Soul Party in Box pictures and hands-on

Everybody who's anybody in the hip hop scene these days has a company churning out headphones with their name on them. Actor/rapper Christopher Brian Bridges, aka Ludacris, (see what he did there?) is no exception and has been the man behind Soul Electronics and its fittingly chunky cans since records began (see what we did there?).

All has been going fairly smoothly, it seems, because, at CES 2012, Soul branched out away from personal audio into audio that is very public indeed. The Soul Party in a Box is a big, old speaker system with a handle on top that rather stretches the definition of the word "portable". It looks like a cross between an amplifier and the TDK Boombox that arrived in 2011.

Within the body are stowed eight speakers facing every direction you need - two 6.5-inch subs, a couple of 3-inch midrangers and four 1-inch tweeters. The effect is that it's really, really loud. The company claims there's enough to fill any room. We claim that that's understating the output of this thing by a long shot. Turned up not even to full volume, this thing drowned out the entire show at CES and nearly shook our boots from feet right where we stood.

There's a dock connector on the front for pod or pad as well as AirPlay connectivity or Bluetooth if you're not using an Apple device. You can also use the USB or 3.5mm line in for a hard connection and there's an FM radio too. What's really rather nice though is that the 5.8GHz radio inside is a two-way affair and means that you can link and synch several Parties in a Box together.

To top it all off there's some colour changing lights around the side and a microphone option to bug people with as you show off any rapping skills you think you might own. Don't quit the day job.

As far as power goes, you've got the choice of batteries, mains and even using a 12V car adapter too. It's set to arrive on the shelves in June 2012 and will set you back around $1,000.