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Review: AIWA X-15 Portable PA/Boom Box

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This has got to be the largest electronic device I have ever reviewed. Aiwa calls its new X15 a Portable Bluetooth Audio System, but that’s just one of the many features in this very loud, professional styled, home Public Address(PA) speaker. My family has been having a lot of fun helping me review the various features so let’s dive right into it: This unit has Line In, SD Card, Micro SD Card(TF), USB, Bluetooth, FM Radio, 1/4 inch Microphone input and 1/4 inch Guitar input, Stereo RCA jack Aux In, Stereo Line Out, as well as 2 included UHF wireless microphones.

The X15 is a self powered, portable PA system which features a one inch driver coupled with a 15 inch Low Frequency speaker. You can use the included AC power cable to run the device, charge the Lead Acid 12 volt battery, or you can run this mini PA anywhere you want, using the internal power supply, which Aiwa claims will last up to 20 hours between charging depending upon power and EQ settings. The battery is being charged whenever the AC power is connected, whether the unit is activated or in the “OFF” position. The power switch has AC power, OFF, and Battery Power. I have been using it out at the swimming pool for a week, with zero complaints. The Instructions are very limited, giving the instructions to connect bluetooth devices to the speaker, as well as detailed illustrations of the controls. but that’s it. I had to connect all the systems one by one to understand how this unit operates.

The Aiwa X15 is very flexible when it comes to digital input control: SD card, Micro SD card, USB memory stick inputs all work well. When one of these storage cards is connected to the X15, a pleasant woman’s voice indicates which is selected. This is one of the first units to hit the US, so I did notice some differences in the woman’s voice and volume, which is ultimately not important but interesting to note. You will hear her voice every time you operate any of the control system buttons. By pressing and holding the Mode button, you can turn the voice prompts on/off. The X15 has very simple control panel, including Mode(input), Repeat(with voice prompts), Last(song, radio station, etc) Play/Pause, and Next(song, Radio station). The purposes for the controls are simple, the operation is easy. There is one more button I’ve not mentioned: The multipurpose “Circle” button. It is next to the Mode button and is indicated by a white circle. Warning: When in FM mode, pressing the button will start a search function, which will find and program all available FM frequencies. Touching the button accidentally will still place the unit in the search mode and you will have to wait until it’s done. In Card mode, you can press and hold this “Circle” button to record directly into the SD or Micro SD(TF) card and play back the recording. There may be more functions available to this button, but this button isn’t even mentioned in the Instructions.

Bluetooth was easy to connect following the instructions. It connected easily to my Galaxy 5, as well as my various IPads, with no problems and the unit would quickly connect when the bluetooth device is in range and enabled. The Line in selection is the default mode when the unit is powered up, unless a memory card is installed, then it goes in order: USB, CARD MODE, LINE IN, RADIO MODE, etc etc. The Guitar jack and microphone jacks are “always live” with their own input volume controls, as well as “Echo”. Strangely enough, the wireless microphones are also “Always Live” when powered up. The Microphone volume knob controls overall volume for the two wireless microphones, and the 1/4 Microphone Jack, with no way to manually adjust relative volumes between the two wireless, or the hard wired microphone. The wireless mics work better with a bit of input voltage, but they seem adequate for home use. Aiwa claims a 100 ft range for the microphones, I have used them at least that far away, and through the walls of my house with little complaint. They seem to have a bit of shading but act like decent low end dynamic microphones. There is a OK PRI button which gives “priority” to the microphones in the MIX, it sounded terrible, and like a cheap automatic volume limiting system. My advice? Keep it turned OFF. X15 Portable Bluetooth PA Speaker

The Back of the unit is very busy looking, with the many input slots and basic controls at the top, and the many volume and mixing controls in columns going down the back. There is a upper screen which displays mode, and Frequency in Radio Mode. There is also a lower panel with Status lights to indicate Power, Charge(battery is actively charging), Full(Battery charge), and Low(Battery requires charging). There are actually two extendable antenna on the back, which seem to have dual purpose: The FM Radio, and the Microphones. They don’t stow very well, so be careful, they are the old school easily broken type.

The Guitar input in the Aiwa X15 is “CLEAN” so if you want more crunch, expect to use a distortion or multi effect pedal. This is meant to be a PA, not a guitar amp, so don’t expect much more than VOLUME, and that is really where this unit lives. It’s loud. It’s not incredibly loud, but it is loud enough to annoy your neighbors, it is loud enough to get you kicked out of campgrounds, and it’s loud enough to fill a small hall. The Frequency response is 60Hz-16kHz, so don’t expect “MASSIVE LOW END” even when seeing that 15 inch speaker. It’s not going to happen, but it is clear, and pretty even across that frequency range. Notice: the X15 has EQ control in the form of Bass and Treble Knobs. They actually do give a lot of ability to “shape” the sound of the mini PA within the frequency range and playing with them will enhance the Highs, the lows, and yes, even the Mids. Aiwa rates this at 200 watts output with a maximum SPL of 104.1 dB under lab conditions, 108 dB under outdoor conditions, and 118 dB indoors. It’s loud. Indoors it’s stupid loud.

Physically it’s 40 lbs and comes with 4 casters, and a retractable handle so it can be tipped like luggage. The casters are too small, and unnecessary. Two wheels on the back would work better. There is a standard size pole mount in the base so you can place it on any small speaker stand on the market. The casters were tippy, and there are no protective bumpers on the back for stairs or curbs when pulling it along: I had to carry it as much as roll it out to our pool.

I was able to figure out and operate the Aiwa X15 Portable Bluetooth PA Speaker pretty quickly, even with the limited one page instructions. It’s fun for the whole family, it can be used camping, at the beach, for outdoor movie nights, and as an all around, flexible PA. You can’t wirelessly link this, but it can be hard wired to extra units. With the Aux Line In, one could always add a small or large mixing board for even more flexibility. When using the SD Cards, or USB memory stick, there is no “song title” display, nor can you do much besides “next song’ or “previous song” which will be accompanied by the lovely unknown woman’s voice(or the other woman’s voice) unless you turn that feature off.  It’s a great unit for the money for most home use and has potential to be more if Aiwa continues to make larger, more portable speaker systems. The only place to purchase right now is Amazon, we will update that and any other information in the future. Two more absolutely random features which are also not in the instructions: On the front of the unit are two Blue LEDs which seem to blink as “peak levels”  as people sing in the microphones or the music hits actual peaks but really? Who knows? One more random feature is the 12 volt power input using bare wire connections. You can actually charge the battery or use the speaker while directly attached to your car’s power system either through a power tap, or direct connection to the battery. They have thought of everything. Unfortunately it seems to have happened in a random fashion.

Boom Boom

The Aiwa X15 Portable Bluetooth Audio System is a great home PA. It’s flexible and powerful enough to be used for street busking, Outdoor Movie night for 40 people, or Karaoke night in the Man Cave. It’s simple enough for anyone to use, the sound is clear and loud with more than enough ability to fine tune the system in a way sure to please most ears. At $219 USD the X15 demonstrates great value for the home audio guru wanting to move the fun outside in a big way. So far it’s been sing along time every night since it showed up at our front door. Tons of fun, and a great product clearly designed for “In your face” home use. A solid 9 out of ten stars for a solid sound system.

 

Buy from Amazon

Our Rating

9 / 10 stars           

Average Price*

$219

*Average price is based on the time this article was published

 


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About Author

Mike E

An audio specialist with over 20 years of audio engineering experience. When not sitting behind a sound board, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his two youngest sons, as well as rock/mountain scrambling, rappelling and taking his Jeep into hard to find areas (until it has to be dug back out from the dirt).

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