Just about anyone even slightly familiar with car audio has heard of Kicker. They’re the ones driving lots of high-quality (and especially bass heavy) sound systems. Known for their square subwoofers and crystal clear sound on the road, can this greatness translate from the garage to the home?
The Kicker Amphitheater BT2 is Kicker’s flagship foray into the home audio space. It’s a desktop speaker meaning it’s not able to be battery powered when on the go, but when a speaker is as large as the BT2 it’s not an issue at all. Included in the package is your DC adapter and a remote (battery included, thanks a TON Kicker!). Upon unboxing the signature black-and-yellow box, you get in your day’s worth of weight lifting to get the speaker out of the box. It’s not super heavy, but unless you don’t care about the box staying intact as I did, you could just cut it open and slide it out that way.
The speaker’s mostly plastic construction isn’t the greatest, but it doesn’t seem to affect acoustics in any negative way. It’s a matte plastic, helping the speaker seem more durable at the same time. The glossy black plastic strip along the front looks nice when clean. I’m just afraid it’ll be scratched over time and will lose its clean look. It’s likely used for Bluetooth antennas and the remote’s receiver, so scratches might interfere with the remote a tiny bit over time.
Why’s that? The remote only works if you’re within a few feet of the speaker, rendering it useless across the room.
It’s really interesting how Kicker has taken advantage of the Bluetooth capabilities of this speaker beyond what I would’ve expected. If you visit your phone’s app store (Windows Phone excluded – to be expected), search for the KickStart app. It enables more efficient pairing to the speaker, and lets you set the EQ settings on the Amphitheater.
Thanks to the 3/4-inch tweeters contributing to the high end and the 5-inch drivers, the speaker sounds extremely balanced. The mids tend to sag toward the lower end a bit which slightly muddies up the sound. However, this could be due to the fact that there is a dedicated sub on the back of the speaker – a 6 inch square sub, to be exact. And boy, does the sub pack a punch! It’s extremely good looking and sounds great. Songs with punching low ends make the table jump a few inches, and you can feel it inside yourself. When you have a song that’s simply “low”, the room shakes. I say this quite literally, too: going upstairs makes me feel like there’s an earthquake here in Iowa for some odd reason. Not a bad thing at all if you ask me.
And this speaker is SUPER DUPER LOUD. Incredibly loud. Wake-the-dead loud. That’s about all I can say about this 120-decibel monster (if I remember correctly, that’s what it’s been rated at by third party sources).
A nice feature of this speaker, besides its built-in aux port, is the fact that there’s a USB port on the back. This both charges your phone and plays music. Charging is a bit disappointing on newer devices, however, as it’s only at one amp.
I did experience some Bluetooth connectivity issues on my phone with the speaker. I’m beginning to think it’s a problem with my phone itself as it’s happened with a few other speakers: the signal randomly disconnects completely after a minute or two. This has led me to be very familiar with the aux port on the speaker, which is a bit of a limitation.
For $200 on Kicker’s site, I feel that this speaker is a decent price. It’s possible to get better performance for the money but the Amphitheater BT2 is a great speaker from a trusted brand. If you’re the type of person who likes to put your house’s construction quality to the test with solid bass, you really ought to get yourself an Amphitheater BT2.
What are your thoughts on this insane, booming speaker? Could you hear me using it from where you live 😉 ? Sound off below!
Thanks to Adam Sohmer and Kicker for sending me this speaker to review!