2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

£629/~$995
Speakers

NacSound Geminos Speaker System

Although North Americans usually enjoy early availability for Western-developed products, Europeans get exclusives on cool stuff, too. One example: NacSound’s Geminos Speaker System (£629/~$995), a pair of globe-shaped Italian-designed speakers that are only available from European Apple Stores for the time being; if you can get your hands on them, you’ll find them to be drool-worthy complements to your Mac. Read More

$100
Speakers

XtremeMac Tango Bar

Made to fit right underneath your iMac, Cinema Display, or Thunderbolt Display, XtremeMac’s just announced Tango Bar ($100), a good-looking way to pump some more sound into your home or office. While it can connect to any computer—or any other audio source, for that matter—the speaker is particularly well-suited for using that otherwise unoccupied space under Apple monitors, and is designed to match their aluminum bodies. Updated December 20, 2011: We’ve now had the opportunity to test the Tango Bar in person, and have added some new details below. Read More

$60
Speakers

JBL Jembe

If you’re looking for new desktop speakers that deliver big sound in a compact package, definitely consider JBL’s brand new Jembe ($60). This pair of bucket-shaped speakers are relatively small—they each measure only 4-3/16” x 4-3/16” x 5-5/16”—but are made to sound like larger speakers, a claim that we’re willing to trust coming from JBL. Jembe is the first of the company’s computer speakers to take on the Weave design that we’ve seen with products such as OnBeat, and the aesthetic definitely works in this more conservative implementation. Read More

Twelve South BassJump 2

Most our of iLounge’s editors are MacBook Air users, and we really love Apple’s smallest, lightest notebooks. But certain sacrifices have to be made for the small packages, and audio quality is one of them. We’ve shown off a software solution that raises the volume before, but here’s a new accessory that goes above and beyond what’s inside the computer: Twelve South’s new BassJump 2 ($70). This USB-powered woofer has been designed exclusively for the MacBook Pro and Air, making a world of difference. Read More

€1,480/~$2,054
Furniture
Speakers

La Boite Concept LD 130

Not content with just giving you a surface to put your laptop on, La Boite Concept has unveiled its LD 130 (€1,480/~$2,054). The “LD” stands for laptop dock, and the “130” denotes the wattage of the speaker—yes, this desk has a built-in speaker system, and a powerful one, too. The desk itself is made out of high quality wood and leather, contributing to the sort of premium look and feel one would expect for the price. Read More

$639
Speakers

Scandyna Minipod

There are a lot of reasons for people to like computer speakers—they might be super compact, offer excellent audio quality, or just fit your constrained budget. But sometimes, you’ll be drawn to a set just because it looks really cool, as is the case with Scandyna’s Minipod ($639). Available in four different shades, this unique speaker looks sort of like a snowman Buddha in white, with a handsome matte black as our favorite in the bunch. Read More

$399
September
Speakers

Focal XS Book Music System

French manufacturer Focal’s upcoming XS Book Music System ($400) is the follow-up to its impressive XS computer-ready speaker system from a few years ago. This time around, the company has ditched the subwoofer and iPod dock; what you have instead are two thesaurus-sized silver and black speakers that fit right in place alongside the current Mac lineup. They’re made from plastic and fabric, and match the iMac and Apple’s 27” LED Cinema Display / Thunderbolt Display designs really well. Updated August 11, 2011: We’ve added some additional impressions to our prior coverage below. Read More

$130
Speakers

Edifier Prisma E3350 2.1 Speakers

We don’t know what it is about speakers. Manufacturers occasionally go crazy with their designs, and many people—us included—eat them up. Take Edifier’s Prisma E3350 2.1 Speakers ($130). They may look like futuristic obelisks or pyramids, but we’d be happy to have them next to a Mac. Oh, and they have pretty good specs, too. Read More

$49
Speakers

Pioneer S-MM301 Portable Speakers

Looking for something to pump out the jams when you’re away from home? Pioneer has you covered with its new S-MM301 Portable Speakers ($49). These aren’t the weak little guys you may be used to hearing squeak through your MacBook Air or MacBook’s keyboard—they’re a good option for when the speakers on your laptop just aren’t enough. Read More

$200
Fall
Speakers

Audyssey Lower East Side Media Speakers

Designed and named after the New York City neighborhood known for its music culture, Audyssey’s new Lower East Side Media Speakers ($200) are pretty cool. Sure they have the same form factor as a lot of computer speakers—albeit with a more attractive design than many—but they also pack in some interesting features you may not have seen in the past. On top of promising great sound, the company is offering options to make them usable with more than just your computer. Read More

$40
Speakers

Altec Lansing Expressionist Classic FX2020

Altec’s Expressionist Classic FX2020 speakers didn’t blow us away at their original $80 asking price, but these days, they’re selling for $40—a sweet price for a sharp-looking entry level audio system. Made from 6.25” square pieces of translucent acrylic plastic with 3” drivers in the center, the Expressionist Classic system comes with its own power supply and audio cable, ready to plug right into your Mac’s audio-out port, and a nice match for current Cinema Displays and iMacs. Read More

$50
Speakers

Altec Lansing Orbit USB Speakers

Are your anemic laptop speakers not getting the job done when you’re out on the road? Let the Altec Lansing Orbit USB Speakers ($50) pump up the volume. Sporting a compact design, they should fit comfortably down into your laptop bag. Read More

$200
Speakers

Palo Alto Audio Design Cubik Speakers

Clearly catering to the NeXT logo enthusiasts among us, Palo Alto’s Cubik Speakers ($200) promise a whole bunch of sound in small, deliberately off-axis cube packages. One thing that’s unique about these speakers is how the audio signal is transmitted from your computer; instead of using the standard 3.5mm audio connection, Cubik is pure digital. All over the sound is pumped over from your Mac via USB, reducing the opportunity for analog audio conversion to introduce noise into the signal. Updated August 6, 2012 with hands-on impressions! Read More

$1000
Speakers

Harman Kardon GLA-55 Speakers

Despite their resemblance to the titular artifact from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Harman Kardon’s luxurious GLA-55 Speakers ($1,000) have a greater chance of standing the test of time. Roughly 10.6 inches tall, these computer speakers are made from the same acrylic used to create bulletproof glass, and bring your Mac one step closer to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Touch sensitive controls for volume and muting are built into the front of the speakers, which connect using a standard 3.5mm audio cable to your computer. Read More

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

Email:

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy