For small, portable Bluetooth speakers like this Damson Vulcan, it isn’t easy overcoming the laws of physics. Trying to create large-scale audio from a small box is a tricky undertaking.
Damson hopes to create a big, bold sound and spread it further and wider than its competitors by having more drive units and being smarter with their positioning. Besides a subwoofer, there are four drivers inside the Vulcan: two fire towards you, while the other two launch sound out of the sides.
And, to its credit, the Vulcan disperses sound reasonably well – there isn’t the localised feel apparent through some similarly sized speakers. The Vulcan can be pushed relatively hard for a speaker of its type, and there’s decent weight and body to the sound at high and low volumes.
Play The Strokes’ Under Cover Of Darkness and you can follow the trail of the bass guitar without issue. Highs sound a tad brash and lack some finesse, but they don’t annoy or sound offensive.
The Damson seems to do something strange to vocals. Compared with the rest of the way music is delivered, voices sound compressed and recessed, as if they’re coming from a separate speaker altogether. On Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, there’s good weight as piano keys are struck, but there’s a lack of freedom and expression in his voice.
The Vulcan’s an interesting shape: think along the lines of a small rugby ball, with the ends sliced off. The black grilles are magnetic and can be interchanged with red or white options (£20 each).
The buttons on top feel a bit cheap, while a light inside the Damson logo shows if you’re paired to a device, and indicates when the built-in battery has reached full capacity (battery life is an impressive 12 hours). There’s NFC pairing, a 3.5mm input, plus a built-in mic for hands-free calling. A carry-bag is also included for extra protection.
For the money, the Damson Vulcan isn’t a disappointment, but on the other hand it doesn’t really set our world on fire.
The way it handles vocals is particularly strange, and you’ll find better all-round options elsewhere.