Entertainment & Fun

Bringing Music Back to Life with the Jambox

If you’ve found your CD collection gathering dust, the Jawbone Jambox is a wireless speaker that might help wake up your musical life. Enjoy portability (thanks, Blue Tooth) and the hands-free variety of shuffling your digital music library, or streaming from a free online radio like Pandora or Spotify, a recent import from European shores.

Behind the Times

Let’s rearrange all of Mommy’s music!

Here is how behind the times I am. My music collection is on CD.

Yes, that’s right. Only a few of my albums have made the digital leap over to iTunes. Sad, I know.

Musical Graveyard

Even worse, I wasn’t enjoying my music. And I’ve missed it! I adored my collection of Brazilian capoeira and bossa nova. I loved my New Age selections, classical masterpieces, jazz and standards. Show tune sing-alongs were regular appearances.

But lately, the only CDs that made it into the player were the likes of Kids Bop and World Playground. With small kids underfoot, there often isn’t time to listen to an entire CD at a stretch. And without a personal DJ in the house to mix it up, we found ourselves listening to the same tracks over and over.

There were other problems. My favorite radio shows were never broadcast at a time I could actually tune in. Somehow whenever I put on something I wanted to enjoy, small fingers would start pressing buttons and turn off the music.

To bop along while cooking dinner in the kitchen, I had to turn the volume in the next room way up. And the playroom upstairs had no music at all.

Jam with the Jawbone

Enter Jawbone Jambox, a wireless, portable speaker. With this gadget, I could let iTunes mix it up by playing my library on shuffle mode, something impossible with my CD player.

Or, since that requires importing my CD collection into iTunes – a laborious task at best – I could stream free music from Pandora. Enjoy music in any room within 33 feet of the source. Finally – variety and portability!

Score a Deal

But at $199, the Jawbone is a bit pricey. So I put a ZingSale alert on the item. ZingSale will email you whenever the price of an item you want drops.

A couple months and a few price drop alerts later, ZingSale finally popped into my inbox with a Jawbone price under $150. And that is how I scored the Jambox on Amazon for $145, in the color I wanted and with free shipping to boot.

(Note – when buying from third party sellers, always take a minute to check out their customer reviews and rating. You don’t want to end up with a lemon.)

ZingSale alert

Setting Up the Jambox

Setup was simple. The device arrives about 80% charged, so it’s ready to go right out of the box. A full charge lasts about ten hours.

Turn it on, and an actual human voice lets you know when it’s ready to pair with any blue-tooth enabled device you choose, such as your smart phone, tablet, computer or laptop. There was a hiccup or two when I attempted to pair with my iMac, but after turning the device off and then on again, it paired no problem. Pairing to a device is a one-time task.

Soon I was humming along in the kitchen to iTunes playing from my home office. Free Pandora radio streamed upstairs into the bedroom. NPR’s weekend update wafted into the kitchen while I flipped pancakes. There may or may not have been a celebratory dance 🙂

Sound Check

Admittedly, I’m no audiophile – but for jamming around the house and even for livening up a party, I’m happy with the sound quality and volume this little bugger can put out. Bonus: look how neatly it fits on my kitchen window sill – out of reach of tiny toddler tentacles!

Little guy, big sound

The Thirty-Three Foot Tether

The one disappointment was the 33 feet range of Blue Tooth. I didn’t realize how long our house was. So when paired to my iMac in the first floor home office, the Jambox will jam on that side of the house, including the kitchen and the bedrooms above it – but not the playroom upstairs on the other side of the house, or the sunroom behind the kitchen.

Well, you didn’t think two IT professionals would have just one computer in the house, did you? Our solution: since the Jambox can pair to more than one device, pairing it to the Mac Mini in our family room – which we use as a home theatre PC and where my husband Rich already has an extensive iTunes library  – gives us coverage on that side of the house, upstairs and down.

And since Rich is a networking guy, all the computers in the house are connected. Meaning that when I finally get around to importing my CD’s into iTunes, we can synch libraries and be able to enjoy “his and hers” music anywhere in the house.

More Fun Stuff

Not a one-trick pony, the Jawbone is also a speakerphone. If you’ve paired it to your blue-tooth enabled phone and a call comes in, the music fades out and a voice announces the incoming number. Tap the round button on top to answer the call or hold it to decline. Unfortunately when I tested this, the caller hears an annoying humming sound. Silver lining – shorter phone calls?

Personalize It

Of course, like everything these days, you can personalize your Jawbone. Prefer a mobster, or a flirty voice to tell you when the battery needs charging? There are ten voices to choose from, plus six languages.

Jawbone Languages

You can also install “Dial Apps” which let you customize the TALK button on your Jawbone to perform a variety of useful things like call your favorite person, voice dial, listen to email or speak and send text messages. All the personalization options require you to create an account on mytalk.jawbone.com and connect your Jawbone to the website using the included USB cable. At the very least, you will want to do this anyway to get free software updates for your device.

The Jawbone comes in four styles; I picked the Gray Hex.

Four Styles Available

See the Jawbone in action in this hilarious Official Jawbone Jambox music video. I don’t know which is funnier, the video or the “Jamchain” it features – which you can actually get, free, from Jawbone (shipping $4.95).

The JamChain – hands up if you think I need one of these?

Savings Tips

Compared to other wireless sound systems like Sonos (currently priced at $299 and up), the under $200 price tag for Jawbone is more reasonable. Try using ZingSale to score a similar $145, shipping included, deal like I did for even better value.

Making life better and saving money at the same time; two of my favorite things that get me dancing around the house every time.

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