Nyne Rebel splashproof portable Bluetooth speaker review

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What is it with strange looking bluetooth speakers?  Earlier this year I had a chance to listen to the hole-in-the-middle Fluance Fi70.  This time, we’re going to look at the distinctively angular Nyne Rebel splashproof portable Bluetooth speaker.

If you’re not familiar with Nyne, we’ve had a chance to review other speakers, such as the Aqua, the Bass, and the NB-200. Check them out if you’re curious.

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The Rebel comes neatly packed with instructions, power supply with various international plugs, and a red 3.5mm audio cord.

Dimensions:  15.8 x 9.8 x 6.5 inches
2.1 System with Two Active Drivers, Two Active Tweeters and an Active Subwoofer
40 Watts
Bluetooth 4.0 with a range of 33 feet
Built-in microphone for hands-free calling
IPX3 water/dust/shock resistant (Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.)
NFC for simplified pairing
Built-in phone charging
Rechargeable Battery with 8-10 hrs. of Playtime

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In this photo, you can see the outline of the main speaker beneath the grille.  You can’t see it here, but there are two smaller high-frequency speakers flanking the lower right and left of center.

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The ends also have a grille.  I’m guessing there’s a passive speaker behind these.  During listening, I did notice low end “thump” from the ends.

nyne rebel 08In back you’ll find a indentation that doubles as a carry handle.  Below that is a flap with a gasket that reveals inputs, output, USB (phone charging), battery level check button and DC power in.

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Battery level?  Yes, the Rebel also acts as a battery pack for your USB chargeable devices.  Press the button and up to five white LEDS light up.

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The label under the Rebel.  “PRC” stands for People’s Republic of China.

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The topside features a nicely backlit control panel.  The white backlight is quite nice.  (During standby, the power button glows red).nyne rebel 12

I noticed the “phone” button glows blue when the Rebel is connected via Bluetooth, and green when the wired AUX input is in use.  There’s no control to switch to AUX: simply plug in the supplied 3.5mm cable in the back.

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The Rebel attempted to pair once powered up.  Thankfully, the speaker appeared on my iPhone quite clearly with the actual name of the device.

The very first thing I noticed was I had to really crank up the volume on my iPhone and the Nyne Rebel to get anywhere near “window-rattling” levels.  This is one of those cases where pressing the volume controls on the speaker does not affect the volume on the phone itself.

At max volume, the speaker was never “someone is going to call the cops” loud.  There are more effective ways to call the police.  The Nyne Rebel may not be one of them.  For me, it’s loud enough.  It will fill a room nicely, unless the room is very large and very noisy.

Do you have a list of songs you know so well, you can recall every nuance and anticipate them?  I compiled such a list reflecting my own poor taste in music and spent some time listening:

Tricycle (Flim & the BB’s)
Love Foolosophy (Jamiroquai – Live from Abbey Road)
Ai No Corrida (Quincy Jones)
People Get On Up (Positive Force)
Happy Sad (Pizzicato Five)
Houses Of The Holy (Led Zeppelin)
Eleanor Rigby (Stanley Jordan)
That Girl (Stevie Wonder)
Meditação (Nova)
Chuncho (Koinonia)
Highroller (The Rippingtons – Live in LA)
Chocolate (Jupiter)
Something About Us (Daft Punk)
Cars With The Boom (L’Trimm)

If you want to jump to a clickable YouTube playlist, click here so you can listen along.  No, these aren’t the actual files I listened to, but you’ll get the idea.  Playlist may change over time.

These aren’t “high definition” audio files played over fancy cables woven with kale.  They’re just regular plain old songs from my iPhone via the Bluetooth connection.

The Nyne Rebel did ok for a larger speaker.  The bass did seem more pronounced from the sides/ends.  It did fine with the explosive introduction on Flim & the BB’s Tricycle.  The only time the speaker started tripping over itself with shakes and rattles was with the electric bass solo at the beginning of Koinonia’s Chuncho.  Not surprisingly, the Nyne Rebel also started to choke on the comically awful Cars with the Boom.

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I placed the Nyne Rebel in my booth to put it up against a few speakers.  Let’s see how it did.

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Here’s the baseline plot for the Nyne Rebel.  That bump around 60 Hz is likely due to the size/shape of my room.

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Sizewise, the Nyne Rebel probably most resembles the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin speaker.  However, in actual listening, the far pricier B&W blows pretty much everything in my arsenal away in terms of sheer listening enjoyment.

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The Nyne Rebel is much, much bigger than the teeny tiny Bose SoundLink III, but the low-end response below 100 Hz was quite similar.

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Knife to a gunfight?  There’s no contest when put up against the gargantuan 90-pound (shipped) Fluance Fi70 for sheer low-end grunt.  But then again, the Fluance Fi70 isn’t splash-proof like the Nyne Rebel.

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I know very few people remember the non-bluetooth Apple HiFi, but I still have one lying around.  In terms of sheer size, they’re roughly in the same category.

I was pretty excited at first to discover a larger bluetooth speaker that was both splashproof and had separate provisions for low-end boom (the 2.1 speaker configuration).  With the exception of the Bose SoundLink III in the graphs above, all the other speakers are not portable- they’re meant to be plugged in, which is what you want if you seek some audio muscle. Then again, the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin isn’t splashproof and costs much more.  As far as rechargeable, splashproof speakers, the Nyne Rebel is a good choice- as long as you don’t plan to crank things to 11.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Nyne. Please visit their site for more info and Amazon to order.

 

Product Information

Price:$179 (Amazon)
Manufacturer:Nyne
Retailer:Amazon
Requirements:
  • Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio (cable included)
Pros:
  • IPx3 splash resistant. 2.1 speaker system. Rechargeable. Nicely backlit controls.
Cons:
  • Doesn't seem to get as loud as you'd think for something this size.
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV, Bluetooth Gear, Reviews
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