Like the just-released Hanwell from Marshall, the BlackBox speaker system from BassNation Audio has the look of a guitar amp but delivers its quality audio amplification payload for a fraction of the price. Any device sporting either a 3.5-mm jack or RCA phono outputs can be used as an audio source (TVs, games consoles, smartphones and music players, for example), and multiple units can be stacked on top of each other for increased volume ... and some extra points in the cool department.

BassNation's engineering and design team embarked on a new mission in 2011 to build a wood-enclosed, acoustically-superior speaker system at a wallet-friendly price. After 14 months of tweaking, testing and configuring, the new BlackBox speaker system is finally ready for release.

Within its 8.75 x 20 x 9.25-inch (223 x 508 x 235-mm) bass-ported, black-vinyl-covered MDF housing sit two 6.5-inch mid woofers (each with a 1-inch voice coil and Y25 ferrite magnet), a pair of 1-inch tweeters (0.5-inch voice coil and N40 neodymium magnet) and a built-in 25W TI-TAS5713 digital amplifier with EQ and dual-band DRC. To the front of the speaker system is a brass/gold colored steel plate with a 3.5-mm jack input and a push in/out power knob that's also used for volume. The RCA inputs can be found at the back.

BassNation has treated the BlackBox to protective metal corners, steel speaker grills and clamps, and a sturdy carry handle on top for portability. Although powered by an included AC adapter, the unit's power supply can also support 12-volt power, so it can be taken along for the ride courtesy of the supplied cigarette lighter car adapter.

The company says that the 17W per channel output (RMS) system has a frequency response of 87 Hz - 20 kHz (± 3 dB), a signal-to-noise ratio of 92 dB (A-weighted), impedance of 6.4 Ohms (8 Ohms nominal) and continuous sound pressure level (SPL) of 96 dB (2.83V, 1 kHz, at 1 meter) or 104dB (750mV input into 3.5 mm jack) peak. It's also claimed that the distortion at full tilt is virtually zero.

A single BlackBox carries a suggested retail of US$295, but BassNation Audio's website is currently showing the unit as available for a special price of $265. Production is currently limited to 7,000 units per year, as all systems are hand-crafted in the U.S.

The following video features the company's Aderito Beltran walking through the features and design of the BlackBox speaker system.

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