Wireless speakers are a dime a dozen these days. Coming in multiple sizes, power output, and sound quality, it’s hard to choose what’s the right one for you. While many portable Bluetooth speakers feature decent battery life, you still have to plug them in to recharge them. Some of the newer ones now feature wireless charging, making it easier than ever to keep them charged up and ready to go.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
In our Monster DNA Max review, we look at a portable Bluetooth speaker complete with wireless charging, ensuring you’ll rarely be out of battery power. Read on to see why it’s Highly Rated here at Techaeris.
Table of contents
The Quick Take
There is no shortage of wireless Bluetooth speakers on the market. The Monster DNA Max Wireless Speaker is yet another option for those looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker. It’s fairly portable, has a decent look to it, and all-day battery life. The wireless charging feature makes it easy to recharge, as well as keeps it charged up for when you want to take it to a different room or outside without the base. At full price, it is a bit pricey but if you can find it on sale, this speaker is a pretty solid deal.
The Monster DNA Max Wireless Speaker we reviewed has the following features and specifications:
- Wireless Bluetooth Streaming with 30 Ft Range
- IP67 Waterproof
- Omnidirectional Sound
- High-Speed Qi Wireless Charging Base
- Built-in Ultra-Fast USB-C Port
As there is a slightly more affordable and smaller version available, the chart below includes the specifications for both so you can compare:
|DNA One||DNA Max|
|Transducers||2x 45mm active|
2x 50mm x 30mm passive radiator
|2x 53mm active|
2x 70mm x 40mm passive radiator
|Rated output power||10Wx2 (THD+N @1 KHz ≤ 1%||15Wx2 (THD+N @1 KHz ≤ 1%|
|Power input||USB-C™ 1.5A/5V, WLS 1.5A/5V||USB-C™ 1.5A/5V, WLS 1.5A/5V|
|Frequency response||90Hz – 20KHz||90Hz – 20KHz|
|Max sound pressure||88dB||90dB|
|Battery||Li-ion 2,600mAh||Li-ion 4,400mAh|
|Charge time||<3.5 hours||<4 hours|
|Standby time||<100 hours||<100 hours|
|Music playtime||<14 hours||<14 hours|
|Connections||USB-C, WLS Charger||USB-C, WLS Charger|
|Mics||1 ECM Mic||1 ECM Mic|
|Dimensions||6.1 x 4.4 x 3 inches||8.7 x 4.4 x 3 inches|
|Weight||1.5 pounds||2.43 pounds|
What’s in the box
- Monster DNA Max Wireless Speaker
- Wireless Charging Base
- USB-C cable
- 18W Charging Adapter
- Wrist Strap
- Quick Start Guide
- Monster Sticker
Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes these days. With the DNA Max (and DNA One), Monster went for a sleeker, classier approach. With a “flattened” cylindrical shape, the DNA Max is just under 8 3/4″ in height, just under 4 1/2″ in width, and about 3″ in depth. The top and bottom 1/2″ of the speaker, as well as a 5/8″ strip up the right side, are a soft coated rubber-like material. The rest of the speaker is covered with a black fabric finish. On the front side, the Monster logo is displayed about 1 1/2″ up from the bottom in the same black rubber-like material that is found on the top and bottom of the speaker. While our review unit was black, it also comes in a white/grey model.
On the top of the speaker is where you’ll find most of your controls. There are two large volume buttons indicated by – and + symbols and between them are a pair of stacked smaller buttons, the power button indicated with a circle stamped into it, and the Monster Share Party Mode button indicated by the Monster icon. A thin LED ring is embedded on the top of the speaker around the outer edge. The bottom of the speaker is pretty plain but has a groove in it that aligns with the wireless charging base (more on that in a minute).
The right side of the speaker has the Monster wordmark stamped into it. At the top is a cutout with a thin red bar inside it for attaching the included wrist strap. Towards the bottom, underneath the Monster logo, is a small Bluetooth pairing button as well as a USB Type-C Charging Port.
Finally, the Monster DNA Max also includes an oval wireless charging base. It is roughly 4″ wide by 2 1/2″ deep by 1/2″ in height. The Monster logo is stamped in the middle and a raised ridge is located about 1/2″ from the edge. This ridge is where the speaker sits when charging. While it is magnetic, it’s pretty weak and when picking up the speaker, the charging base falls off on its own accord. On one long edge is a USB Type-C port for the included (roughly) 6′ braided USB Type-C charging cable. The underside has a pair of rubber semi-circles on each end for added grip, as well as ventilation holes for heat dissipation while charging.
Overall, the Monster DNA Max has a pretty non-descript, but classier and sleeker design than some other Bluetooth speakers on the market. With its look and ruggedness, it doesn’t look out of place on a shelf indoors or on a patio table outside.
Ease of Use
Like most Bluetooth speakers, the Monster DNA Max is easy to use. Press the power button for about 2 seconds and the LED ring will flash blue to indicate it is in Bluetooth pairing mode. Look for “Monster DNA MAX” on your smartphone or other device in the Bluetooth device and select it. Once detected and connected, the LED Ring lights up blue for 3 seconds or so, then turns white, and you’re good to go. To pair to a different device, hold the Bluetooth Pairing Button on the right side for about 2 seconds until the ring flashes blue and repeat the steps above.
To control the volume, either use the volume buttons on the top of the speaker or the volume buttons on your smartphone. Unfortunately, the speaker volume isn’t independent from your phone controls so using either will adjust the volume on your smartphone. The power button also allows you to play/pause music or answer/end a call. You can also press and hold the volume buttons to skip to the next or go back to the previous track.
Finally, if you have more than one Monster speaker that supports Monster Share Party Mode, you can use that button to pair more than one speaker together for an even bigger sound stage.
Speaking of sound, the Monster DNA Max wireless Bluetooth speaker has a pretty solid sound stage. It does get rather loud with its pair of 53mm active transducers and its larger 70 x 40mm passive radiators. The front and the back have one of each so you do get the same sound when standing in front of or behind the speaker, making it a great option for placing in the middle of the yard or room for pretty decent omnidirectional sound.
As far as the sound quality itself, the DNA Max is pretty balanced, with warmer as opposed to punchier bass. Regardless of the music style I was listening to (rock, hip hop, classical, etc), I was pleased with the sound quality for the most part. That being said, when the speaker was approaching maximum volume and you were close to it, it did sound a bit muddied on some tracks.
As far as reception is concerned, I had no issues with the speaker connecting to, and remaining connected to, my smartphone. Whether in the house and on a different floor or at opposite ends of the backyard, the speaker didn’t cut out until I moved past about the 30′ range.
The Monster DNA Max Bluetooth speaker can also be used for taking calls should one come into your phone while paired to it. You can answer the call by pressing the power button once. The audio does come through the speaker, and the single ECM (electret condenser microphones) on board allows you to speak without having to get your phone. The microphone quality wasn’t too bad but you do have to be standing pretty close to the speaker and speak up a bit for the other party to hear you clearly.
Monster claims up to 14 hours of music playtime on a single charge with the large 4,400mAh battery inside the DNA Max portable Bluetooth speaker. During our testing with the speaker at about 50%, we did consistently get around that mark. There was the odd time we got a bit less or a bit more, but that all depends on the type of music you’re listening to. Overall, it will last you for a full day for the most part, and depending on your usage you could probably last a weekend with it as well.
To help conserve battery, the speaker automatically shuts off after 15 minutes if no connection was found or if it’s not playing music.
With the included 18W wireless charging pad, it takes about four hours to recharge when fully depleted. If you get into the habit of placing it on the base when indoors or not in use, the DNA Max Bluetooth speaker will be ready to go whenever you need it.
The Monster DNA Max Wireless Speaker retails for $179.99, which is a bit on the pricey side. Of course, there’s also the slightly smaller and slightly more affordable ($149.99) Monster DNA One Wireless Speaker as well if that’s more your style. While it does sound great, has decent battery life, and wireless charging, I’d wait to get this on sale (as it has been a couple of times in the past) to maximize the bang for your buck.
The Monster DNA Max Wireless Speaker is a decent option in a crowded market, albeit (as mentioned above) a bit expensive for what you get. While there are similar-sounding speakers for cheaper, the wireless charging feature is definitely nice to have but you will be paying a bit of a premium for it.