An audible improvement

I already mentioned how this machine, coupled with a tetchy network card, a vastly oversized hard drive and a right proper console-only installation of Debian is somehow a remarkable piece of work.

Add to that a decent pair of speakers, and suddenly it’s a work of art.

I mentioned that I planned to invest a little bit in speakers for sound — the old, beat-up secondhand radio I was using for years for music playback went southward not long before I moved. So a replacement was in order.

These are Sony SRS-M50 speakers, which were overpriced at around 4200 yen like-new, but fit my requirements for playback — small footprint, AC adapter, volume control and power switch at a reasonable location, and a standard TRS headphone plug.

Sound is very good though, and I mention that in part as a nod to a 13-year-old laptop, which has rotten on-board speakers, but has clear and clean sound through the headphone jack.

The moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to invest in a solid pair of speakers for a machine that would otherwise be at the bottom of a garbage dump. Ten-dollar computer, US$40 speakers. ;)

Now the opposite of that would be a shame. :D

P.S.: Before the audiophiles in the audience go all sassy on me, yes, I know I commit heresy by placing the speakers that way. What you can’t see is the arrangement of the room, where the cabinet sits in relation to the corner and the … oh, never mind. I can’t win this one. … :|

P.P.S.: First album? Sketches of Spain, of course.

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8 Responses to “An audible improvement”


  1. 1 ScannerDarkly 2010/12/05 at 10:04 PM

    Sometimes I wonder if you’re as old as Miles.

  2. 2 Mike Lockmoore 2010/12/05 at 10:23 PM

    “Sketches of Spain”: That’s a good one. I also like “Kind of Blue” when I’m coding. Although most of my coding is to Joe Satriani.

    I’l a seven-month lurker who’s read through all the archives here. I love this blog! Though I must admit, I’m more of a lightweight GUI (e.g. TinyCore) guy than a console guy. ;-)

    Keep on keeping-on! (To use a phase about as old as Davis’s popularity.)

  3. 3 steve 2010/12/06 at 3:06 PM

    Interesting about the speaker jack performance vs onboard laptop speakers. I must try that sometime.

    Something I have noticed over the last 10 years or so is the steady decline in the quality of laptop speakers. So much so that at this point, I don’t think they could get much worse. This compaq M2207AP (ddr era) has far better sound than my partners NEC ll550T(? iirc) that is of the ddr3 era.

    • 4 K.Mandla 2010/12/06 at 10:19 PM

      I would agree really, although most of the laptops I see and work with just have poor quality speakers altogether.

      I did have a Dell XPS M170 a long time ago, and it had a subwoofer in the base that made things quite a bit more tolerable.

      On the other hand, some Compaq Presarios came armed with JBL speakers and had phenomenal sound.

      So I suppose it depends on the model after all. … :|

  4. 5 bpalone 2010/12/07 at 1:34 AM

    “On the other hand, some Compaq Presarios came armed with JBL speakers and had phenomenal sound. ”

    Yes, they did and do. A few still show up on ebay from time to time and some end up going for a reasonable price. I have two of them right now. The second one was bought for parts, but it still worked and was in decent shape, so I didn’t have the heart to take the knife to it.

    They are set up for portable entertainment systems for when I work on the road. My music sounds pretty decent from these old computers. Then I got thinking that they would serve well as emergency back up computers if main (newer) laptop laid down. So, they now have all my required software installed, so I could move and not miss a beat. Even have Galpon installed, so I can access the internet without exposing the Win 98se to the nasties out there.

  5. 6 HilltopYodeler 2010/12/07 at 5:51 AM

    “Ten-dollar computer, US$40 speakers.”

    So true. Your stereo is only as good as your speakers.


  1. 1 Bring out the rack! « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2011/01/23 at 10:09 PM
  2. 2 The Weird Sisters « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2011/05/06 at 8:06 PM

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