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Ultimate Ears myBOOM 3 speaker hands-on: Thousands of ways to customize an outstanding audio experience

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It’s been six years since I tested out the UE Boom speakers and they continue to perform well today. Ultimate Ears released the Boom 3 in September 2018 and just recently made available a more personalized version that you customize in the myBoom Studio.

The various Ultimate Ears speakers have always had vibrant color options and unique styles, but with the new myBoom 3 users can come up with their own combinations to personalize the look and feel of the speaker. Rather than send out random options, reviewers were given the opportunity to try out the myBoom Studio themselves and then use a promotional code to finalize the speaker creation for testing.

Customizing with myBoom Studio

A few weeks ago I let my family walk through the myBoom Studio site with me and help select a review speaker to test out. Thousands of variations are available thanks to the ability to customize six parts of the Boom 3 speaker, as follows:

  • Fabric pattern: 12 options
  • End caps: 8 options
  • Volume buttons: 8 options
  • Spine: 8 options
  • Loop: 8 options
  • Text: 20 characters can be entered

My family selected Frozen Kingdom for the fabric, Seashell end caps, Seashell volume buttons, Ultraviolet spine, and Ultraviolet loop. For the text I entered my Twitter handle, @palmsolo.

The Frozen Kingdom colored ferns are not as vibrant in real life as the image on the website, but all the rest of the selections look about the same as shown. The text is very subtle with cutouts in the rubber material.

Retail package and hardware walk around

The UE myBoom 3 arrived with a white sleeve that details the Magic Button, Party Up mode, and other key features of the speaker. Slip off the sleeve and a colorful inner box is revealed. Open up the lid to see the speaker you customized through the myBoom Studio website. The retail package also includes a nice quality USB charging cable, unfortunately still of the microUSB variant.

The first thing I noticed were the very large plus and minus buttons used to control the volume. Although the buttons are large, you still have to press the center to activate the button. On the opposite side you will find the loop and spine. At the bottom of the spine is a rubber port cover for the microUSB port. Given that everything, including Apple products, is moving to USB-C, I was a bit disappointed not to see a USB-C port on this speaker.

On the top of the speaker is the power button, center large Magic Button, and small Bluetooth pairing button. The Magic Button can be used to play, pause, and skip a track when playing music.

There is a metal assembly in the bottom of the speaker that you can use to charge up the speaker using a Power Up stand.

Specifications

The UE myBoom 3 has top of the line specifications that include:

  • Support to connect two speakers for stereo sound, eight devices (for individual or stereo playback), or more than 150 Boom or MegaBoom speakers for Party Up mode
  • Maximum sound level of 90 dBA
  • Frequency range of 90Hz to 20 kHz
  • Drivers measuring 2 inches and two 2 inch by 4 inch passive radiators
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery with up to 15 hours battery life
  • Drop resistant to five feet (1.5 meters)
  • IP67 water resistance
  • Dimensions of 184 mm tall and 73 mm in diameter with weight of 608 grams (1.34 pounds)

The speakers also comes with a two year warranty and is built to last.

Smartphone software

In order to connect more than one speaker, you need to connect an iOS or Android device through the UE Boom application. There is no way to have both speakers connected physically, through daisy chaining, or wirelessly without the UE Boom application. As you can see in my screenshots, the UE Boom application lets you pair to two speakers wirelessly and then have the speakers work in stereo with a left and right channel or in stereo individually with both speakers powering your audio experience.

In addition to controlling the pair of speakers, the mobile application lets you manage the name of the speakers, view battery level, set the alert language, change equalizer settings (loud, vocals, or intimate), toggle alerts sounds on or off, and view/manage the speaker firmware. You can also use the app to manage more than 150 speakers with PartyUp or let up to two of your friends be the DJ with Block Party settings.

Audio experience

At first I just setup the single myBoom 3 speakers and played audio from an iPhone XS, Galaxy Note 9, and Pixel 3 XL. It worked flawlessly and the volume was better than any other speaker I have tested before. In addition to loud volume, the music was crisp and clear with a good level of bass. I was very impressed by the audio quality and found it to be a bit better than the original UE Boom speakers I have had for a few years.

While I have Google Home devices sprinkled around the house and a Cavalier Maverick Alexa speaker, the myBoom 3 sounds better. It is handy to control the music selection with my voice, but the myBoom 3 is perfect for beach or patio parties.

I was then able to use the smartphone app to connect a UE Boom speaker to a myBoom 3 speaker to enjoy audio in stereo mode and in dual playback mode. Other phones were connected for DJ mode too in order to test out this functionality.

I was unable to test the speaker out in a pool, but understand it is waterproof and will also float for up to 30 minutes. The speaker has a greater diameter than the UE Boom, but is still able to easily be carried around for portable use.

The UE Boom 3 is available for $149.99 in seven colors while you can come up with thousands of combinations for the myBoom 3 at a price of $179.99. Thus, there is a $30 premium to customize this speaker. Be aware that you cannot return or exchange customized products like this, unless there is some defect that is part of the warranty coverage. Make sure you select what you like before placing your custom speaker order.



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Twitter rolls out the ability for creators to host Super Follows-only Spaces – TechCrunch

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Twitter has announced that it’s rolling out Super Follows-only Spaces. Creators who offer Super Follows subscriptions can now host Spaces exclusively for their subscribers. The social media giant says this new option will give creators a way to “offer an extra layer of conversation to their biggest supporters.”

Subscribers globally on iOS and Android will be able to join and request to speak in Super Follows-only Spaces, whereas subscribers on Twitter’s web platform can join and listen, but won’t have the option to request to speak. Creators can start a Super Follows-only Space by selecting the “Only Super Followers can join” button when starting a new Space. Users who aren’t Super Following a creator will still see the Space, but won’t be able to access it unless they subscribe.  

It’s worth noting that the new Super Follow-only option for Spaces isn’t the only way for creators to hold exclusive Spaces. For example, Twitter launched its Ticketed Spaces feature last year to allow creators to set a price for users to listen in on a Space. Creators can set their ticket price anywhere between $1 and $999 and can also limit how many tickets are sold.

Super Follows, which was first revealed in February 2021, allows users to subscribe to accounts they like for a monthly subscription fee in exchange for exclusive content. Super Follows is currently in testing with select creators in the United States on iOS. Eligible accounts can set the price for Super Follow subscriptions, with the option of charging $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month.

The launch of Super Follows-only Spaces adds another layer of exclusivity to Super Follows subscriptions. Twitter says it plans to launch more Super Follows features to allow creators to grow their audiences and get closer to their most engaged followers.

Twitter says its research shows that hosting consistent Spaces leads to more follower growth and also gives creators more ways to engage with their followers. The company found that consistently hosting Spaces, around two times per week, leads to a 17% follower growth over a quarter. In addition, the company says creators who host consistent Spaces for a month see a 6-7% growth in followers, and creators who do so for two months see a 10% growth in followers.

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TikTok launches its first creator crediting tool to help video creators cite their inspiration – TechCrunch

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After years of stolen memes and uncredited dance trends, TikTok today is introducing a new feature that it says will be the first iteration of its creator crediting tools that allow creators to directly tag and credit others using a new button during the publishing process. This button lets creators credit all sorts of inspiration for their content, including dances, jokes, viral sounds, and more — and will help TikTok viewers discover the original creators behind the latest trend by tapping on the credit from the video’s caption.

Larger creators lifting ideas from smaller ones is an issue that’s not limited to TikTok. But as one of the largest social apps on the market, particularly among a younger Gen Z to Millennial demographic, how it approaches the issue of creator recognition matters.

To that end, TikTok says it’s now rolling out a new feature that will allow users to add a credit as part of the publishing process on the app.

Image Credits: TikTok

To access the feature, users will tap on a new “video” icon on the posting page after creating or editing their own video. Once on the video page, users will be able to select a video they have liked, favorited, posted, or that had used the same sound.

After this video is selected, the video tag will be added as a mention in the caption.

Those whose videos were tagged by another creator will then be alerted to this via an alert in their TikTok app Inbox.

Image Credits: TikTok

The feature’s launch follows years of controversy over creator credits and attribution on TikTok.

In particular, TikTok had struggled with some of its top stars sourcing new choreography to perform in their dance videos from creators on other, smaller platforms — like the rival short-form video app Dubsmash, later acquired by Reddit. Many of these unknown creators had helped kick off TikTok’s biggest dance trends in years past, like the Renegade, Backpack Kid, or Shiggy. And many were creators of color, who saw their dances go viral after more famous TikTokers would perform their moves without tagging them as the inspiration. This issue came to a head when The New York Times in 2020 reported on the original creator of the Renegade, then a 14-year-old Atlanta teen, Jalaiah Harmon, who hadn’t received credit for her work after TikTok’s largest creator, Charli D’Amelio, performed her dance for her millions of fans, helping her to further grow her already outsized celebrity status.

The following year, a similar controversy made headlines after TikTok star Addison Rae went on “The Tonight Show” where she taught host Jimmy Fallon a number of popular TikTok dances. Meanwhile, the dances’ original creators, many of whom are Black, remained uncredited in the segment. Later, a number of Black creators went on strike as part of a viral campaign to call attention to the issue of creator credits by refusing to choreograph a dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s latest single.

D’Amelio and some other creators have since begun to handwrite dance credits in their video descriptions, often using the shorthand “dc” for dance credit followed by a tag pointing to the username of the creator. A famous Hollywood choreographer, JaQuel Knight, who made history as the first to copyright his work, has also begun helping other dancers on TikTok get credit for their work too, Vice reported in December.

But dances aren’t the only things being stolen on TikTok. Creators have fielded accusations of stealing everything from cheerleading routines to comedy bits to challenge ideas to music or sounds and much more.

 

A TikTok spokesperson acknowledged the problem with credits on the platform, noting that the culture of credit was “critical” for the community and for  TikTok’s future. “Equitable creator amplification is important for creators, especially the BIPOC creator community,” they added.

Image Credits: TikTok

In an announcement, Director of the Creator Community at TikTok, Kudzi Chikumbu introduced the feature and highlighted other efforts the company has made to help better highlight original creator work on its platform.

Chikumbu pointed to TikTok’s Originators series, launched last October, which showcases trend originators through the app’s Discover List feature. TikTok also recently debuted a TikTok Originators monthly social series highlighting Originators on the platform. In addition, the TikTok Creator Portal includes a “Crediting Creators” section that highlights the importance of attributing trend originators for their work. Here, the company lays out best practices for crediting originators and explains how to find the originators if you aren’t sure who had started a trend.

The use of the new crediting tag could help make it easier for creators to cite their inspiration. However, it still relies on user adoption to work. If a creator wants to lift ideas without credit, they could simply not use the feature.

“It’s important to see a culture of credit take shape across the digital landscape and to support underrepresented creators in being properly credited and celebrated for their work,” said Chikumbu. “We’re eager to see how these new creator crediting tools inspire more creativity and encourage trend attribution across the global TikTok community.”

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TikTok’s new ad product gives creators a chance to partner with marketers on branded content – TechCrunch

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TikTok announced today that it’s launching a new ad product called “Branded Mission” that will allow creators to connect with brands and possibly receive rewards for videos. With the new ad product, advertisers can crowdsource content from creators and turn top-performing videos into ads. Advertisers can launch branded campaigns and encourage creators to take part in them. Brands can develop a brief and release it to the creator community encouraging them to participate in Branded Missions.

Creators can then decide what Branded Missions they want to participate in. All creators who are at least 18 years old and have at least 1,000 followers are eligible to participate in a Branded Mission. TikTok says eligible creators whose videos are selected by brands will “benefit from a cash payment and boosted traffic.” On each Branded Mission page, creators will be able to view how much money they have the potential to earn if their video is selected.

Branded Mission is now in beta testing and available to brands in more than a dozen markets. TikTok says the new ad product will be available in additional markets later this year.

The company says this new form of two-way engagement between brands and creators allows the TikTok community to have a creative hand in the ads that are part of a brand campaign. TikTok notes that it’s always looking for creative ways to support creators and help brands reach users on its platforms with relevant content.

tiktok branded mission

Image Credits: TikTok

“Creators are at the center of creativity, culture and entertainment on TikTok,” the company said in a blog post. “With Branded Mission, we’re excited to bring even more creators into the branded content ecosystem and explore ways to reward emerging and established creators.”

TikTok and brands already leverage creators for ads on the platform, but the new Branded Mission ad product will give creators, especially newer ones, a new way to partner with brands and grow their audiences.

Today’s announcement comes as TikTok recently introduced a new way to lure advertisers to its platform by giving them the ability to showcase their brands’ content next to the best videos on TikTok. TikTok launched TikTok Pulse, which is a new contextual advertising solution that ensures brands’ ads are placed next to the top 4% of all videos on TikTok. Notably, the solution is also the first ad product that involves a revenue share with creators. Creators and publishers with at least 100,000 followers on TikTok will be eligible for the revenue share program during the initial stage of the TikTok Pulse program.

TikTok has also been looking for ways to help brands better reach users on its platform. Last month, the company launched a new Creative Agency Partnerships (CAP) University program that is designed to help creative agencies become “TikTok experts.” The five-week program teaches enrollees what they need to know about getting started on TikTok and how to use the platform to up their marketing game.

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