Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Ripple Tech - Tweaker Travel Speakers - The Best Little Noise on the Planet
Different column today, but I wanna share something pretty darn cool.
If you're like me and travel quite a bit and listen to a lot of music, you probably know that really small/compact portable speakers are a dicey affair. I've gone through at least 10 different makes/models over the last couple of years. They all promise big sound and lightweight, but in the end have all been pieces of crap. It's just nearly impossible to find something incredibly small that has worthwhile sound quality. If they sound decent, then they take up way too much space in my over-stuffed luggage or computer bag. And if they sound decent, they probably cost an arm, leg, kidney and unborn child.
I realize big sound will never come from a tiny speaker, but still, I keep hoping. Something to plug into my iPhone or laptop. Anything that is ridiculously small, lightweight, sounds good, and doesn't cost me a fortune.
I finally found it.
Now, it takes a lot to get me excited about a pair of travel speakers. But here they are. Grandmax Tweakers SPKR-RI-BK, 3.4 W Pull-n-Play Speakers are my newest baby.
First, the product design is killer and amazingly well thought out. The speakers are tiny, I mean tiny. Maybe 1 and 1/2 inches tall and wide, dome-shaped marvels. They stack together with a magnetic connection and squeeze into a little pouch that takes up no more than 4 x 2 inches of bag space. Item weight is said to be one pound, but it feels lighter to me. That's it! Yeah, I've seen smaller single speaker units, but not double speakers. Not for real stereo sound separation. Not a bad start, but the engineering gets better from there.
Each speaker twists open and pops up to reveal an acoustic chamber that creates the bass. Sure, it's not stoner metal-vibrate-the-walls-and-set-off-car-alarm bass, but its good enough, and surprisingly rich for these little guys.
I bought these on a whim before a big trip. I knew I need some real sound to write some reviews, listen to Ripple submissions, and check out some Master tapes for upcoming Ripple Music releases. The pair cost me $40 at the airport and you can find them cheaper at Amazon.
Sure, they won't replace your home stereo, and don't go expecting too much from a pair of speakers that can fit into the palm of your hand. But these are definitely the best speakers I've come across in my travels for the size, weight, and money. Count me a fan.
No batteries are needed (a huge plus for me). The speakers charge through my laptop, and --coolest of all-- they charge and connect through built-in, retractable charge/audio cables. Man, that's cool! Eliminates most of the packing needed to get stereo sound. There's one cable included to connect the speakers to each other, that's it, and I wouldn't even need to use it if I wasn't charging. They're that clever.
So the design is cool, but what's really important is the sound. Is it better than my built in computer speakers? Hell yes! Granted, my computer speakers are totally crappy, but the frequency-tuned amplifier in these little Tweakers delivers really clear sound, handles high volumes without distorting (too much), delivers enough bass for me to review stoner submissions on the road, and the stereo provides real separation and fullness. I'm listening to the Vincebus Eruptum "Acid Sounds Vol. 1" CD as I write this and it sounds badass.
So, if you hit the road as often as I do, laptop and iPhone in hand, and you want to hear music. And if space, weight, and volume in the suitcase are as important to you as they are to me. Check these babies out.
And let me know what you think.