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Portable speakers

Dusty Chalk

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So yeah, it gets hot enough here after 6 that I really can't wear headphones, and I want something better. But it has to be something I can tote. So far, the best contenders are:

something from Logitech/UE from Dinny's recently posted report (PS Yay, Dinny! You're a really good writer.)

Tyll's favourite, the UCube

Nuforce Cube -- it's biggest plus is that I can get it now at Micro Center. But I'm wary paying US$120 for one speaker, and it's so tiny. Will it work if I get two, and do I want to spend that much?

Yamaha PDX-1 -- just 'cause it looks "industrial"

Are there any "traditional" 2.0 computer speakers (which are perfectly totable) that can compete with any of these? Say, something from Logitech's traditional line-up or someone else's computer speakers? I'm drawing the line on toting a subwoofer around, but don't think I'll have any trouble toting around any of even the largest 2.0 systems, right? That was a real question -- I can't imagine carrying around AudioEngines or Quads...although I can picture it and laugh...I miss my office.

These are ahead of the others because they work straight from USB:

Alesis M1Active 520 USB -- 56 Hz,

B&W MM-1 -- 38Hz,

Samson GT4 -- ...Hz, ...lbs, yes USB, black

TDK Sound Cube -- no idea, no idea, no idea, self-contained (does not require USB DAC)

Yamaha TSX-130BL -- 60Hz, USB

Yamaha MCR-140

Adam A3X -- 60 Hz,

AudioEngine 2 -- 65 Hz,

AudioEngine 5 -- 50 Hz,

Dynaudio BM5A -- 45 Hz

Dynaudio DBM50 -- 46 Hz, 16 lbs/7.2 kg

Dynaudio MC 15 -- 55 Hz, 7.0 kg

Emotiva Airmotiv 4

Equator D5

Focal CMS 40 --

Focal Sib XL -- goes down to 67 Hz, but is enormous

Focal XS Book -- goes down to 50 Hz, has a carrying bag

Fostex PM 0.4 -- 60Hz, not sure about weight, purple

Genelec something

JBL something

KRK something

TDK BoomBox

UFi UCube

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Are you counting out the Audioengine A2 or just the A5? I suppose they might be a bit big (and I haven't heard them).
I was counting out both, largely on weight. I'm just worried that anything that has any kind of amplifier and/or any kind of serious speaker enclosure is going to weigh too much to carry around.

Totable means I carry them to work and back every day.

So I was really hoping to hear, "Peter, that little NuForce Cube/UCube/Logitech Mini Boombox really is worth every penny, and here's a link to an inflatable subwoofer that won't give you home theater bass, but it will give you that one more octave."

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No, that's alright, I just bought two of NuForce's Cubes (needed immediate satisfaction, and decided I like the form factor, plus the fact that it comes with its own carry case). And to answer my own question, yes, you can use them as separate channels, but the default action is to play both channels. You just have to go into sound settings -> pan and turn down one channel in each. Kind of a pain, but I'm alright with it, as it allows me to go 6db louder. And the fan on that server is really loud. Now I just need a stand to tilt it up a smidge.

EDIT #2: Can't seem to figure out how to listen out of both at the same time.

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I think that you can only use one USB DAC at a time (if you have a Mac), so that means one cube if you use the built-in DAC. If you have two cubes and a special cable that plugs into the headphone jack and then into each cube separately you could use them as stereo cubes. And you can still power them from USB if you don't want to run down the internal batteries.

I have one Nuforce cube and think it's one of the best "tiny" speaker I've tried (at least that's this small). It gave new life to our mid-2009 Macbook with crappy built-in speakers, and it's been okay for listening to music in the hotel room when traveling. But in no way is the single speaker audiophile quality. The headphone amp in it is not bad, at least beating the Nuforce Icon Mobile. I took the cube with me to North Carolina two weeks ago for a week long trip and it got the job done. Overall it wasn't working for me for watching movies and having the sound coming from the side of the screen, so I tried a variety of clips to mount it at the top center of the screen. I didn't like the look with the jury-rigged setup.

Does it have to be USB audio? I ended up buying a bluetooth Zooka from Amazon just recently, and should be able to try the Zooka tomorrow. I'm hoping it will beat the Insignia USB, Logitech USB, and GOgroove SonaWAVE USB sound-bars that mount to the top of a LCD screen. With bluetooth I can use it with Macbook, iPhone, iPad and such, without being tied to USB.

If you don't need to have a stereo speaker on each side of a computer monitor, you could consider a Jabra Big Jambox if you can get it on sale. I got one at the ATT store earlier this summer, on sale for $160, so we could play music from an phone or iPad in the kitchen. The sound is much better than the smaller Jambox, but it's not worth the $300 retail price. I know it's not optimal to place it behind the laptop screen where the sound is blocked, but for music it sounds pretty nice and isn't too hard to tote around.

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I think that you can only use one USB DAC at a time (if you have a Mac)...
Yup, Windows, too. I was trying to revive my linux setup to see if that was the case there, too. There appear to be ways around it, but I haven't tried any of them yet.
Does it have to be USB audio?
Now there's a thought (one way to get stereo out of both of them).

That said, they do sound nice. I heard the Jabra Jambox in the store, and that wasn't bad neither.

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The office itself is pretty safe...other than everyone else on the team has access to it. So even asking would require me to admit I don't trust everyone. But yeah, I'm tempted to ask after a locker or something, under the pretense of the monitor, as it would be perfectly normal for a geeky individual like me not to want anyone else using their monitor. They already had an argument right in front of me about one of them having a new enough laptop that Fred (making up the name just in case anyone sees this) hadn't gotten his fingerprints all over it yet, at which point Fred made a point to point at something on the screen.

I do get my own office once I move back to Merrifield, but that's a few weeks/months away. And very very many late nights, working.

I think the Cube will have to do for now. Cubes if I get them both working at the same time.

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