• Coming soon to PH, we hope


    All the technological advances in the world would not mean much if they did not translate to the creation of better gadgets that consumers fall for.

    This year, more innovative products are expected to hit the market and, with a little luck, may find their way to our part of the world.

    Like a lot of people who can’t live without music, I am in constant search for the best speakers possible within my admittedly limited budget.

    The old names like Yamaha, JBL and Bose are still very much around, and along with the newer brands are still trying to create better sounds in progressively small packages.

    Speaking of JBL, the company is releasing this year its Authentics Series L16 Speaker, which not only looks great with its classic lines but is also wireless. The sound quality is said to be outstanding, as close to studio quality as possible.

    There are no hitches. You get what you pay for, and in this case the retail price is around $1,000 or P45,000, more or less.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Boomphones Pocket Speaker which is designed for the iPhone, iPod and other Bluetooth-enabled gadgets. This little device is about the size of a cellphone and features speakers on both sides.

    The Pocket Speaker will go for about one-tenth the price of abovementioned L16 Speaker, or $100. That’s a more affordable P4,500.

    Last Christmas, one of the gifts I got was an even smaller Bluetooth-enable speaker, roughly the size of a hopia cube. It was really tiny and light so I dismissed it as a mere toy until one of my kids borrowed it. He played some music from his cellphone, and we were all blown away by the sound quality.

    I don’t know the brand of the little gadget as the name of the gas company (celebrating its 100th year in the country) is the only thing visible.

    As far back as the ‘50s and ‘60s, miniaturization was already in vogue, with Japanese start-up brand Sony leading the way. Back then, the pocket-sized transistor radios produced awful, tinny sounds. By the ‘70s, however, Sony had become a global powerhouse of consumer goods. Then as now, their TV sets were excellent, but it was their Walkman that delivered great sounds in a small package. The one difference between that device and today’s micro speakers was that with the Walkman, the only way to listen was via earphones.

    Then came the iPod, and various companies started producing external speakers for those who wanted their music brash, loud and public. Today, docks for the iPod come in all shapes and sizes. And prices.

    Ultra-small speakers delivering big sounds including heart-thumping bass have been perfected only recently. How much smaller they can get is anybody’s guess.

    Since a lot of young and not-so-young people are now buying or renting condos with their limited spaces, going small makes a lot of sense. For the audiophiles on a budget, such brands as Onkyo deliver more than decent sound quality. One can upgrade to higher-end brands later. From experience, a good set of speakers will have a shelf life of about five years, depending on the brand and how they are used. And the care given to the speakers, of course.

    Know where to get the best prices? Believe it or not, CDR King has some hidden bargains, both branded and generic.

    Quote of the week:
    “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Stewart Brand


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