JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster

A tooled up JVC ghetto-blaster for the digital age

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JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster
  • JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster
  • JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Robust audio, plenty of connectivity options (including USB thumbdrives), it's a boombox for the new millennium!

Cons

  • CD tray is a bit dodgy, it's not particularly portable, do we really a need a boombox for the new millennium?

Bottom Line

The JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster is an extravagantly sized portable music player with plenty of functionality beneath the hood. It combines old school sensibilities with the latest in cutting edge technology. Fight the power!

Would you buy this?

The JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster (AKA JVC RV-NB50 Kaboom!) is a portable music player of the traditional truck-sized variety; equipped with two 5 1/8in subwoofers. In addition to the obligatory top-loading CD player, it comes with a USB port, a 3.5mm auxiliary input for MP3 players and an iPod dock, meaning there are plenty of options for music playback. However, beneath its sleek exterior beats the thumping heart of a 1980s boombox. Whether this is a good thing or not depends entirely on your age.

The JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster is the antithesis of the MP3 player — a monolithic dinosaur with DNA harking back to the Analog Age. Fortunately, it possesses a room-rattling roar to match its massive size. Boasting 8cm full-range stereo speakers, 40 Watts of power and twin 5 1/8in subwoofers with separate level controls, the RV-NB50S BoomBlaster will deliver enough bass to satisfy the most deranged hip-hop fan. It also looks suitably badass, which is half the reason for buying one these things in the first place.

Naturally, the JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster comes with plenty of modern features to placate Gen Y hipsters, including the afore-mentioned iPod dock, a remote control, WMA playback support, a digital FM tuner and a fancy blue LCD. Amusingly, it also comes with a headphone jack which is just screaming out for a ‘Boom-Box Fail’ photo on Fail Blog. Far more useful is the inclusion of a USB port — this is something that the rival Altech Lansing Mix iMT800 lacked.

Most boomboxes are pretty big, but the JVC RV-NB50S really takes the biscuit. Measuring 666x231x240mm and weighing close to 7kg, it makes Radio Raheem’s ghetto-blaster in Do the Right Thing look like a Sony Walkman. A pair of oversized knobs on top of the device let you adjust bass and volume to your heart’s content. The rest of the controls — play, skip, tuner preset, et al. — are located on the front. Special mention must also go to the bundled remote control. Unlike some HiFi remotes we could mention, it's responsive and quite chunky.

The JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster may be an affectionate throwback to '80s boomboxes, but you won’t find a cassette tape deck here (tch). Instead, it is specifically designed to work with those rad-looking iPods, which you may have seen on TV. The RV-NB50S’s iPod dock is built into the front of the device via a smart looking cradle and protective door. You can then use the BoomBlaster’s remote control to select tracks, etc. A 3.5mm auxiliary input is also included for non-Apple MP3 players.

To test the RV-NB50S BoomBlaster’s audio performance, we decided to kick it old school with Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet. [Oh dear. — Ed.] The 5 1/8in subwoofers provided plenty of bass without drowning out Flavor Flav’s erratic grunting. Needless to say, the RV-NB50S is capable of blasting out sound at alarming volumes (however, distortion became problematic at around the 70 percent mark). All in all, we were pretty satisfied with the JVC RV-NB50S BoomBlaster’s output. The Altech Lansing Mix iMT800 produced crisper sound, but not by a huge margin.

On the downside, certain aspects of the RV-NB50S’s build quality were a bit flimsy, especially the spring-loaded CD tray. Also, there are no shock-proof or splash-proof guarantees on JVC’s Web site, so we can’t vouch to its durability. (For the record, it certainly looks pretty robust.) Nonetheless, it’s hard not to like this retro behemoth — it delivers on sound and nostalgia in equal doses. Noise pollution has rarely been this much fun.

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