Known primarily as a leader in Bluetooth headsets, Jawbone has made its first foray into the world of portable speaker systems and really seem to have a winner. Now I know that these articles are meant to be lighting-related, but the fact of the matter is that many of the tools that we need to accomplish a lighting project often aren't made by lighting manufacturers, and this is a perfect example.

In most production instances, I find myself sitting late at night with a programmer working on lighting looks while playing back the production’s music. A common issue is almost always associated with that scenario; we always need a decent portable speaker for playback, and it’s very difficult to find one that is both truly portable while still being able to produce exceptional sound quality. Enter the Jawbone Jambox.

At less than 6"x2.25"x1.58" and a spritely 12 ounces, the perfectly rectangular Jambox tucks neatly into your laptop bag without hogging up the majority of the space by being large or awkwardly shaped. Its rubberized exterior takes light impact very well too which makes it ideal for production personnel on-the-go.

That covers how easily you can get a Jambox onsite, but it’s the sound quality that truly makes this device shine. With a pair of stereo acoustic drivers and a passive bass radiator, you end up with up to 85dB of output with a frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz. What does that actually mean to the rest of us? Simply put, you get loud, clear sound with some truly decent bass thumping out of a tiny package. No more audio slavery to tinny high-end range garbage that leaves your poor ears in pain and a set of blown speakers at the end of the programming session.

What makes the Jambox an exceptional tool is its versatility. It has the requisite 3.5mm stereo jack for hooking up your iPod, MP3 player, laptop computer, or (gasp) portable CD player, but the unit’s main connectivity holds true to its creator’s roots in being fully compliant with Bluetooth v2.1 and Enhanced Data Rate (EDR). This means that, by nature, the device would like to see you streaming audio to it wirelessly, and that wireless signal can come from your cell phone, tablet, or even laptop computer. What’s more is that the unit comes equipped with a built-in microphone containing Jawbone's special blend of Bluetooth headset call quality. That advantage turns your Jambox into the meanest portable conference call device available today, making it perfect for taking speaker phone calls from your cell phone or even video calls off your laptop programs such as Skype or iChat. The sound quality of the conversations is crystal clear as well, and the Jambox’s innately powerful speakers make it easy for everyone in the room to hear the conversation and chime in to be heard clearly on the other end.

Rounding out the features is a USB charging cable, power supply adapter, sleek carrying case with magnetic closures, an included 36" stereo cable, and a Lithium-ion battery that provides a true 10 hours of battery life. And if you’re using an iPhone for playback, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of having the Jambox’s battery life displayed on your iPhone itself.