II think it's a bit unfair to list the lack of an iPod dock in the cons. These things aren't really even an iPod accessory. They're just speakers.

I like the design, though. Cool, but kind of creepy having little alien heads staring back at you. The sub looks like something from the Coneheads Movie. If they came in black or dark gray, I think they would appeal to a larger market. I'd like to see them put a glowing blue or green LED behind the mesh "eyes" just to add to the creepy futuristic, outer-space look.

Posted by matt928347 on April 27, 2005 at 12:49 AM (PDT) Comment 1

The look really nice. Maybe I will buy a pair in the future.

Posted by Hampe on April 27, 2005 at 7:01 AM (PDT) Comment 2

We review products from an iPod-centric (and comparative) perspective, so the lack of a dock gets listed. Other speakers we've reviewed in this price range tend to have docks. But you'll note that the dock (and remote) omission didn't affect the rating much.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on April 27, 2005 at 8:35 AM (PDT) Comment 3

The sepparate speakers are an advantage as much as a disadvantage. The SoundDock makes it hard to get good stereo sepparation; that won't be a problem with the Encounters.

Posted by mattwardfh on April 27, 2005 at 10:02 AM (PDT) Comment 4

What am I missing here? I already have 2 regular stereo systems at home - nice, properly installed, look good and sound good. I plug my iPod into either one (via the AUX inputs) and voila! Huge sound. Why would I want some odd looking PC speakers instead, unless I was still a college student in a cramped dorm and little dough?

The SoundDock makes more sense as an "iPod specific" implementation, with a dock, remote, etc. These JBLs are fine, I am sure - but they are just another set of general purpose small computer speakers.

At this rate, will iPodlounge start reviewing home stereo gear based upon how it sounds when an iPod is plugged into it?

Posted by BradPDX on April 27, 2005 at 10:26 AM (PDT) Comment 5

If you already have good speakers where you want to play your iPod, then of course you don't need a new set of speakers. The only thing you're missing is that other people may need a new set of speakers.

Posted by Nagromme on April 27, 2005 at 2:04 PM (PDT) Comment 6

Brad: Nagromme had the "right" initial answer, but the follow-up point is that if you buy the SoundDock instead of these, you're going to spend twice as much (at prevailing prices), get lower overall sound quality (and no bass/treble control), and won't be able to plug anything other than a(n ahem) currently designed Dock Connector iPod into it. Those points - made in the review - are the reason for reviewing speaker systems other than the SoundDock. What would a site be with only one reviewed product for everyone? grin

As pertains you personally, if you already have two pairs of general-purpose speakers, that's two more than many of our readers have. Enjoy them; you probably have no need for more.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on April 27, 2005 at 4:51 PM (PDT) Comment 7

Jeremy: I will admit that it wouldn't usually occur to me that an iPod might be one's sole or even primary source of music. For me, a "sound system" has FM, CD, turntable and other sources available all the time (yes, I still have about 500 LPs left in my collection, down from 1000 or so years ago...);-)

I see your point for those who are focusing on an iPod-centric sound solution in a small space for little money. Then these speakers (and other good quality self-amplified units) make more sense. Otherwise, I don't mind spending a few thousand dollars to listen to my collection through nicer gear; that's cheap, given how much music has meant to me for over many years. My iPod serves as a wonderful extension of that dedication, as long as the headphones are up to par.

Room for everyone. Keep up the good work!

Posted by BradPDX on April 28, 2005 at 10:49 AM (PDT) Comment 8

I often listen to my iPod through an old set of AR powered multimedia speakers with subwoofer that work just fine, even if they're black. Nice and clean, and with enough power to fill my den.

That said, if those speakers die or Iwanted speakers for my office at work, the Encounter or Creature speakers would probably make good replacements.

Posted by FloydC on May 1, 2005 at 9:56 AM (PDT) Comment 9

As a follow-up to some of the previous comments-

From an ipod-centric point of view, do these speakers (or other sets for that matter) offer the same bang-for-the-buck that a stereo-shelf syste (from the same price-range) would offer? That is, a stereo shelf system usually has detachable speakers and subwoofer - but also has FM reception, CD playback, etc. as well...

Posted by Hot Karl on May 4, 2005 at 9:37 PM (PDT) Comment 10

Hi Jeremy,
I'm curious as to how these compare to another Harman product that you've reviewed that's slightly less expensive (but perhaps superior in sound quality?), that being the H-K Soundsticks. As long as you're discussing non-portable spkr systems, I'd be very interested in knowing which ones you feel offer not just the best value, but overall the best sonics. thank you.

Posted by davederek on May 28, 2005 at 10:02 PM (PDT) Comment 11

Was just checking these out at JBL's site and noticed the MSRP was listed at $149.95. Not sure if it's a mistake, or a price reduction, but if the latter it certainly makes these an even more attractive option.

Posted by Fangorn on June 8, 2005 at 2:33 PM (PDT) Comment 12

I don't need speakers in the house, but something for playing music in the backyard. I'm debating between the quick and easy to set-up and bring back inside JBL OnStage vs the fuller sound (but somewhat of a pain to haul out to the yard & connect) of the Encounters.

I appreciate reading reviews like this one. If this site only focused on iPod-docking speakers then we wouldn't be able to compare alternatives in similar price ranges.

And yes, JBL did drop the price (as mentioned recently on this site).

Posted by GGinSF on July 28, 2005 at 7:25 AM (PDT) Comment 13

I live in a relatively small apartment and I just threw out my 15 year old stereo set with room filling (literally) speakers and 10 kilo amplifier and replaced them with this stunning and small 2.1 set.

So far I have no regrets... The system is perfectly capable of filling (figuratively) the room again.

Posted by RMNL on January 8, 2006 at 6:25 AM (PDT) Comment 14
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