting music.
The iPod dock that the OnBeat Venue uses is the traditional 30-pin connector, so the newest iPhone 5 and iPad mini won’t be able to connect (although an adapter would fit with no problems). There’s no bundled remote control, so you’ll need to walk up to the hi-fi to change the volume or input.
JBL OnBeat Venue: Sound quality
We tested the JBL OnBeat Venue with an Apple iPhone 4, predominantly through the dock but also over Bluetooth.
Sound quality at low and moderate volumes is good, with well-balanced treble, mid-range and bass. If you’re listening to the OnBeat Venue in a small- or medium-sized room, you won’t have any problems with its sound quality — for the $279 price tag, there’s a good amount of detail and some reasonable bass response.
Larger rooms to begin to expose the OnBeat Venue’s main flaw, though, which is a small amount of distortion, especially in lower bass notes, in the upper half of the volume range. Play a particularly bass-heavy track at a loud volume, and you’ll hear the woofer drivers clip and struggle slightly. We wouldn’t run the OnBeat Venue at maximum volume unless it was at a party where the speaker has to perform against loud background noise.
Up until around half-way up the volume dial, the Bass equaliser does a good job of adding a bit more low-end oomph, although it does contribute slightly to the clipping problem at max volume. Chain the Bass equaliser up with the Movie mode and for music playback, the JBL OnBeat Venue has a wide and involving sound that’s pleasant to listen to.
Bluetooth range to the device is good, with a usable distance of just under 10 metres line-of-sight, with thin walls presenting only a minor impediment to the range of the OnBeat Venue. The synchronising process is simple, changing songs or volume happens quickly, and we didn’t have any qualms with the audio quality over the wireless connection.
JBL OnBeat Venue: Conclusion
The JBL OnBeat Venue is an uncomplicated iPod dock and Bluetooth speaker system. It’s not particularly expensive, and would suit small or medium-sized rooms well, with good sound quality.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
- The guts of Onkyo's SBT-A500 sound bar come in an external box to give the speaker an ultra-low profile
- Plex embraces Kodi as Plex Media Player becomes available to all
- 'Google Cast' is being phased out in favor of Chromecast for connected TVs and speakers
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCBusiness and Change Deployment LeadVIC
- CCTechnical Project ManagerNSW
- FTChange ManagerACT
- TPTest ManagerQLD
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- FTLife/400 Developers / Programmers - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCApplication Programmer - Software - Geospatial and Industrial EnterpriseVIC
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- CCNetwork Security Specialist - Palo Alto Firewall ExpertVIC
- CCJava Developer/ Guidewire Developers - Brisbane basedNSW
- FTBusiness Solutions SpecialistNSW
- TPBI Report Developer - SSRS SSIS SSASNSW
- FTTechnology Testing Services ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- TPSenior Test Analyst - TAFEQLD
- TPData AnalystVIC
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- TPMobile Application DeveloperWA
- FTTechnology Testing Co-ordinatorVIC
- TPSenior Analytics Analyst DeveloperVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCBusiness Intelligence (BI) Technical Team LeaderACT