The jobsite entertainment sector is a crowded one with options from nearly every major manufacturer. Jobsite radios and speakers can generally fall into the category of full size and compact. The Festool SYSRock is a compact model. This end of the sector typically has great portability but trades off sound quality since there’s no room to fit multiple tweeters and subwoofers.
But the Festool SYSRock claims “Rockstar sound quality” that won’t distort at the highest volume. I’ll certainly take a look at that along with the pretty impressive feature set Festool offers on this radio.
Two Power Options
You can power the Festool SYSRock with either a Festool flat pack battery from 10.8 – 18 volts or an AC adapter Festool includes in the kit. Compatibility across multiple voltages isn’t terribly common at this stage of the game, though it’s not unique. Since Festool’s cordless line isn’t as deep or widespread as some of the other guys, this is a big advantage for users that are on the platform.
The controls are fairly simple to use. There are 4 radio preset buttons. Preset 1 doubles as a receive/end call button. Preset 2 is also a play/pause button and Preset 3 switches between Bluetooth pairings. Volume up or down is on the bottom left with the source button in the middle and track skip buttons on the bottom right.
Bluetooth and Auxiliary cord connections are just about standard on any jobsite radio/speaker today. Festool is up to date with Bluetooth 4.1. What isn’t standard is a radio and I’m grateful the Festool SYSRock includes one.
Switching between music sources is simple using the “Source” button on the front of the radio.
About that Radio
The radio feature is nice, but it’s a little unusual. We expect at least 6 station programming buttons, but you’ve only got 4. In retrospect, I really only listen to 3 stations most of the time, so it’s not a big deal to me personally. Other users that like a wider variety of music or live in areas with a lot of radio station choices may find that to be a slight handicap.
There’s also no AM function. It feels like AM is on its way out as a format with its limitation of sound quality and internet connectivity being just about everywhere. Still, sometimes AM is the only way I can get the early first pitch during baseball season. In a pinch, I can still stream it from my phone to the SYSRock at the cost of some of my monthly data.
On the positive side, the radio connects to the RDS (Radio Data System) to pull song data while it’s on. That’s a handy feature when you hear a song you’re not familiar with and want to add it to your Spotify playlist.
The range is pretty good. It’s hit or miss on a couple of stations I can usually pick up in my vehicle but picks up most stations just fine.
At just 6 inches tall, 4 inches wide, and less than 4 inches deep, it’s compact. In fact, it spends most of its time as a desktop speaker that I connect to my computer for the days I sit at my desk typing away at all these reviews, news, and opinions. But that same compact nature means I can grab it and go quickly whether I’m heading out to a jobsite or to the shop.
A few jobsite speakers include keyholes to hang on the jobsite. Festool goes a large step further by including a hanging hook. It twists around 360 degrees and is wide enough to hand from anything 1-1/2 inches or smaller. There’s also a tripod mount on the base.
So How Does it Sound?
Let’s start with the distortion issue. It’s one of the easiest things to check because all you have to do is turn up the volume all the way. Indeed, the 2-1/2-inch speaker goes all the way up without noticeable distortion on my part. However, the lows begin to suffer a little bit at the top.
Like any other music system that’s this compact, the lows get the short end of the stick. That’s more pronounced since there aren’t any bass/treble controls to try and balance it out. It’s not that the lows aren’t there – they are. They just don’t come out quite as big as they can on larger systems.
Having said that, though, the sound quality really is very good for this class. I enjoy a capella music often and if any voice in the range is missing, it’s noticeable. While I can’t balance it as heavily toward the low end as I’d like, each voice level is clearly present.
The volume will fill a room pretty well and you can get some decent range outside. Again, it’s solid for the class, but you’ll get more from a larger system.
The Bottom Line
The Festool SYSRock jobsite radio wraps a pretty nice set of features around one of the best sounding speakers in this compact class. You can get better sound from larger systems, but you’ll be hard-pressed to do much better for the size.
Durability is a slight issue on construction sites. The radio carries an IPX4 rating – so it’s good when it comes to water splashes. But keep in mind the typical Festool user is working under a roof on their part of the job (but they’re quickly expanding into other construction trades) and it’s not a major problem. There’s a nice overmold surrounding the speaker face and the stout antenna folds out of the way.
This is one of the few times you’ll see a Festool product made in China rather than Germany. You can grab the Festool SYSRock for $119 from your local or online Festool dealer.
Festool SYSRock Key Features
- 2.5″ 10 Watt 8 Ohm Neodymium speaker and Digital Sound Processor (DSP)
- FM reception coupled with Bluetooth (4.1) capability
- SYSROCK pairs with smartphones for hands free usage
- The Radio Data System (RDS) provides data from FM broadcasting stations that provide song information, artist, and time of day
- IPX3 Rating for splash protection making it ready for the jobsite
- The dual-source energy options allow the SYSROCK to use either the supplied power cord or use Festool flat pack batteries (10.8 – 18.0 volt)
- Tripod mounting capability with 1/4 In. to 20 In. threaded insert
- Swiveling hanging hook
- Service all-inclusive warranty
- Runs on FESTOOL 12.0 V to 18.0 V Li batteries (Flat pack batteries)
- Best sound performance with 18 V battery pack or AC power
- Compact size 3.93″ x 5.9″ x 4.13″
- 18 V (5.2 Ah Li battery) runtime – four to five days on a medium volume
- AUX in for use with non-Bluetooth devices
Festool SYSRock Specifications
- Model: Festool BR 10 USA
- Operation with Festool slide-in battery packs: 18 V
- Bluetooth standard: 4.1
- Number of stored stations: 4
- FM frequency band (VHF): 87.5 – 108 MHz
- Speaker: 10 watt
- AUX-IN: 3/16″ (3.5 mm)
- Weight: 1.543 lbs (0.7 kg)
- Length: 3-3/4″ (94 mm)
- Height: 6″ (149 mm)
- Width: 4″ (102 mm)
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: $119.00