Meetings with friends and other mass events for some time ceased to be relevant, but everything will certainly return to their places, summer will inevitably come – and therefore there will be parties in the open air. Many manufacturers offer their portable audio solutions for such events – from “pocket” portable speakers to various boomboxes. Sony has decided to go even further and combine in one relatively compact product a 2.1 speaker system Sony GTK-PG10, a karaoke station and a table for soft drinks.
Packaging and equipment
The device is delivered in a dense box of kraft cardboard with illustrations pasted on each of the faces on a white background. Inside the column and its accessories are additionally protected by plastic bags and are held by foam inserts.
The delivery includes the column itself, the documentation for it, as well as the power cable. There is no cable for a wired connection to a sound source, although its device supports it.
Design and construction
Externally, the column resembles something between a compact guitar combo amplifier, a stereo system and a portable refrigerator. Design, on the one hand, emphasizes the “solidity” of the device; on the other hand, it does not create a feeling of excessive massiveness.
The column, by the way, weighs a little less than 7 kg. But it’s quite convenient to carry it at the expense of two handles on the sides, moving it from the car to the installation site is not a problem. And of course, it is not exceptionally designed for other transportation options.
The upper part of the column is expanded, the built-in high-frequency speakers are on the sides of the main part of the body. According to the manufacturer, such a position, as well as tilting the twitter forwards and upwards, allow you to cover a larger space with sound.
At the same time, the upper part of the column turns into a small snack table with four cup holders. A full three-course dinner on it, of course, cannot be placed. But glasses and a couple of containers with snacks – comfortably.
The middle part of the countertop is covered with a pattern in the form of hexagons – apparently, for more excellent stability of containers with food and drinks. The “little table” has moisture protection, but only it is not too severe. That is, the upper surface will withstand drops and smudges of drinks, but in general, the column is not resistant to moisture at all – pouring it with water is not worth it.
In the folded state, the column is also quite operational, the “wings” form a small depression on top, which can also be used to accommodate any small things. But when working outdoors, the manufacturer strongly recommends laying out the column – not for nothing that, in the end, this whole mechanism was implemented.
In the folded state, the folding parts are held by small latches located on their rear. They open with minimal effort, close with a pleasant click. There are no questions at all about the quality of the folding mechanism – potentially this is the “weakest link” in the design, but in fact, everything looks very reliable.
On the front panel of the Sony GTK-PG10 is a low-frequency speaker with a diameter of 18 cm, covered with a metal protective net with a logo. On the sides of it are two holes of the bass reflexes.
Two 40-mm tweeters, as mentioned above, are built into the hinged “wings”. A plastic grill protects Their holes.
On the front of the case, there is a control panel and connections for sound sources on top – we will talk about it separately.
In the folded state, the recesses on the hinged parts and the upper part of the body form convenient handles for carrying the column.
On the rear panel, there is a small sticker with information about the device, a telescopic antenna and a socket for connecting the power cable, closed with a silicone plug.
At the bottom of the case are quite high and stable rubber legs, as well as a hole for mounting the device on a rack. The diameter of the hole is standard – 35 mm, you can use the racks used to accommodate concert acoustics. This option makes you think that potential users of the Sony GTK-PG10 maybe not only lovers of outdoor parties, but also some professional event organizers looking for a portable device for work.
With a fully expanded antenna, the speaker design acquires tangible retro notes – the good old radios of the end of the last century begin to be recalled. But seriously, full support for radio reception in such a device is a good idea. Sound source gadgets can be discharged, the mood to “DJ” from the phone may disappear, and the radio is always at hand.
The pairing mode is activated by holding the Function button on the front panel. After the voice prompt “Bluetooth pairing” you can start the connection. Other events from the life of the speaker are also voiced in a female voice in English, from charging status to activation of some of the functions. Next, the connection process is standard, by default, on a device with more or less recent versions of Android, the “advanced” Sony LDAC codec is activated, AAC will be used on gadgets for iOS.
Sony GTK-PG10 supports simultaneous wireless connection of several devices, which was verified by parallel connection to a PC running Windows 10. At the same time, a complete list of built-in codecs and their modes was obtained using the Bluetooth Tweaker utility. In addition to LDAC and AAC, the system also supports basic SBC, which was chosen by Windows to work.
By folding the large silicone plug on the front panel, you can find the connectors for the USB drive and microphone, as well as two RCA connectors for wired connection of the sound source. The desired input or operating mode is activated by briefly pressing the Function button.
Management and software
In addition to the already mentioned Function key, there are three indicators on the panel, as well as buttons for power, playback control, turning over tracks / presets of radio stations, the volume of the speaker and microphone itself, changing the tonality of the playing track, turning on the echo effect and the Mega Bass mode. The buttons are pressed slowly and with a slightly slurred click – this does not cause serious discomfort, but you will have to get used to it a bit.
The built-in screen is quite informative: it can display the status of the device, volume, type of connection, name of the paired device, and so on. But only in Latin, there is no Cyrillic support. Folder names and tags in files played from the USB drive are displayed, but again – only recorded in Latin letters. If you look closely at the screen, you can notice the presence of several icons that are not used in the device in question – it is probably universal and is also installed in other solutions.
In general, it is quite possible to control the device using the built-in panel. But it’s much more convenient, efficient and more enjoyable to do this with the help of special Sony Music Center software, available for both Android and iOS. The program determines the connected column, as well as the installed applications of some streaming services – the icons for launching them appear in the general list of available functions.
There are tabs for all use cases, including a wired connection – in his case, you can control the volume from the application. For radio, preset selection or tuning to a specific frequency is available. Also, directly from the app, you can play files stored in the gadget’s memory.
In the settings section, you can enable or disable automatic standby, set the off timer, and select your preferred codec.
The built-in equalizer is called Sound Field and contains both several presets for movies and music, as well as the ability to adjust the sound for yourself in manual mode.
Work with the karaoke function is made in a separate application called Fiestable, which can be called up from the Sony Music Center general menu. It is available to adjust the microphone volume and activate the Echo effect, as well as work with the function of changing the tonality of the sounding track. In addition, Fiestable allows you to turn the gadget screen into a kind of light music, as well as control playback using the accelerometer and voice commands.
The built-in player plays MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV formats. There is support for up to 8 subfolders. As mentioned above, the device’s screen does not display the Cyrillic alphabet, so the names of tracks and folders will have to be written in Latin letters. Or use a program for a smartphone that allows you to manage and work with USB-drives. Although, if the gadget is already in the hands anyway – it is easier to start playback from it. However, this function can still come in handy – for example, if a collection of “backing tracks” for karaoke is collected on a flash drive.
The microphone input works quite correctly. The volume is adjustable – everything is fine. The built-in Echo function at minimum levels allows you to add a little volume to the sound, but at maximum levels, it turns into just an interesting toy – as in all similar solutions.
The Key Control function deserves special mention, which allows you to change the tonality of the playing track on the fly. The change step is a bit large, plus there are only three in each direction. But all the same, karaoke is useful more than once for singing.
The stated battery life is up to 13 hours at medium volume and up to 5 hours at maximum. During testing, the system worked for 14 hours at a volume slightly lower than average – using it at high values indoors is very uncomfortable for the listener and inhuman concerning the neighbours. The radio receiver more or less confidently receives the signal even in the farthest corner of the room, in the fresh air and with the antenna brought into a “combat state” everything should be fantastic.
And finally, a table for snacks and cup holders. The surface is easy to clean, the size of the cup holders is optimal – it is quite suitable for use. Due to vibration at loudness levels above average, loose dishes can “creep” over the surface of the table, but there’s nothing to be done.
Sound and frequency response measurements
The volume margin of the speaker is very solid, which is not surprising, given its purpose. At its maximum values, small distortions may appear in the low-frequency range, but they are noticeable only in some compositions with “forced” bass. The column does not even try to reproduce the so-called “deep bass”, which is right and good.
Otherwise, there would probably be trouble with reproducing the mid-frequency range, since there is only one speaker responsible for the woofer and midrange. Tweeters work out high frequencies well, unlike many portable systems in Sony GTK-PG10 they are present and are very pronounced.
The device sounds pretty balanced for a portable solution with a plastic case. The ruggedness of the frequency response graph is great, but overall the impression of the sound is pretty good. For listening to popular music and dance hits in nature, it will be enough for sure.
The first graph was obtained in the traditional way for our reviews – when the microphone was placed normal to the column at a distance of 60 cm. The main connection for all measurements was a wired connection, which potentially ensures the maximum playback quality.
When connected via Bluetooth, unpleasant accents in the middle appear in the sound, while its detail drops significantly – the changes are clearly visible in the second graph. But here it is important to note that it was obtained using the SBC codec – for measurements we used a PC running Windows, which for some reason preferred it. You can add emphasis on the low range by activating the Mega Bass function – the “addition” is quite obvious, but not excessive.
Well, in the end, we once again remembered that few people listen to portable solutions, placing them directly in front of them. Plus, often the column is somewhere at the level of the belt. Therefore, two more measurements were taken – at an angle of 45 ° from above and from the side.
In principle, the frequency response has not changed, but some nuances still appeared. On the last graph, we averaged all measurements, getting the result as close as possible to the actual listening experience. The sound, I must say, is quite specific. But a significant part of the nuances can be levelled by the equalizer in Sony Music Center or the player used.
|Speaker size||Treble: ∅40 mm (2 pcs.); LF: ∅180 mm|
|Connection||Bluetooth 4.2, wired (2 × RCA)|
|Supported Codecs||SBC, AAC, LDAC|
|FM tuner||87.5 – 108.0 MHz|
|Battery||lithium-ion, 4900 mAh|
|Autonomy||up to 13 hours|
|Charging time||≈7 hours|
|Additionally||microphone connection (there is an effect of Echo)|
playback from USB-drives
|Dimensions||330 × 376 × 303 mm|
The form factor of the Sony GTK-PG10 model is so original that there is nothing special to compare it with – there is no competition in this segment and is not expected. The manufacturer managed to collect everything that is needed for an outdoor party in one portable device: you can “flick” from a smartphone, sing karaoke, turn on the radio with the background, and so on.
The sound is very acceptable, and the ability to “spread” the tweeters on the sides of the case allows you to add a little volume to it. And at the same time, it gives a pleasant bonus in the form of a table, which, in addition to the main function of placing snacks and drinks, provides the surprised looks of others who first saw the column.