What are the best ipod/regular speakers to use while studying abroad for a year?
August 28, 2008 10:32 AM   Subscribe

What are the best ipod/regular speakers to use while studying abroad for a year? I will be studying abroad for a year and living in college-dorm type room (meaning cramped). I will have my iPod and my MacBook Pro with me. Right now I have the Harmon/Kardon Soundsticks II and love them, but they're too big to bring. What are the best speakers that I can get for uner $150? Thanks!
posted by daf81289 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They don't make the model I have anymore, but something like these Yamahas should give you good sound in a compact package. If even those are too large, consider headphones, or buy some cheap (used) speakers once you're abroad.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:51 AM on August 28, 2008

It's going to be rather tricky finding what you want. It sounds likt you're looking for fairly nice speakers. The problem is that most nicer speakers come with a subwoofer, which is out of the question if you're traveling with them. I would look at something like these:

Bose 2.0 Companion Series II $90

Klipsch Promedia 2.0 Ultra $100
I think these are discontinued but very well reviewed.

Creative Gigaworks T20 2.0 $70 AR

Depending on your home country and where you're going, it may be more worth it to buy it there than before you leave. Consider weight penalties for flights and exchange rates, and the fact that electronics are more expensive most places besides the US (and Japan/Hong Kong)
posted by JauntyFedora at 11:21 AM on August 28, 2008

When I studied abroad, I was very happy with the Logitech iPod Dock/speakers. They were easy to fold up and travel with, replaced the dock and charger for my iPod, can easily be moved on short notice into the livingroom/kitchen/neighbor's room for a party and advertise a 10 hour battery life.

The added remote sounds like overkill, but it interfaced perfectly with both my iPod and my gf's and I have really appreciated it. When folded up into the included travel case it is only about the size of 2 or 3 paperbacks side by side.

You can connect the speakers to your computer through the AUX jack on the back and I believe mine came with the appropriate cable (several years ago).

Oh yeah, and the sound quality is not bad either.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:27 AM on August 28, 2008

Are they too big to pack, or to big to have where you're going? I'll assume the former.

If those soundsticks are too big, almost anything you'll be happy with will be too big. I agree you're probably better off buying there. Or pack your existing speakers for mailing and send them to yourself (or have a friend do it).

I've used the Klipsch Promedia's that JF mentions, and they are nice, but in terms of bulk will be almost equal to your soundsticks + subwoofer.
posted by adamrice at 11:29 AM on August 28, 2008

Make sure your speakers are dual voltage otherwise you might burn out some expensive speakers. You could always buy the speakers in the new country and sell them at the end of your time there.
If you want something ultraportable (and light), the Muji cardboard folding speakers are great, but they won't satisfy you if you're really an audiophile.
posted by cushie at 12:55 PM on August 28, 2008

Will your room have a TV? When I travel I carry an iPod dock and a 6 foot 1/8 stereo (male) to (female) phono cable. Plug it into the TV and use its speakers.

nthing "buy something there" if you really want decent sound.
posted by Ookseer at 1:05 PM on August 28, 2008

Buy something on the used market when you get there, then you will have no size restriction. Odds are it will be easily cheap enough to just leave on the street when you move out.

Also, in general, you'll get much better sound from a receiver paired with bookshelf speakers! I haven't listened to Soundsticks II in particular, but in general that kind of system is an abomination -- yes, even the expensive ones made by reputable companies like Harmon. The state of the art in speaker design is still big ugly boxes.
posted by Chuckles at 5:09 PM on August 28, 2008

I love the idea of folding cardboard boxes for speakers, but.. If air leaks around the seems -- and it must?!?! -- the boxes aren't really doing anything.
posted by Chuckles at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2008

When I was living abroad in Switzerland two years ago, I picked up a pair of Logitech Z-4 speakers, for less than $80 locally. The sound was great for the price (and I'm pretty picky about audio). However, they're not that much smaller than your soundsticks, if you're concerned about portability. If you're concerned about space, the sub unit goes under a desk, and the satellites are wall-mountable.

For high current devices (any decently powered speakers), you'll probably want to buy locally because of voltage differences. A voltage adapter might work, but you have to check the wattage rating of the adapter.

Maybe a good pair of headphones would be an alternative? Grado SR-80 perhaps?
posted by kenliu at 5:56 PM on August 28, 2008

I'll 2nd the Bose 2.0 Companion as having a good, big sound for the cost.
posted by john m at 6:37 PM on August 28, 2008

bose makes a really nice set of headphones for about that price and your roommates would be happier too.
posted by docmccoy at 11:27 PM on August 28, 2008

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