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(366 in leap years)
It's been more than a few decades since the mighty boombox first appeared on the music scene, threatening to chew up the world's entire supply of D-size batteries one epic Run-D.M.C. rhyme at a time. But the boombox is back, baby. And it's been refined and enhanced for the digital age. Here's what you need to know ahead of your next big block party.
The first boomboxes appeared in the mid- to late 1970s and exploded onto the mainstream scene in the 1980s. From the start, the appeal was simple: a boombox offered the power and resonance of an at-home sound system, yet it was completely portable. It offered the freedom to move and groove, all at once. That same appeal has survived into the present day, with modern portable boomboxes offering all the bells and whistles needed to enjoy your digital music collection anywhere, anytime, and (if you so wish) at blistering, party-starting volumes.
Cassette and CD player boomboxes are still being produced and, in many respects, they're the easiest way to enjoy your old collection of cassette tapes and CDs. Some boomboxes also have integrated docking stations for attaching your smartphone or MP3 player. Bluetooth-enabled boomboxes let you stream audio from any other Bluetooth-enabled device, such as your smartphone or tablet. And then there's satellite radio boomboxes, which let you dock your satellite radio player of choice for big portable sound.
Bluetooth functionality lets you stream music from other devices. Not only that, it also often lets you pair the boombox with other wireless portable speakers -- great for an extra boost in sound coverage.
A built-in battery is the height of modern boombox convenience. When it runs out of juice all you have to do is plug it in and charge it back up. Bonus: you can use it while it charges, so the fun doesn't stop.
Having an integrated AM/FM tuner is also handy, especially if you like listening to local radio news or sports. A digital tuner is best, as it allows you to lock in your favourite stations with easy one-touch presets -- great for dial hoppers.
If you live with others, a headphone jack is a must. It lets you listen to your favourite tapes, CDs, radio stations, podcasts or digital tracks no matter how late at night (or early in the morning) it is.
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