808 Audio Hex Encore portable speaker and PA system review

The Hex Encore is a portable party with a PA system and light show

The 808 Audio Hex Encore Bluetooth speaker brings more to the party than just great sounding audio. It adds visual excitement and a club feel with a pulsating light show ring that strobes and flashes to the beat of your music. This portable speaker also doubles as a PA system with two microphone inputs and comes bundled with a mic, so out of the box you can emcee an event or sing karaoke with your friends. Follow below for our quick 808 Audio Hex Encore review.

The Encore’s compact, cubed design includes recessed handles on the sides, a scratch-resistant exterior, a 50-hour rechargeable battery, and a relatively portable 16-pound weight. To ensure that you’ll always have something to listen to, the Encore offers multiple input sources including Bluetooth, Aux-in for wired connections, SD card, FM radio, and two USB ports which double as power outputs to charge your mobile devices.

The various knobs and control buttons on top let you control and customize the different features like the light show pattern and color, microphone volume and echo effects for vocals, and frequency balance with a five band equalizer (EQ). Pairing with the speaker over Bluetooth is quick and after pairing you can control playback via the play/pause and skip track keys on the speaker itself. However, the speaker’s up and down keys didn’t adjust our Android phone’s volume level as expected — if you want to control volume from the speaker, you’ll want to use the knob on the right side of the control panel.

If you like your bass thumping, go ahead and press the red ‘Bass’ boost button.

At the default, or flat, EQ setting, the sound from the Encore is balanced across frequencies, offering clean and clear sound. The preset EQ modes let you quickly adjust the balance to emphasize different frequencies for various genres like pop and jazz, and you can also manually adjust the sliders for each band to suit your ear.

Bass reproduction on the Encore is tight but not overemphasized. If you like your bass thumping, go ahead and press the red ‘Bass’ boost button. This steps up the lower frequencies and adds another layer of dimension and depth to the existing bass while delivering an overall bump in volume allowing you to access the full 50 watts of this speaker. In bass boosted mode, the light show ring strobes a flashing white and midrange frequencies remain well-balanced so vocals don’t sound overly shrill. However, if you crank up the volume to the max, the sound starts to distort and nearby objects will likely start to shake and rattle from the vibrations.

If 50 Watts sounds like child’s play, consider upgrading to the Encore XL which resembles two of the Encore speakers stacked atop one another and has a max output of an ear-splitting 4×100 watts. The Encore isn’t the only portable party speaker on the block, either. We recently reviewed another speaker, the Ecoxgear Ecoboulder, with a similar feature set.

You can find 808 Audio’s Encore for just $150 while the Encore XL can be found on Amazon for $300, so you’ll be able to affordably gear up for your next party with a Bluetooth speaker that does a lot more than just playing music.