Let me tell you about small speakers

91-c21-LbGL._SL1500_[1]  I love audio electronics and speakers are near the top of that list.  I spent all of the very first money I earned to buy audio equipment.  I had that equipment for over 20 years.  I buy pretty good stuff, never the top of the line but it always sounds good.  Of course you make mistakes buy some overhyped duds, take you lumps and move on.  We keep buying stuff, not because we are unhappy with what we have, but because we are intrigued about what could be out there.

This year my wife asked me for “some kind of portable speaker” for Christmas this year.  She wanted something we could listen to while we did projects around the house or to connect to her Kindle and listen to audio books.  It would be nice to be able to take something to listen to when we go to the beach or fishing.  Well, asking me to buy her a speaker was like asking a 15yr old girl to pick out a new iPhone case for her best friend – like OMG!

Because she didn’t know exactly what she wanted there were A LOT of possibilities and I was going to look at them all.  And I did.  I will spare you the nitty gritty details but I narrowed down my search until I settled on the Yamaha PDX-11 (in groovy green).  Of course it wasn’t a slam dunk.  Was it too big?  Was it too funky looking?  And most importantly, how did it sound?  Shopping for speakers is hard enough at a brick and mortar store but online you can’t even hear the biggest loudest speakers.  I went with my past experience with Yamaha and the numerous positive reviews on Amazon and made my purchase.  Turns out the answers to my questions were – no, no and very very good.  Linda liked the gift and I have been playing with it ever since, but that is not the whole story.

41zmJFQsLYL._SL500_AA300_[1]While investigating the plethora of mobile speaker options, I came across a category I was not very familiar with, the “capsule speaker”.  Now there have been little speakers since about 3 days after big speakers came out, although the definition of “little” has changed quite a bit over the years.  Over the last 15 years or so the quality of the sound these little speakers has varied widely.  The best sounding ones today sound reasonably better than the ones 15 years ago, but this class of speaker has always been expensive.  you actually paid a premium for them being small.  Where the real advances have been made is in the little cheap speakers.  Apparently these little guys have recently taken a significant step up.

There are bunches of them all colors and 4 or 5 styles, mostly no name and second tier brands.  I didn’t see any from people like Sony and Yamaha (perhaps they are out there but are in a different price bracket).  Regardless of brand, most people were very happy with the sound.  This was very surprising for $13-$18 speaker.  These micro-soundblasters are about the size of a small lemon, have a rechargeable battery that lasts 4-8 hours charged by connecting them to a USB port, they contain a built in cable that plugs into the headphone jack of your device and sound . . . . good!

Of course they can’t compare with the PDX-11 but compared to the sound on your $400 tablet they are a major upgrade.  I was quite impressed.  They compact down to store or travel, then expand to give better sound.  I think you have to get one of these things, they are just so cool.  It appears there are only a few companies in China making these, many look exactly the same right down to the packaging but I can attest from personal experience, they all don’t sound exactly the same.  This one was my favorite, I even wrote a review on Amazon.  I bought several different versions and gave them to my family as gifts.  Have tunes, will travel.

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