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ION Explorer XL vs Monster Rockin Roller 270X (2022): Comparing Party Speakers

While portable speakers are transportable, their size impacts volume and sound performance. If you really want to blast music outdoors, party speakers are a much better option. The ION Explorer XL and Monster Rockin Roller 270X are two such units. These large speakers can carry a sound further and at higher volumes. They’re also water-resistant by design, allowing them to be taken to the beach, poolside, or even on a boat. 

At first glance, both party speakers resemble each other in form and features. However, a closer inspection reveals one unit’s edge over the other. Which speaker is it? We pitted the ION Explorer XL and Monster Rockin Roller 270X below to find out.

ION Explorer XL vs Monster Rockin Roller 270X Comparison Chart

ModelION Explorer XLMonster Rockin Roller 270X
 
Price
Audio8” woofer, two 1” tweeters, and two 3” drivers50W driver, 15W driver, two 10W drivers
Speaker Sound ProfileCustomizable full-graphic EQ, omnidirectional soundEQ presets, 270-degree sound
Wattage220W200W
Battery Life120 hours100 hours
Built-In MicrophoneYesYes
Bass EnhancementYesYes
FM RadioYesYes
Pair To Other SpeakersYesYes
FX TechnologyYesNo
Mobile App ControlYes, ION Sound XPYes, Monster Zone Control
Mobile Device ChargingYes, USB portYes, Qi wireless charging
Telescoping HandleYesYes
Carry HandleNoYes
WheelsYesYes
DurabilityIPX5IPX4
Dimensions19.01″ x 15.31″ x 10.98″18.6″ x 15″ x 10.86″
Weight29 lbs28.66 lbs

Design

Both the ION Explorer XL and Monster Rockin Roller 270X are large, water-resistant speakers with intuitive control panels.

ION Explorer XL vs Monster Rockin Roller 270X Design
The ION Explorer XL (left) and the Monster Rockin Roller 270X (right)

When it comes to party speakers, size matters. The ION Explorer XL, for instance, is 19-inches in height and with a depth close to 11 inches. Monster’s Rockin Roller 270X comes close, measuring 18.6 inches tall and 10.86 inches deep. Given these dimensions, the ION and Monster speakers weigh 29 pounds and 28.66 pounds, respectively.

You get a rectangular form on the Explorer XL in contrast to the ION Pathfinder 280’s squarish build. Color-wise, you have blue accents on the rim and sides. Like its sibling speakers, it’s made mostly of plastic. Its controls are located near the top and are composed of rubberized back-lit buttons. The choice of material helps make the ION Explorer XL water-resistant, and an IPX5 rating supports it. 

Similarly, the Monster Rockin Roller 270X can handle the rain and pool splashes. It has a lower IPX4 rating, but that’s enough resistance to water splashes from any direction. The speaker is also from plastic, although the overall build quality feels robust. Its control panel, located near the top, has rubber buttons and knobs with clear identification marks. Monster’s speaker sports red accents but is less liberal in its use.

To make the speakers mobile, ION and Monster integrate telescopic handles and wheels into their speakers. This gives the units an almost suitcase-like aesthetic. Monster tries to make the Rockin Roller a more portable speaker in its class by adding a carry handle.

Sound Performance

ION’s party speaker delivers a cleaner sound at max volume than Monster’s.

ION Explorer XL vs Monster Rockin Roller 270X Sound Performance
A closer look at the speaker system of the ION Explorer XL (left); audio controls on the Monster Rockin Roller 270X (right)

Power is an important criterion when it comes to party speakers. Here, the ION Explorer XL doesn’t disappoint. It boasts a 220-watt five-speaker array, including an 8-inch woofer, two tweeters, and two 3-inch drivers. If you want a speaker that gets really loud, this is the one to get.

At max volume, the Explorer XL only uses a bit of compression to preserve audio quality. But despite being branded omnidirectional, the directivity is just average. The soundstage is still narrow, and the audio will sound different if you’re listening from the back of the speaker.

Monster’s Rockin Roller 270X can also fill a crowded room with sound. As its name suggests, it pumps out a 270-degree sound. However, it’s not as immersive as a 360 speaker since the bulk of the projection comes from the front.

Like the ION Explorer XL, the Rockin Roller 270X doesn’t stretch the sound to the back. It also uses more compression at max volume, so the audio quality isn’t as clean as the ION.

Despite having a woofer, low-bass doesn’t come naturally to the Explorer XL. The same can be said with the Rockin Roller 270X. Fortunately, there are dedicated functions to bump up the bass. On Monster’s speaker, you can also tweak the treble. ION offers more customizations, thanks to a full-graphic EQ. With the Rockin Roller 270X, you’ll have to settle for presets.

Features

ION’s Explorer XL has a few more features that make it a more complete party speaker over the Monster Rockin Roller 270X.

ION Explorer XL vs Monster Rockin Roller 270X Features
Touch FX technology on the ION Explorer XL (left); a look at the features of the Monster Rockin Roller 270X (right)

The ION Explorer XL and Monster Rockin Roller 270X have a microphone and guitar input, perfect for karaokes, PSAs, or busking. They even include a microphone out of the box. For a more immersive sound, both units support wireless links to a compatible speaker, although, in Monster’s case, it doesn’t create a stereo pair.

You can also play your favorite stations courtesy of an FM radio source. If you want to play music from your smartphone, you can simply pair it to either speaker via Bluetooth. Here, the ION Explorer XL has the edge, thanks to a 100-feet range. On the Monster Rockin Roller 270X, the max Bluetooth connection range is 30 feet.

The ION Explorer XL also adds other features that make it a more complete party speaker. The unit comes with Touch FX technology, allowing you to create up to 40 unique sound effects and record them. Its Boom Button, designed to enhance bass, also activates the onboard lighting show. You control these lights using the ION Sound XP app.

Battery and Charging

The ION Explorer XL has a longer battery life while the Monster Rockin Roller 270X offers more charging options for gadgets.

ION Explorer XL vs Monster Rockin Roller 270X Battery and Charging
ION’s Explorer XL comes with a USB-A port (left); Monster’s Rockin Roller 270X has a built-in bottle opener (right)

The ION Explorer XL and Monster Rockin Roller 270X connect to an external power source with the included power cable. Both units take about seven hours to be fully charged. If they’re powered on, the charging time will take longer.

ION says its Explorer XL can last up to 120 hours of cordless use. Meanwhile, Monster advertises the Rockin Roller 270X has 100 hours of use. To save on power, Monster includes a standby mode in its speaker.

In reality, the battery life of these speakers is lower since usage varies among customers. However, they’re more than enough for long listening sessions. Based on reviews, you get around 65 hours of battery life from these audio heavyweights. 

Both speakers can also charge other devices. The ION Explorer XL has a USB-A charging port for your phones and tablets. On the other hand, the Monster Rockin Roller 270X features a built-in Qi wireless charger and USB-A charging port.

Verdict

The ION Explorer XL offers a better sound and some extra features that make it a more compelling purchase over the Monster Rockin Roller 270X.

If you’re in the market for a party speaker, the ION Explorer XL and the Monster Rockin Roller 270X are worth considering. Although they’re not bound to win over audiophiles, these speakers get loud enough to carry a sound in a crowded room. Plus, both units are water-resistant, making them suitable for outdoor use.

Performance-wise, the ION Explorer XL has the edge, using little compression at max volumes. It also comes with some extra features, including sound and lighting effects. If you’re choosing between it and the Monster Rockin Roller 270X, the Explorer XL is better. However, you can consider investing in a better-sounding unit, including picks from our best party speakers.

FAQs

📌 How long is the microphone cable of the ION Explorer XL?

The ION Explorer XL includes a microphone with an 8-ft. cable.

📌 What adjustments are available on the Monster Rockin Roller 270X’s guitar and mic inputs?

Monster’s Rockin Roller 270X comes with gain and echo control knobs for the guitar and mic inputs.

📌 Does the ION Explorer XL have an AUX input?

Yes, the ION Explorer XL comes with a 3.5mm AUX input.

📌 How many EQ presets does the Monster Rockin Roller 270x have?

The Monster Rockin Roller 270X has five presets. These include Flat, Jazz, Rock, Pop, and default preset.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.