When going on a road trip without decent in-car sound — let’s say the radio’s broken — make sure to pack a Tremor Bluetooth speaker. Just in case you need the auditory muscle.
The Tremor is made by Dreamwave, is big and bulky but isn’t basic. It’s got an onboard battery that’ll make most power banks blush, and crisp sound to take on the likes of Harman Kardon and Bowers and Wilkins. Okay not quite, but it puts up a good fight.
Essentially it’s got the triple threat – sound, power and looks, like David Hasselhoff in the 90’s. The question is, however, can this rugged speaker deliver on its promises? Is this a speaker that can not only withstand the elements, but our audiophile expectations?
Design – Where is it?
Okay, the Dreamwave Tremor is not covered in camo, but it does feel like it should be. It takes conventional ideas of how travel speakers ‘have to look’ and turns them on their head — talk about body positivity.
Wrapped in a rugged olive and black design, you’ll find a large front-firing grill covering the Tremor, covering two full range drivers, two tweeters and a pair of subwoofers powered by a 50W amp.
Thanks to the 20,800mAh battery the Tremor is a weighty ‘portable’ device, but you won’t be whining when the thing lasts for a whole 20 hours of music playback. Unless you’re the one who has to carry it to the campsite. We used the Tremor off and on for three days on a camping road trip and only had to recharge this beast at the end of day three.
The Tremor doesn’t just have rugged good looks – it accommodates a shockproof chassis that can withstand drops and the occasional blast of water. Short of being submerged, the Tremor can handle both trips to the beach or the pool in equal aplomb.
Performance – The beats within
Whether you’re looking to blast some screeching Foo Fighters at your OppiKoppi campsite or in the mood for a chill Jack Johnson tune on the beach, the Tremor can handle most tones very well, wherever you may be — and with a range of connection types.
Ideal for the pass-around DJ, the Tremor can accommodate Bluetooth, Aux and NFC connections, and you can also connect two devices simultaneously over Bluetooth.
We tested connectivity with a variety of devices, from a MacBook Pro to an Android smartphone and iPad. Setup is both fast and reliable through all of the tech we tried.
The top of the Tremor houses three LED indicators that communicate several different functions. If you don’t read the manual (like us — it’s an office rule), you still should be able to puzzle out what’s going on in short order.
Where battery life is concerned, don’t even trip, yo. You’ll get a full 20-hours playtime on ‘normal’ use (think a Cape Town housewife listening to ABBA in her apartment), but if you pump up the jams, you’ll get slightly less battery uptime.
And it’ll take a while to charge the 20,800mAh battery back up, but a 4-hour charge (or just an all-nighter like we did) should bring it back up to where you want it to be.
Though the Tremor may not have the IQ of a Google Home or Amazon Echo, it does include a built-in microphone – meaning you can summon a lesser digital assistant or chat to mom while on the road.
Sound – And then she let out a loud howl
Although we did test the bulky beast inside the car for most of the trip, blasting music outside generated great results (though not from angry passersby who underappreciate the musical prowess of Rammstein).
When pushed to moderate volumes, the speaker demonstrates clear highs and saturated, deep bass. Don’t plan on going too deep with that bass though. Push too hard and it’ll crumble just a little — as most speakers will — although it is perfect for showing off your industrial metal discography.
The Tremor performs best when it’s cranked out to the max – especially outdoors. You’ll find it produces clear, distortion-free sound all-round at top volume (as long as you mind the bass levels), which is a massive plus to go with this massive speaker.
Dreamwave Tremor Verdict
The Tremor is a brilliantly designed slab of muscle, which withstands shocks, bumps, splashes of water and even sand. If you’re a regular beach-party attendee or just need someone to accompany you on your road trips, this guy might be heavy, but it’s a keeper.
The Tremor retails for R6,000, but isn’t something you’d regret after experiencing its power – delivering crisp, clean sound at high levels while being durable enough to withstand tough South African environments. It’s every wannabe off-the-grid hippie/surfer/camper’s dream speaker.
[UPDATE: RSA Music, which sent us the test unit, say the price of the Tremor has dropped to R4,000]