Monster DNA Max assessment: 360 levels of enjoyable


Monster DNA Max

MSRP $180.00

“The Monster DNA Max Spwaker gives party-ready sound in a pool-proof bundle.”


  • Strong, 360-degree sound
  • Good for swimming pools
  • Good battery life
  • Features a wi-fi charger
  • Speakerphone functionality


  • No EQ customization
  • No auxiliary enter
  • Annoying voice suggestions

There’s no scarcity of first rate Bluetooth audio system on the market, however generally it may be robust to seek out the precise mixture of options you’re in search of. It’s straightforward to seek out waterproof audio system, however much less straightforward to seek out waterproof audio system which can be additionally speakerphones. Need to have the ability to cost your gadgets too? The record will get shorter. What about 360-degree sound? Now we’re right down to just some fashions.

Oh, and also you’d like to have the ability to cost it wirelessly and have it include its personal Qi-compatible charger? Chances are you’ll not understand it, however you simply requested for the $180 Monster DNA Max.

Monster DNA Max close-up of lanyard mounting bar.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Sturdy design

As transportable Bluetooth audio system go, the DNA Max gained’t win any awards for design. It doesn’t have a flowery metal-boombox development just like the Anker Soundcore Movement X600, it doesn’t remind you of a basic guitar amp just like the Marshall Middleton, and it’s not fairly as versatile or as transportable because the JBL Flip 6, which may be positioned in both a horizontal or vertical orientation. That may be a little bit of an issue: regardless of the grip provided by its rubber backside, the DNA Max will simply topple over if by chance bumped, as can occur whenever you’re having time.

You may, in principle, depart it resting on one facet for extra stability, however that might block half of the speaker’s drivers (extra on the sound high quality in a second).

It weighs in at about 2.four kilos. That’s not heavy, precisely, however after I had it dangling from the included wrist strap, it wasn’t very comfy and I used to be a bit of involved that the skinny twine that wraps across the built-in bar won’t survive prolonged use.

Monster DNA Max top view with LED ring light lit.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Nonetheless, it is available in your alternative of black or white, and it has large, easy-to-access management buttons for quantity and playback on the highest floor which can be encircled by a brilliant racetrack LED mild. The sunshine stays on whereas the speaker is powered up and can provide you a visible indicator of your quantity degree. It turns blue when in Bluetooth pairing mode, and briefly flashes pink when the unit turns off — which it would do routinely after no music has performed for 15 minutes. And when the speaker is charging, it gently pulses.

Just like the Flip 6, it’s a ruggedly constructed speaker. There’s thick rubber on the entire corners, and although I didn’t deliberately drop-test it, I think it would deal with a good quantity of abuse. Additionally, just like the Flip 6, it’s absolutely waterproof and dustproof (IP67), and when you toss it within the pool (or sizzling tub or ocean), it would float round till you retrieve it. However not all floating audio system are created equal. The Flip 6 bobs, with most of its physique (and thus its audio system) submerged. The DNA Max, against this, lies flat like a paddle board. This retains one facet consistently uncovered to the air. Since there are drivers on either side of the speaker, you’ll all the time have the ability to hear your music clearly.

Monster DNA Max side view with USB-C port.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Immersive sound

That dual-sided driver association makes the DNA Max completely fitted to out of doors listening — like yard events or park picnics — whenever you’re extra prone to be transferring round. You may place the speaker wherever (although a central location works greatest) and the sound will merely radiate outward in all instructions.

This “omnidirectional sound” as Monster refers to it, is mono, not stereo, however I used to be impressed by how immersive it sounds. Place the DNA Max at one finish of a room, with its backbone going through you, and you can persuade your self that there are two audio system as an alternative of 1. The sound can be very clear by means of the midranges and highs, and there’s a really beneficiant quantity of bass. It’s not a thunderous low-end by any means — for that, you’ll want to take a look at the UE Megaboom or Hyperboom — however for a speaker of its measurement, I feel you’ll discover it fairly satisfying even for bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and rap. You may simply make the DNA Max your major speaker in a kitchen or a youngsters’ bed room.

Monster DNA Max and accessories including a wireless charging pad.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Extra vital for a transportable out of doors speaker is that the DNA Max can get loud. It’s rated for as much as 90 decibels, which is similar because the UE Megaboom and barely greater than the Flip 6 (86-87dB), however not fairly as highly effective because the JBL Cost 5 (94dB). Distortion does finally creep in, however not till you hit the very prime of its vary, supplying you with loads of room to pump issues up. Want much more energy? I didn’t take a look at it, however you possibly can join as much as 99 different Monster DNA audio system to the Max through the devoted DNA Sharing button. Sadly, stereo pairing isn’t an possibility and there’s no auxiliary port to line in an analog audio supply.

There’s no companion app for the DNA Max. Which means no equalizer, no firmware updates, and no approach to change options just like the auto-off timer. I’d like to have the ability to tweak the EQ, however I’d actually love a approach to modify the speaker’s verbal suggestions. Whenever you energy it on, enter Bluetooth pairing mode, or examine the battery standing (press the plus and minus buttons concurrently), a voice proclaims issues like “Bluetooth related,” or “Bluetooth pairing.” It’s obnoxiously loud and there’s no approach to alter it in any respect. You may’t disable it and it doesn’t comply with the speaker’s quantity setting.

The Bluetooth vary is excellent. Monster claims 35 ft, however this can be a very conservative, indoors-based quantity. Outdoors, I used to be capable of get not less than 100 ft from my telephone earlier than issues began to interrupt up.

Monster DNA Max sitting on wireless charger.
Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The DNA Max isn’t the primary wirelessly charging Bluetooth speaker, though that’s what Monster would really like you to imagine. Its product web page for the DNA Max proudly declares that it’s “the first-ever Bluetooth speaker to supply wi-fi charging appropriate with all customary Qi wi-fi chargers.” Technically, that honor goes to the Sonos Roam, however let’s not be petty — it’s nonetheless a uncommon characteristic.

The place the DNA Max does get to crow is the truth that it additionally features a wi-fi charger, a six-foot braided USB-C cable, and a 10-watt energy provide. That’s not less than a $25 to $30 set of equipment when you had to purchase them individually.

Monster claims a 20-hour battery life, and also you may get that when you preserve the amount set to 50%, however let’s be actual — when you’re utilizing this factor for an out of doors occasion, you’ll in all probability go to not less than 70%, and that may drain the cost sooner. Chances are you’ll get 15 hours. Nonetheless, that’s not dangerous so far as transportable audio system go.

Monster DNA Max next to a JBL Flip 6.
Monster DNA Max (left) and JBL Flip 6 Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

You may also use the speaker to cost exterior gadgets, however I had bother with this characteristic. Utilizing the included USB-C cable and my very own USB-C-to-lightning adapter, my iPhone 14 charged simply advantageous. Nonetheless, each my Google Pixel 5 and Xiaomi 12 Professional balked on the connection. Each insisted that the DNA Max was a USB audio machine of some sort, and never solely did they not pull energy from the speaker, however they really gave the impression to be supplying energy to it. Not precisely a desired conduct whenever you’re already low on juice.

Lastly, the DNA Max can act as a speakerphone because of the built-in mic on the highest floor. The mic doesn’t have lots of achieve on it, so whereas your voice can be clearly heard when you’re sitting beside the speaker, you possibly can’t precisely stroll across the room. It’s additionally fairly dangerous when outside — there’s not a lot in the way in which of noise-canceling occurring.

I can’t say I’m very impressed by the DNA Max’s energy financial institution characteristic, and the dearth of an app or any type of auxiliary audio enter feels limiting. However total, the DNA Max is a good transportable Bluetooth speaker with excellent sound high quality. Wi-fi charging is a pleasant comfort, its dual-sided drivers and plentiful quantity give it greater than sufficient oomph to entertain medium-sized gatherings each indoors and out of doors, and it may be expanded with further Monster DNA audio system. Plus, you couldn’t ask for a extra pool-worthy music maker.

You won’t want all the things the DNA Max gives, however when you do, it’s a tough speaker to beat at any worth.

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