We’d say the JBL Pulse 4 is without a doubt the speaker to get if you enjoy the wacky tabacky, as my old man calls his reefer.
JBL is unsurprisingly not so up front about this, but the JBL Pulse 4 is the stoner’s speaker par excellence. It’s also a quite obvious speaker choice to go with mushroom and LSD trips, and other hallucinatory adventures.
The JBL Pulse 4 excellent for filling a small to mid-sized room with immersive sound. And it is both sonically and visually designed to be placed in the center of the circle (presumably as the joint is passed) and look and sound great no matter where you are sitting.
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Advantages to Riding Your High with the JBL Pulse 4
But above all, this is a modern take on the lava lamp, with an unbroken 360-degree light show.
And unlike the analogue version, this LED marvel does the following visual effects:
- The light show responds to the music, particularly to rhythm
- It can be programmed and customized, you can set different patterns and combinations of patterns
- You can add colors by taking a picture of the color you want with your phone
- Two JBL Pulse 4s can be synced to play the same light show via the PartyBoost feature
Other advantages to the JBL Pulse 4 from a partier/stoner perspective:
- It produces an even sound mix across all frequencies; I’ve found that when high I really want to lose myself in a visual version of the music. It’s nice to have a mix of both complex and simple trippy songs. (and some stoner classics). This speaker doesn’t leave out any particular part of the spectrum out, so you can really get lost in the sonic craziness. There is also excellent bass for a speaker of its size.
- There is more than enough volume to fill a mid-sized room and excellent volume for outdoor use as well, such as a patio party or small camping group.
- The JBL Pulse 4 has a 12-hour battery, enough for an epic trip away from a power source (though if you need more, check out the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 mentioned in the next section, which has a 20-hour battery).
Overall the Pulse 4 is an excellent piece to decorate an inside space such as a bedroom, lounge, dorm room, or small to mid-sized living room, and could easily serve as a permanent home speaker. But you can also take it outside and expect the battery to last much longer than your high.
Disadvantages: When this Speaker Could Kill Your Buzz
The drawbacks to the JBL Pulse 4 from a stoner’s perspective:
- The glass can gather fingerprints; handle it from the top or bottom to avoid this.
- The glass may be more likely to break than with hardier Bluetooth speakers (though in browsing through the hundred-some Amazon reviews of the previous Pulse 3 I have surprisingly not yet seen reports of cracking glass. If you want a more indestructible JBL speaker we’d recommend the JBL Flip 4 or 5, and if you want an exceptionally rugged, great-sounding travel speaker, we think the best option is the Ultimate Ears Boom 3.
- The JBL Pulse 4 really does sound excellent, but if you want more bang for your buck sonically, you can forgo the light show and opt instead for the JBL Charge 4 (compared here with the Pulse 4), which is unidirectional (so best placed in the corner, not the center of the room). Or, for our favorite 360-degree speaker at this size and price, grab a Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3, which you can place in the center of the action and have it sound great to everyone in the circle. It’s rugged too, so great for outdoorsy highs that need some tunes.
Wrap-up: The Best Speaker for Loopy Light and Sound Trips
We think the JBL Pulse 4 is lovely, but if you want to save some money, you may be able to get the previous version below for a bit cheaper; see our comparison of the JBL Pulse 3 and 4 for more information on that option.