SoundMatters foxL Bookshelf Speakers

SoundMatters foxL Bookshelf Speakers 


Per Soundmatters: "Portable music system..."

Surface-top, mini amplified stereo speaker (AC or battery) with line-in/out and volume control for MP3, laptops, gaming, etc.


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[Sep 26, 2010]
Audio Enthusiast

this is the most impressive palm-sized speaker i have ever heard. sure it cannot compete with high-level audio gear, but for travelling at moderate listening levels it competes with larger travel-speakers like tivoli pal, logitech purefi anywhere and jbl on tour which you cannot put inside your trousers-pocket. the foxl is not cheap, but it produces unbelievably full and crisp sound for its size.
you won't be able to rock a garden party with it, but for inside use in a hotelroom or in a train it is more than adequate. of course it will start to distort at higher levels, this improves a bit when plugged in as it works with double power then, but this speaker is not meant to fill a whole room. when in office standing directly in front of me the sound is really huge and puts much larger computer speakers to shame.
the battery seems to last a whole working day. the manufacturer claims 5 hours of playing time, i think this is when playing from bluetooth, as i use it with a wired connection i seem to get nearly the double.
also positioning is pretty important. when i put it right beside me on the sofa it makes the whole sofa vibrate resulting in a funnily deep and full sound.
i am thinking of buying another one and connecting both to a stereo system which should result in higher audio levels and more separation.

[Feb 08, 2009]
Seth N

Out of the box, the Foxl sounded OK, but I think the problem the previous reviewer experienced was because the Foxl did not had it full initial charge completed. When the unit is fully charge it become a different
story, it sounded very good. Also the foxl is quite like a fine audio equipment in the way its sound improve drastically over a burn-in period. In 5 hours the sound, especially the top-end will open up significantly. At this
stage the performance is amazing. The very natural tonal quality and the very good pace and timing from the music sound it produce is really belong in the audiophile league.

The biggest constraint is the physical size of the unit itself. As it is capable of producing bass that defy its size,
the energy from that will make the foxl vibrating and moving around. However, I tried putting the foxl on a cushion and attach a klipsch sub-woofer (set phasing to 90 degree), then any type to music no matter how bass heavy is no longer a problem.

On its own, the foxl is at its greatest with music that is not too bass heavy (eg. hipthop or techno). Vocal
is amazing rivaling or even surpassing much more expensive system. The quality of the source is offcourse very important. Hooking up with good CD-player will sound better than hooking up with I-pod line-out and I-pod 5th gen line-out is much better than headphone out from i-pod shuffle for example.

This is a piece of equipment that I now took with me everywhere. Listening to good music by the pool, in the shower and while do the laundry really make my life a bit more enjoyable.

[Sep 28, 2008]


Versatility. Sound signature belies size and footprint. Decent audio on acapella vocals or recordings with minimal instrumentation. Stout and well-built product. A definite step up in sound quality for users of standard issue small (read: cheap) amplified speakers.


Not nearly the audiophile-grade product mainstream print media reviews proclaim it to be. Audible distortion at moderate volume levels. Constricted sound stage. No shimmer or definition at the upper frequencies; nothing below 80 hertz. Will play very loud, but unit skitters across surface when doing so. Very limited, arguable non-existent, stereo separation. Return procedure a headache.

My (our) experience with the foxL was not as revelatory, amazing or enjoyable as what has been published in the mainstream printed media. In fact, after a couple of hours listening, it was boxed up and prepped for return.

Initial impression: The foxL unit appeared to be a quality assembly -- heavy, clean, made of mid-to-higher quality parts, was well-packaged and looked dressed to impress. All of the necessary instructions, cables and accessories for quick and easy set up were provided. In less than 5 minutes the unit was connected to our Zune and ready to go.

In use: Per the instructions, I sat 3-5 feet away with the unit aimed to beam audio to ear level. First impression was unfavorable.

The audio sounded constricted. Instruments on the recordings sounded crushed together and lifeless. There was no sparkle or life to cymbals, strings or high vocals. Tracks with multiple voices also sounded constricted and separation was non-existent.

Regardless of volume level, my (our) impression never changed. The unit sounded (much) worse than a quality monaural transducer. At no time during the audition did the foxL ever open up, allow acoustic instruments to sound remotely lifelike, provide any depth or width to the engineered sound stage or recreate any semblance of stereo spread or space.

And at any volume setting above the lowest levels the foxL produced audible distortion, mainly from the unique rear-firing rectangular woofer.

Experimenting with listening distances and recordings produced mixed results. The foxL seemed to beam audio much like a rear projection TV beams video, with a definite sweet spot on the horizontal plane. The farther away from the speaker, the better it sounded, sitting or standing. Likewise, the simpler the recording, i.e., tracks with fewer voices and instruments -- acapella being the best pick -- sounded cleaner and more listenable.

Note: the foxL has absolutely no problem filling a 500 square foot room with sound. Its ability to play loud being its strongest asset. Born and bred to old school audio physics and rules, I stand amazed at what this tiny unit can do decibel-wise. It defies everything I've been taught about the relationship of cabinet volume to cone size to amp power to room square footage.

Conclusion: Not good enough to replace my wife's JVC FS-1000GR home office unit (CD player/amp/tuner combo with single-transducer, ported speakers). Nevertheless, for someone wanting something with a tiny footprint, able to run on battery power (at lower volume level), able to play quite loud, and the very essence of portable and with passable, though not audiophile-grade sound, the foxL is going will be hard to beat.

Gripe: Soundmatters return procedure. Oy, what a headache! Here was my experience in a nutshell.

1. Phone call to arrange return. Spoke with Jim Bocasch, who would not authorize return on phone; instructed e-mail contact to initiate RMA procedure even though it would be him/same person to authorize.
2. Following phone conversation, requested return via e-mail and included name, order number, date of purchase, unit model, serial number, price and reason.
3. Received reply requesting same information included with first e-mail or no return would be authorized.
4. Replied providing info (for the third time; once by phone, twice via e-mail).
5. Received offer for second, replacement foxL unit; Bocasch surmising ours to be "underperforming."
6. Replied denying offer and requesting RMA and refund authorization.
7. Received yet another questionnaire and instructions regarding packing and return shipping. Failure to answer meant no RMA or refund.
8. Replied with answers and was finally provided RMA.

Are you f--king kidding me?! For a company confident in its product and eager to provide quality customer service the return for refund procedure was, at the very least, a test of patience.

Clearly, our experience with Soundmatters and the vaunted foxL was not nearly as positive as what has been published. Regardless of the frustrating Soundmatters return procedure, I recommend a thorough audition of the tiny foxL. The unit has potential to impress in specific applications.

Post script and correction: The "product model year" choice providedby audio review stops at the year 2006. The Soundmatters foxL is a 2008 model product.

Customer Service

Acquiring RMA for return-for-refund procedure needs retooling.

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