The word 'rave' conjures up images of Nineties hedonism: dilated pupils, twirling glo-sticks and barfing your guts up to Baby D. So you could argue that Anker is a bit late to the party with its Soundcore Rave (RRP $220/£199), a Bluetooth speaker whose almighty volume and psychedelic light system conspire to keep the spirit of those hazy days alive.
Alternatively, you could just stick on some very loud music and wave your hands in the air like you just don't care. And, make no mistake, this speaker produces quite a din, with a massive 105dB of power – not to mention the Chinese manufacturer's “body-shaking” BassUp technology – delivering more than enough grunt to piss off the local constabulary. With all that racket on tap, the Soundcore Rave is one of the loudest Bluetooth speakers you can buy today.
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Anker Soundcore Rave review: Design
As befitting a speaker that could wake up cows three fields away, the Anker Soundcore Rave is a hefty old unit, measuring 21.7 x 12.7 x 12.2 inches (55 x 32 x 31cm) and weighing 21.6 pounds (9.8kg). That makes it the second-heaviest product in our loudest Bluetooth speakers list, behind the colossal SoundBoks (Gen. 3). That might've made it a bugger to lift (especially for those who are old enough to remember the 90's rave scene), but thankfully Anker has attached a durable fabric strap that enables easy transportation.
In terms of aesthetics, the Anker Soundcore Rave isn't especially attractive when you first take it out of the box – it just looks like your average big, black speaker (it only comes in one colour after all). However, you can add some much needed character by switching on the optional light show – more about that in the next section.
With raves tending to be an outdoor thing, Anker has weatherproofed this speaker to an IX4 rating. This means it should be able to withstand heavy rain or a beer spill, but won't take too kindly to being thrown, Keith Moon-style, into the nearest swimming pool.
Anker Soundcore Rave review: Features
Chances are that you were drawn to this speaker because you're looking for something to fill the air with music at your party. If that's the case, then we can assure you that the Anker Soundcore Rave is a real powerhouse. With two 5.25” woofers and two 2” tweeters churning out 105dB, this 160W unit is not the most deafening speaker around – the Soundboks (Gen. 3), the Marshall Woburn II and the Bose S1 Pro System are even more ear-splitting – but it should be enough for all but the most gargantuan gatherings.
We've referred to the Anker Soundcore Rave as an outdoor speaker – and it's well suited to al fresco use, thanks to its 20,000mAh battery offering a claimed 24 hours of play time. However, it can also be used indoors plugged into a mains socket. Wherever you choose to employ it, the speaker's Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity means you should be able to pair your smart device simply and smoothly, and maintain a connection up to 20 metres away.
As for that light show, you can switch it on or off using a button on the speaker, or via the Soundcore app, and the latter also enables you to customise the sequence to fit the mood and the music you're playing. Having this level of control is a good thing because when the party's finished and you're trying to chill out to a bit of Richard Clayderman, you don't want to feel like you're stuck in a student disco.
Soundcore is one of the best speaker apps we've seen, not only giving you the ability to channel your inner Jean-Michel Jarre with the light show but also offering an equaliser (including different presets for indoors and outdoors), along with three different party games and a socket for plugging in a karaoke mic.
While doing all of that, you can even top up the battery on your devices. The Anker Soundcore Rave features dual USB ports – a standard one and another with Anker's proprietary PowerIQ technology, which intelligently identifies your device to provide super-speedy charging.
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Anker Soundcore Rave review: Sound
Alas, our 'smiley face' t-shirt and fluorescent wristbands were dispensed of when grunge made their way to these shores. So, we trudged plain-clothes to the nearest field, paired our device and, praying that we didn't attract the attention of any local crusties, lined up a bit of classic AC/DC. The Aussie rockers insisted that 'Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution', but as we cranked the volume up to the halfway point, we couldn't help thinking that the local pensioners' club might disagree.
At this kind of volume, the Anker Soundcore Rave manages to maintain a good level of clarity, with the mid and treble sounding crisp and punchy, and the bass providing a nice, rounded thud. OK, so the quality isn't quite up there with the best speakers we've tried, but it'll be more than adequate for a large family gathering or street party where people aren't scratching their chins and scrutinising every nuance.
Don't forget, you can always play around with the EQ to get the sound you're looking for. Taking the volume towards the highest echelons brought about an inevitable decline in quality, so we'd recommend showing some restraint. Easier said than done when you've necked eight pints, of course.
Anker Soundcore Rave review: The alternatives
The Anker Soundcore Rave is powerful, but it's not the most powerful product out there. That accolade goes to the Soundboks (Gen. 3) – $999/£899. It's an absolute beast of a speaker, with a price tag to match, but produces excellent sound quality even at very high volumes.
If you're looking for some boom at a budget price, then check out the Sony SRS-XB33 ($149/£150). This speaker's maximum decibel level isn't stated in its spec sheet, but we can vouch for its volume – and it sounds very decent for the money, too.