Creative has been making Bluetooth speakers for virtually as long as Bluetooth has been a thing, so when they announced the Sound Blaster Roar Pro and confidently claimed that it is the only portable speaker you'll need, we knew this was not marketing bluster. I own two of the company's speakers, and tested out the Woof 3 in recent times, but another Bluetooth speaker from Creative is not necessarily something to get excited about.
However digging deeper into the spec showed that if you pair it up with the iRoar wireless microphone it also becomes a portable public address system for meetings, presentations and even conferences, so we had to try it out. This could be ideal for designers, creative directors or art directors who are frequently in large meetings or give presentations and struggle to project their voice.
But before I tried it out as a mini-PA, I tested its credentials as a Bluetooth speaker in the most challenging of environments – my son, Archie's 1st birthday party. With babies vying for attention, toddlers running amok, older kids screaming and shouting, and parents, family and friends talking above the noise about Aldi bargains and pushchair access, surely the Sound Blaster would fall at the first hurdle.
Not so – pairing with my iPhone and other parents' Android smartphones was a doddle, and the In The Night Garden album was gamefully transmitted by the plucky and usefully small and light speaker, while Boom Shake The Room didn't actually shake the 100-capacity room but was clearly audible and punchy enough for some dad-dancing to break out.
The double-amplifier, five-driver system employed by Creative for the Roar Pro ensures frankly incredible space-filling acoustics for such a petite unit. And in the party scenario, I was able to push the 'Roar' button which boosted the loudness and depth of the sound, while appearing to spread the sonics effectively amongst revellers big and small.
But what you're here to find out about is the Sound Blaster's voice projection chops, so I got hold of the iRoar Mic, paired it up (a cinch), and tried it out.
The iRoar Mic weighs only 30 grams but that is weighty enough to cause considerable sag on a shirt so it is best clipped to a jacket lapel - or, of course, it can be held or hung round your neck with the included attachment.
It has a battery life of 10 hours so there is no chance of a freshly-charged iRoar from letting you down mid-presentation. Its performance is excellent considering that it in not a hard-wired pro microphone – my voice was transmitted via the iRoar through the Sound Blaster with aplomb. The speaker's ability to distribute the sound throughout a small-to-medium sized room is impressive.
But the iRoar Mic is not just for work – a fun feature is that you can morph your voice with Emotion Amplifier. At the touch of a button you can make your voice deeper, cooler and older, or change it to resemble an elf, orc or alien. You can also play music through the Sound Blaster Roar Pro and use the iRoar Mic for a bit of karaoke, if that's your bag.
In summary, the Creative Sound Blaster Roar Pro is probably the most versatile Bluetooth speaker – no, audio device – that I've tested. It pulls off its 'work, rest and play' brief with ease thanks to its acoustically nuanced yet powerful soundstage that covers every possible use thanks to its array of connectivity options.
Whether on the beach or in the boardroom, boosting your television's limp sonics or powering up your gaming PC, the Creative Roar Pro has got your back – and the iRoar Mic is either a fun or essential add-on whether you are using the speaker as a pro tool or party accessory.