Think back to a time when you’ve been on a dancefloor, whether it was at your primary school discos, or maybe a wedding in front of the DJ blasting the cheesy tunes, and the audiophile in you slightly winces at the quality of the music that comes through the speakers. Well, that’s the Sharp PS-919 Party Speaker. It’s thunderously loud, and will easy fill an entire house full of music. After all, it is called the Party Speaker. But that is also its downfall too.
The unit itself is pretty unique in shape and size, especially for something considered a portable speaker. It’s pretty much fully cylandrical and measures in at 22 x 22 x 22.4 cm. Its weight sits at 2.7kg and has a carry handle on top so you can shuffle it around the house, or outside if you’re lucky enough to have a pool or if you wanted to take it on a camping trip or the like. There is a standard tripod thread on the bottom of the speaker too if you wanted to keep it off the ground and higher up to allow music to flow over the top of a crowd.
The outer shell is made entirely from plastic, which helps with its IPX5 rating, which means it’s survive a few splashes from the pool or a light rainfall, but dunk it in water, and you’ll be looking for a whole new unit. It’s also to keep the weight down as much as possible, as this is a hefty product. On top are big rubberised buttons which are very clearly marked for play/pause, skip track and volume, changing the lighting effects and selecting its source. However, you’ve only got the choice of Bluetooth or an auxilary input, which are clearly indicated by a voice telling you which one’s been selected.
On the back are only a couple of other connections too. One being a USB Type-A input to charge your device, probably your phone, and the other is power, so you can charge the internal 14 hour battery. Plently of battery life to last an evening, and during our testing at a mid-range volume – well, mid-range for this thing means loud – it lasted close to that, even with the light effects on.
The lights effects are an interesting one for sure. They shine very bright from the centre 1/4″ woofer speaker. The main effect I can see people using is the crazy RGB lighting that circles round the outside of the cone. There’s also a sonar effect that runs through the different colours, an effect that fades between colours and of course, one that reacts to your music, specifically the bass hits. I would have liked to have seen more lights installed on the box, especially around the top 2″ tweeters, or even from the rubber accents down the left and right hand side of the speaker grill. But, in a darkened room in a house or a small function hall, this thing will be seen for sure. Like I said at the start. It resembles something that would be found at a cheesy school disco or a wedding reception.
Now, sound is where it gets pretty disappointing, which is unfortunate to say the least. The three sound modes attached don’t do it much justice either, as the standard sound mode is pretty much the best of the bunch. The 3D audio mode, which is supposed to widen the soundstage, which to give it credit it does very well, but you do lose so much bass, it begins to sound tinny at higher volumes. And it’s exactly the same with the added bass feature. You lose so much from the high and mids, the speaker sounds as if it’s literally just humming at times, which was obvious during more electronic or dance club focussed music. Push the 3D Bass mode past the mid-volume point though and you’re going to be battling with a lot of distortion, and I even experienced some minor rattling towards the rear of the speaker. The strange thing is, you can’t mix the two together and have the added soundstage with the extra bass. There are only three modes, not four. Which is a litle mindblowing why Sharp decided to make this decision.
Music playback through the Sharp PS-919 is a little flat. It lacks clarity on all forms. It reminds me of the older style boom boxes, albeit a little more modern looking with some RGB lighting effects. It’s something you would buy your kids for Christmas, and regret it by New Year’s Day after telling them to turn down their music for the 100th time. Though their music might not be turned up to the max. It’s just the subwoofer that’s rumbling through the floor.
It’s an attractive product don’t get me wrong, and would look decent being pulled out at a party. But for the size of the speakers, and weight, you would think it would perform better than it does. Thankfully, you can find it online for around £109, which is one of the cheaper options for this type of speaker, and when you compare it to something like the JBL PartyBox 200 or even the Sony GTK-XB60 which I can find for closer to the £200 mark online, makes it not a bad price. It’s just a shame the sound quality can’t keep up at higher volumes.