An alarm clock is a tool most of us use every day. It’s vital for getting up on time and avoiding getting fired for sleeping in. Many of us use our smartphones for this task, though others have old iPod dock alarms we haven’t gotten rid of. But a phone is often a poor alarm clock due to the lack of physical snooze and disable buttons, as well as its ability to fall off the nightstand. The Soundfreaq Sound Rise aims to solve both the problems that come with a dumb alarm, as well as meet all of your audio needs, no matter the operating system your smartphone runs.
Price: $69.99 ($79.99 for the wood model)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: USB (5V/1A), 3.5mm
Features: Dual alarm, adjustable screen brightness, three EQ settings, dedicated sleep timer button
Dimensions: 5.2×5.6×3.3 inches (WxHxD)
What’s in the box: Sound Rise, power cord, antenna
Where to buy:
The Sound Rise is a very simple but elegant device. Over the years, Soundfreaq has been refining its elegant square designs, and the Sound Rise is proof of this. It’s simple and goes with almost any décor.
The front is separated into three sections. The bottom two sections are just speaker grill cloth, and the top is a display. The display is simple, with a black background and white icons and numbers. There’s nothing but shiny plastic surrounding it, a departure from the previous model’s touch buttons. While those touch buttons were cool, and only those that were usable would light up, this looks far better.
The back has the Soundfreaq text and the classic ridged design used on many of the company’s products. At the very bottom in a recessed area are a USB port for charging your devices, a power port, a 3.5mm jack, an antenna port, a dimmer button and a tone button. The recess and angled power cable allow for this alarm clock to be pushed up to a wall.
The top contains all of the button controls. The round buttons are media controls. There is a music button to select input, a pair button (something I always appreciate), previous track, play, forward track and volume down and up. You can control your music from the Sound Rise instead of having to keep your device around. Under that are some more flush buttons. Two alarm buttons for turning on and off each alarm, a long snooze button, a set button and a sleep timer button. This is used to set a timer to turn music off after a specified amount of time.
This device is very solidly built, though that isn’t as important considering you won’t be carrying it around. But if you’re a heavy sleeper, you might be slamming that snooze button with hatred burning as hot as a thousand suns. Luckily, the buttons at the top seem very resilient and well attached. They don’t wobble and offer a satisfying click.
Overall, there are no creaks or rattles coming from this device. The fabric over the speaker would probably be the weakest point, but it stands up well to poking and prodding. You won’t be disappointed with it.
The previous Sound Rise model I had played with had some amazing audio quality, but the actual device was really large for an alarm clock. Soundfreaq worked hard to reduce the footprint of the alarm clock, as well as the price, to make it more accessible and more useful for its intended purpose. This resulted in a much smaller alarm clock, which is fantastic in my opinion. However, the reduction in size and price means the audio quality isn’t quite as amazing as the last model.
However, the audio quality is still great. There is a single 3.5W speaker inside that housing. The idea is that stereo is fairly useless when the two speakers are right next to each other in such a small package, so a larger mono speaker would provide better audio for the size. And I have to admit, it sounds really nice.
The volume is adjustable from 0 to 30, and at 30, you’ll hear a bit of distortion when listening to complicated music like speed metal. Luckily it isn’t much at all. But with more simple music, like pop or electronic, it’ll sound clear. Drop the volume a few clicks, and it sounds fantastic with any music you choose. And even at 25, it’s loud enough to fill a small bedroom. It sounds better than many Bluetooth speakers of the same size that cost more. There’s also a Tone button on the back, which can change tone from normal to warm or bright. Warm is nice for some bass heavy music (and it doesn’t add distortion to the low end!) but I generally prefer to listen to music without any equalizer.
This alarm clock comes with a bunch of features that make it a lot better than most alarm clocks. First of all is the dual alarm feature. You can set two different alarms, and each alarm is highly customizable. You can set volume, tone (a choice of beeping, line in, FM radio and a Bluetooth device), and you can even make the alarm ring specifically on weekdays or weekends. I have a one alarm for weekdays and one for weekends.
The snooze button was designed to be easily pressed. The ridge at the top helps guide your hand to the snooze button. And while the alarm is ringing, all of the buttons act as the snooze button. It works extremely well, as the snooze button is very easy to find. It almost works too well, because I tend to snooze far too often.
The duration of the snooze can be adjusted by hitting the snooze button multiple times. The display will show how long the snooze will last, with a selection of 5, 10 and 20 minutes. This is useful for lazy people like me.
The design of the display may be one of the best things about the alarm clock. Most displays are backlit, which creates a lot of light pollution. Soundfreaq has designed the Sound Rise to produce as little light as possible. This involved creating a custom font for the display, with large numbers that are very thin. This results in an easy-to-read display that produces little light.
Lastly, there’s also a dimming feature. When the clock isn’t playing music, hitting the volume buttons changes the brightness. There is full brightness (which is very bright), two middle settings, a super dim setting, and a blackout setting. The super dim setting produces almost no light. As a person who can’t sleep with bright lights in the room, it impressed me that the display didn’t even light up the table it’s on while being clearly visible.
The blackout setting is quite well designed. It keeps the display fully off and pressing a button will light it up. But when your alarm rings, the display goes full brightness and stays that way until you lower it again. This is great design and very useful.
The Soundfreaq Sound Rise is an amazing alarm clock packed with features. Though the feature set is daunting at first (even I found it a little overwhelming), you quickly get used to the features and they become a big part of your morning routine. Best of all, these features are legitimately useful on a day to day basis. They have improved my morning routine and even gave me an easy way to check the time at night without lighting up the entire room with my phone display.
The Bluetooth speaker aspect is a great addition to the bedside for when you’re laying down with a tablet or a smartphone and trying to enjoy some media. It’s loud enough to fill up a bedroom and clear enough to enjoy the details of your media even at fairly high volumes. The audio quality isn’t perfectly clear at full volume, and full volume isn’t incredibly loud, but it definitely lives up to its price tag.
Overall, the Sound Rise is a great addition to the bedroom, and the price is reasonable for such a versatile device. It’s a great way to wake up and is a great replacement for using a phone as an alarm clock. It comes in black for $69.99 and wood for $79.99. If you want to pick one up, you can find it at the Soundfreaq site and it will be available at Target for those who want to buy it in person.