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Audio

Best Boombox

You may think the boombox went out of style with neon tube tops, breakdancing, and big hair. But you'd be mistaken, because the boombox never really left...it's just gotten a makeover. Today's boomboxes offer more than just AM/FM radio and big sound. Gone are those cassette tape decks and instead you have your choice of CD players, mobile device connectivity, even USB ports and memory card slots that can play your content over high-quality speakers. Some of these boomboxes can even play DVD's and many of them are built with rugged waterproof housings that are suitable for any type of environment; be it a jobsite, the mountains, or the local park. If you're looking to relive those days of strutting down the street with your tunes playing on your shoulder, check out our list of the best boomboxes you can buy. Each one chosen based upon the following criteria; portability, sound source options, functionality, audio quality, additional features, and price.

Sony ZSH10CP Portable Heavy Duty CD Radio Boombox Speaker System

The ZSH10CP is ready to hit the streets. Designed to withstand even the toughest customers who don't know the meaning of the word "delicate", this boombox can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Take it to the jobsite, the beach, a tailgate party; wherever you want to hear crystal clear sound, with digital AM/FM tuning and a CD player with ESP anti-shock protection so your music won't skip. You get ten AM and twenty FM presets to remember your favorite stations and there's even an auxiliary jack for hooking up any MP3 player or other mobile device that streams music. It will also play your MP3's from a disc if you don't own a mobile device and the four-line LCD display up front will give you artist and song information on every track. Crank this sucker up for distortion-free volume with good low-end response, and if you want to feel the drums even more there's Sony's Mega Bass option that adds deeper resonance to your music.

Ecoterra ECOXGEAR Waterproof Stereo Boombox

Unmistakable by its bright orange, high-impact plastic housing; this boombox from Ecoterra is completely waterproof at IPX7 which means you can fling it into the drink and you won't damage any of its components. A pair of three inch diameter waterproof speakers deliver high-quality audio reproduction along the entire spectrum of EQ frequencies. While there's no AM/FM radio here, there is an airtight compartment where you can plug in any MP3, iPhone 4, 4S or 5, Android, Windows phones or Blackberry device to stream music or Internet radio with up to 25 hours of playback time on C batteries. That special compartment is also big enough to carry your keys, wallet, credit cards, cash, anything you need to keep safe from the elements and retrieve at a moment's notice. A heavy nylon belt strap and caribiner clips let you attach it to just about anything in order to keep it safe from falling or just to hang it overhead.

Magnasonic MAG-MDVD500 Portable CD/DVD Player Boombox

Not to be confused with Panasonic or Magnavox; the Magnasonic brand may not be as well-known as those other manufacturers but they do make a unique boombox that provides hours of multimedia entertainment in a portable radio unit. Obviously, its most alluring feature is the 7-inch full-color widescreen display that can show DVD's in addition to MPEG4 videos and JPEG photos in sharp clarity. Screen brightness in outdoor environments can pose a problem but watching movies indoors or in shaded areas is a cinch. The MAG-MDVD500 plays CD's just as easily as DVD discs as well, with all of the function controls located on the boombox itself and on the infrared remote control that comes with it. Add to that an analog AM/FM radio, a high-speed USB 2.0 port, and a slot for SD/SDHC/MMC memory cards and this boombox can play just about anything you need it to. There's also an auxiliary port for mobile device connectivity and you can even turn this unit into a full Karaoke machine, complete with a microphone jack so you can belt out the lyrics to your favorite songs as you read them on the front display.

iHome iBT4 Bluetooth Boombox with FM Radio

iHome's iBT4 is a combination FM radio and wireless portable speaker that takes the classic design of those old boomboxes we grew up with in the 80's and packed them with all of the modern advancements of today's technology. First and foremost, it features Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music from any Bluetooth enabled mobile device such as iPhones or Android devices. But if your device isn't appropriately equipped, you can always hook it up to the box via auxiliary jack. Digital FM radio can be picked up through a telescoping antenna and a pair of up and down buttons to tune in local and faraway stations alike. The iBT4 is fully portable, complete with a folding handle and lithium-ion rechargeable internal battery. Sound quality here is good, not great, considering you've got just one speaker to work with. Volume gets loud enough but there's just a little bit of distortion when you get it all the way up and the SRS Bass enhancement feature fattens the low-end of your music with extra bass. But considering the price range, and all of the features you get here, the iBT4 definitely deserves it's spot on our list.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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