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If you're ever looking for a bargain then the Sony GTK-XB7 is for you. For less than some larger portable speakers you can get this behemoth with a built in light feature. But even though the Sony XB7 has it pros it also has some quirks. But is the Sony XB7 right for you? we’re about to find out. Don't forget to like comment and subscribe and if you want to hear a sound comparison of the Sony XB7 checkout my “Is Bigger Always Better” video here after you're done watching this video.
The Sony GTK-XB7 has been on the market for awhile now and when it first came out it was retailing for $349.99 but now most of sony’s line up is on sale and you can get the Sony XB7 for $246.92 on Amazon. And just like most of Sony’s other speakers they come in multiple color ways. The XB7 comes in Black, Blue, or Red. If you want to pick this speaker up I’ll have a link in the description below and I’ll keep it updated so you can get the best deal possible.
alright, so lets go over the form factor first. The Sony XB7 is 25.6 inches tall 12.8 inches wide and 13.4 inches thick. Or for my over seas viewers, its 65 cm by 33 cm by 34 cm. Basically its the size of a toddler or a large dog. And it weighs in at 26 and a half pounds or 12 kilos. The majority of the body is made out of plastic, theres some wood paneling on the back and the front has a painted metal grill. While transporting the Sony XB7 to different locations I noticed it got scratched very easily but the majority of the scratches easily wiped off. But transporting the XB7 was little easier thanks to the handles on either side. On the top of the device you will notice theres a power button, volume controls buttons, and extra bass button and a function button to switch between audio sources. For all of your other playback needs there is an included remote controller. Its simple and very light weight, you can even cycle trough some of the light features or even turn them off right from the remote. And on the top of the XB7 theres also a slot so you can rest your phone or tablet and there an NFC touchpoint for easy pairing if you have an android device. And on the back of the device you will find RCA inputs and out puts so you can hook up your tv if you'd like or chain other speakers together, Theres also a USB port so you can charge your devices or play audio files off of a USB stick, and you'll also find the party chain button so you can pair multiple XB7’s together and the Speaker Add button so you can pair two XB7’s together and have them play left and right audio. Unfortunately I wasn't able to pair the XB7 with my smaller XB40 or XB30 which was a huge let down. And finally you've got your AC in to power the speaker.
Concerning technical specifications, the Sony XB7 has 2 six and three eights inch woofers and 3 two inch tweeters on the front. And you will also notice an opening in the middle of the speaker to let out all of the air the Woofers displace while playing music. The light feature on the XB7 is also the most capable in Sony’s Xtra Bass Line Up. There are two light strips on either sides that can flash independently and in different colors of one another. There are also LED's that illuminate the woofers and unlike the XB40 which can only flash white, the woofers on the XB7 can also flash in different colors. And finally the are strobe lights on either side of the device. The Sony XB7 is using bluetooth 3.0 and I’ve managed to get a range of around 50 feet with direct line of sight with my phone. But even though the XB7 is using bluetooth 3.0 there is minimal lag when watching videos. The audio is a little behind when people are talking on screen, but its bearable. But for those of you wondering, the Sony XB7 does not have a built in battery and it is not water proof nor splash resistant. So if you're going to use this speaker by a pool make sure jason dosnt splash it with his cannonball and if it starts raining you better rush it inside.
Now before we start talking about sound quality I just want to point out that even though this speaker has two built in Woofers and 3 tweeters… at any given time you're only using 2 of those 3 tweeters. If you stand the speaker up you're effectively using both woofers and the top 2 tweeters but if you lay the speaker flat you're still using both woofers and the top tweeters relative to its position. I just wanted to point that out for people wondering why the XB7 has 3 tweeters instead of a symmetrical 4 tweeters in each corner.
Even though changing the orientation of the speaker does technically change the speaker layout, its doesn't really effect the overall sound quality. If you listen to the speaker in the different layouts back to back and know what to listen for you'll notice the sound stage gets a little wider and the vocals get pushed back a bit if the speaker is laid flat. But if you're casually listening you're not going to notice a difference.
Like i mentioned in my “Is Bigger Always Better” video… the Sony XB7 has a lot of bass, its going to shake your walls and its going to shake your insides. And the bass is its own entity. The XB7 has really good instrument separation but the vocals can be a little too forward at times. And obviously the XB7 can get very loud, but at those higher volumes theres a lot of distortion going on and the bass starts to muddle the sound. For the best listening experience i would keep this speaker below 75% volume.
But in most cases you're not just going to buy the Sony XB7 for strictly personal listening. You might be looking into this speaker to host parties and if thats the case then the Sony XB7 will get the job done with no problem for large get togethers both indoors and outdoors.
Now when it comes to the light feature you can cycle through on, off, chill or rave straight from the controller or you can use Music center (available on both android and apple) to cycle through more light settings. And even though I’ve stated in the past that Sony’s mobile apps aren't the best, music center has improved and gotten more stable. But its still a pain to use at times. In music center you can cycle through rave, chill, a rave mode with out the strobe lights on each side which they call Random Flash Off, and strobe. You've also got hot which will only display warm colors and cool which will display only cool colors like blues greens and teals. And if you just want the speaker to stay illuminated in one solid color you can pick either of the steady settings. But even though the lighting feature on the sony XB7 is the most capable in sony’s line up, Sony really dropped the ball when it comes to customization. With the XB40 you can use the Fiestable app to customize the light feature. But the XB7 cant pair with fiestable, you're stuck with the pre-sets in music center. I just find it annoying that the XB7 doesn't have any customization options, theres so much potential there.
Another annoyance I have about the Sony XB7 is even though it has a USB port and RCA inputs theres no AUX jack so cant use a wired connection with your phone. you can only use bluetooth. And if you're using this speaker at a party or get together with friends you cant just pass the aux cord… you have to go through the bluetooth set up process every single time. if you want to use a different device. And i don't know about you but theres always that one person is a group of friends that doesn't know how to set up a bluetooth device on their phone! And since this speaker is using bluetooth 3.0 it cant be paired to multiple devices at the same time. And i also don't like how you cant turn off or control the light feature directly from the speaker, you have to use the controller. And its a problem cause when you turn off the speaker for the first time its been plugged in by default the lights will stay on and cycle through the different colors unless your turn them off from the controller. And since I'm constantly plugging and unplugging this speaker it gets annoying after awhile. And I also don't like how there aren't any music control buttons on the speaker either, you have to control the music playback either with the speaker’s controller or from what ever device you're streaming music from. And sometimes you don't know where either one of those are and you just want to pause or skip the track.
But with those minor grievances aside the Sony XB7 is still a solid pick up at $250. The sheer amount of bass this speaker has to offer will please anyone who routinely listens to Rap, hip, EDM or any other type of music with lots of bass. The lighting feature is cool but remember, this speaker is not water resistant so you have to keep an eye on it when using it outside or by the pool. I wouldn't get this for personal listening but the XB7 is great for parties. If sony is working on an updated version of the XB7 i would like to see them make it lighter, add control buttons to the top of the device, and through in some bluetooth 5.0.