Dean Clough

June 10, 2024

Portico Darwin: The Best Bluetooth Speaker I Probably Won't Ever Own


1 Minute Read

Happy Monday, and let me help you with a must for the summer, at least for me, and I believe I am uniquely qualified.  Because apart from owning a business for years in the field, I am generally obsessed with music and its twin, gear for its proper reproduction. 

Indeed, I have previously written long and short pieces about what I use, at home, while traveling, and outdoors.  Today's subject, Bluetooth speakers and jamming outside, was even covered late last year, in my tell-all Cabo Pulmo exposé

But today is about something Arthur whipped out of his bag o' tricks during our recent camping sojourn in the Santa Cruz Mountains and its redwoods.  I extensively used - and was frankly blown away by - Arthur's $40 Bluetooth speaker, the JBL Go 3

I'd act fast at that price (see below), and of course, I have no skin in the game.

I am doing something rare, rating something I do not own.  And the rating for this wonderfully tiny thing is Diamond Certified.   

First and of course foremost:  It fucking cranks.  I mean like I couldn't believe a thing not much bigger than an Uno deck could sound so rich and full.  Add USB-C charging (still not a given on something this inexpensive), IP67 water resistance, and a trick esthetic, and I could not have been more impressed.  Easily the equivalent of my go-to, which is almost anything from Ultimate Ears.

Yes, it makes me wish I didn't already own about 5 different speakers for use outdoors.  Which is why I probably won't ever own a JBL Go 3.  And there are two other reasons.

First, they have a newer model, the JBL Go 4.  It's about 1/4" larger in every dimension - in other words, the same size.  It's $10 more, and that's why I'd move now on the Go 3 if it appeals to you.

But I have every reason to believe the Go 4 is at least as good as its predecessor and maybe better.  That's because the JBL Go 4 features something the 3 does not, and also why I probably wouldn't buy the previous model:  The ability to pair with another Go 4, for stereo (and party-scale) sound. 

Because two JBL Go 4s?  For $100?  Crazy.  

And by that I mean how much they would rock your backyard, swimming pool, picnic, or campsite.

Have a great week.  And summer - Memorial Day was too early this year, but it feels real now:
Because it's getting colder and colder in SF.


Speaking of Casa Integration, André Aurich brought it all home (!) with his quick, yet pornographic, review of a recent Dead & Company show he and Rikki saw at The Sphere in Vegas.

As an AV guy, you'd be so excited, you'd be coming in your pants.  The sound was awesome, and the visuals were mesmerizing.  

I have a few videos that can't do the experience justice, but can give you an idea of the enormity of it all.   Did you ever see any concert at Barton Hall at Cornell?  At one point, you feel like you are seeing the Dead play Barton Hall.   

Can you tell I loved the show?

For the uninitiated, a particular Grateful Dead show (5/8/77, to be precise) from that venue at the bucolic NY college is considered by many as their single best.  Which is saying something.

I close by sharing the gratification of seeing our niece Nicki Vale both seek to improve herself, and participate in rank consumerism.  She kept it simple, with a 3 word reply to my post about the Charles Duhigg book Supercommunicator:

Added to cart!

Thank you for reading this newsletter. 

Rock Me On The Water?  These JBL speakers are perfect for that.  So here is my Jackson Browne collection, featuring that song, and 8 others equally sincere and overwrought.

Oh, I kid Jackson, and I especially love "Running on Empty."

About Dean Clough