Bad Wolf Tardis Bluetooth Speaker
A well-constructed Tardis collectible. Full of tricks from lights to sound. A good speaker for personal use.
Those in the UK can purchase the speaker from the BBC Shop.
Bad Wolf Tardis Bluetooth Speaker
Fametek, the consumer products division of audio maker Massive Audio produces Star Trek and Doctor Who branded speakers, batteries, and Qi chargers. Their Bad Wolf Tardis Bluetooth Speaker offers a decent personal speaker with lighting and sound effects that will warm the time distorted cockles of any Doctor Who fan.
What we like
The model is spot on. Great details, all the way down to the handles of the doors. Unlike the company’s previous Tardis speaker, all the controls sit on the back, away from view. Collectors will likely find having a Bad Wolf Tardis on their desk for $39.99 a worthy investment regardless of its audio capabilities. But this Tardis does offer audio that makes it more than a graffitied keepsake.
First, the play side. The Tardis makes the following sounds on the referenced conditions:
- Power ON: Materialize
- Power OFF: Dematerialize
- Bluetooth Connected: Cloister Bell
- Aux In Mode: Flight noise
- Low Battery: Turbulence
The LED roof lamp flashes white when powered on, and flashes white again when pressing the multi-use button for power down. Windows flash white as Bluetooth attempts to connect and glow continuously when the speaker pairs or connects via the auxiliary input.
Not part of the show is the rear power LED that indicates white when charging and green when fully charged.
The special effects make the Tardis a cool interactive toy without actually putting out any music or streaming audio tracks. I have genre toys from other manufacturers that cost more and do less.
A note on “Bad Wolf” The “Bad Wolf was a being that possessed Rose Tyler after she starred directly into the TARDIS’s Time Vortex. She scrawled her names across space and time to link her to the Ninth Doctor. This created a paradox as past and future selves converged on the clues she left. As “Bad Wolf” Rose defeated the Daleks and resurrected Captain Jack Harkness.
But the Bad Wolf Tardis isn’t just a toy. Under the hood of the Tardis, tiny, printed circuit boards covered in surface-mounted chips bring to life a 36mm low distortion speaker and a 36mm passive bass radiator with frequency responses of 120Hz to 20KHz (If you think about it, this Tardis is bigger on the inside—if you consider the quantum realm and the chips used to power the Tardis it probably has more surface area inside the Tardis than the Tardis’s external measurements).
The signal-to-noise ratio is good at >80dB.
The back of the Tardis holds all the controls. Plus and Minus buttons control volume when pushed, and song selection when held. The third multi-function button covers power, and play/pause. Press any button to abbreviate the current sound effect. A mini-USB port supports charging and an Aux-In port connects the speaker to other devices via a 3.5mm audio cable.
A ran through my collection of audio testing tunes and found a seemingly delayed response to Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, meaning I couldn’t hear the soft opening of the song. Hamilton’s It’s Quiet Uptown charmed but seemed a bit distant. In Sk8ter Boi Avril Lavigne’s opening cords were muddled. None of the music was unlistenable, just not crisp.
At 5.89″H x 2.98” W x 2.98” D this is a relatively diminutive speaker. While the sound is OK, it isn’t loud, so consider this a personal speaker rather than a party speaker. If you want a more room-filling sound consider Fametek Enterprise-D Bluetooth Speaker.
Battery life is solid at a reported 5 hours from the speakers Rechargeable Lithium-ion cell.
What could be improved
A couple of basic enhancements would make the Bad Wolf Tardis more future-forward. First, it would benefit from a USB-C charging port in place of the mini-USB port. Second, an upgrade to Bluetooth version 5.0 (or 5.2) would increase range and fidelity. I would also love to see a software update that would allow the Fametek line to link and form an audio mesh, ideally with stereo support.
The low-end 120Hz frequency is a little high, as good ears hear sound starting at 20Hz. I would like to know the frequency response variation.
Fametek could do a bit more work on the acoustics to pump up the volume and add more subtlety to the sound profile.
Bad Wolf Tardis Bluetooth Speaker: The Bottom Line
You probably aren’t really buying the Fametek Bad Wolf Tardis as your primary speaker. But if you are a Doctor Who fan, having a Tardis that lights up, delivers iconic sounds, and plays music is probably something you want in your collection. I own the Fametek Star Trek TNG communicator, but I rarely use it to talk communicate over my iPhone. I however love that I have one. The Bad Wolf Tardis Bluetooth speaker falls into that category. This is a good collector’s item at an affordable price—a good gift offer for the Whovian on your holiday list.
Fametek provided the Bad Wolf Tardis Bluetooth Speaker for review. Images courtesy of Fametek.
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