I’m working remotely this week which means that I can finally ditch those uncomfortable earbuds and listen to news radio without wires. Thank goodness!
But despite having owned an iPod ever since the first generation, I’ve never invested in a set of iPod speakers. Instead I’ve hauled along an ungainly set of old Sony speakers that chew through batteries, get tangled wires, and just generally create a mess.
So I decided that for this trip, I’d try one of the various iPod solutions. There are a bunch out there, ranging from the super-cheap, like the Macally Podwave to the ridiculously expensive, like the Apple Hi-Fi. But really I wanted something in the middle. I wanted a single-piece design, since I don’t want extra wires.
I wanted support for all the iPods, since I’d like to use this with several different devices. And, I’ll admit it, I wanted it to look nice.
So I stopped by Costco on the way to my super-secret remote working location, and picked up the cleverly named Logitech mm50 speakers. Costco charged me $97 for them, which seems to be less than Amazon is asking.
The speakers were a breeze to setup. I didn’t bother reading the instructions until I started writing this because, well, there was no need. They did what I expected without any hassle.
The speakers look pretty clean. The top has four buttons; power, 3D Sound, and Volume-Up and -Down. The front has a mesh grill covering four speaker thingys. I don’t know a lot about speakers (is it that obvious?), so I don’t know what these four thingys are for, but by covering up individual thingys and listening to how the sound changes two of them appear to output higher frequencies, and two of them output lower frequencies.
According to Logitech’s marketing-babble, these are Max-X high-excursion drivers with neodymium magnets and 3″ pressure drivers. OK, whatever.
The back of the unit has a connector for an iPod accessory cable (to allow syncing the iPod when it’s plugged into the speakers), an aux-input, and the plug for AC power. Support for the auxiliary input is a nice touch. I didn’t have occasion to use it, but it seems straightforward enough..
All I really was looking for was some speakers, but it turns out that the Logitech mm50 has several other nice features as well:
- The unit comes with a remote control, with a button for play/pause, power, skip forward, skip back, volume up, volume down, and 3D sound. The remote works fine if there’s nothing in the way and you’re reasonably close to the speakers. I had no problem using the remote from up to ten feet away.
- Another unexpected feature was a built-in battery. I really didn’t have this on my desired feature list, but it seems handy to have it. According to the literature the battery will last about ten hours. If you were traveling with these speakers that would be enough for a couple evenings of music.
- Also included is a carrying case. I guess this is handy, though it would be more useful if the case included a pocket for the iPod.
- Several inserts are included so that all iPods will fit snugly.
- The speakers have a mode called “3D Stereo” which does some futzing with the sound field to enhance the audio.
First a disclaimer; I’m not an audiophile. I like listening to music, not to speakers. I’m sure I’d fail any double-blind speaker test.
All that said, I was really impressed with these speakers. They don’t sound as good as my home stereo, but I really didn’t expect them to. They did a pretty decent job of filling the room I’m using (approximately 10′ X 15′) with sound at a good listening volume.
At much higher volumes, there was very noticeable distortion. But these speakers obviously aren’t targeted toward the market that wants really loud music.
There’s a kinda cool feature — while the speakers seem to use the line-out from the iPod and their own amplifier, when you use the volume buttons the speakers adjust the iPod’s headphone volume as well.
That’s nice because you get a visual indicator of the volume, which would otherwise be missing. You can turn this feature off if you want.
The light on the power button tells you about how the speakers are powered. If it stays solid blue, that means the unit is plugged in and the battery is fully charged.
If it blinks blue, the unit is plugged in and the battery is charging. If it is solid purple, the battery power is on. If it is solid red, the battery power is on, but the battery is low.
Anyway, I’m really impressed with these speakers. The sound is better than I expected, and the price point seems fairly reasonable. The features like battery power and the remote are just a bonus. I’d highly recommend them.
You can buy these speakers from Amazon.com,