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  • klaberte
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Recommend: wired stereo system for road warrior
In another thread, I ask about a solid fully wireless stereo set of amplified speakers with built in wireless music streaming for the road warrior to use in his hotel room.  All wireless is idea for easy set up and tear down (just turn them off and thrown in your suitcase).

But, if these are mostly going to be used in a hotel room, there really is no reason for wireless between the source and the speakers, nor wireless to connect a pair of stereo speakers.  I'd rather have that space, weight, and cost used for better amp and drivers than a big battery.

So in this thread, I'd like to hear good portable options for the a road-warrior's hotel setup for what is essentially known as "computer speakers", i.e. they have a 3.5 mm male input audio plug, an AC power cable that plugs into the wall, and a pair of wired, amplified speakers.  I would likely drive them directly from my phone, or some additional streaming device, e.g. Chromecast Audio or aptx bluetooth receiver (no need to focus on that, focus instead on the amplified speaker options).

Ideally I'd like to stay under $200 for the setup, and under 5 pounds, as they will likely need to fit with my other stuff in my carry on suitcase.

What are the best options suggested? 

Re: Recommend: wired stereo system for road warrior
Reply #1
In another thread, I ask about a solid fully wireless stereo set of amplified speakers with built in wireless music streaming for the road warrior to use in his hotel room.  All wireless is idea for easy set up and tear down (just turn them off and thrown in your suitcase).

But, if these are mostly going to be used in a hotel room, there really is no reason for wireless between the source and the speakers, nor wireless to connect a pair of stereo speakers.  I'd rather have that space, weight, and cost used for better amp and drivers than a big battery.

In another thread, there was a discussion of inexpensive audio amplifiers (under $20) that you must have missed. Just for grins I obtained several. The one that seemed to have the most going for it had both Bluetooth and 3.5 mm stereo jack inputs, so I hooked it up and tried it. The things are sold without power supplies but mine actually is plug and play with the cord brick from an old long-discarded laptop.  You can buy these on eBay for under $10.  So there is your solution - $15 for the amp, and another $8 or so for the power supply.  If the measurements for the chips that this thing is based on and my casual listening evaluations are representative, it lacks audible problems other than a modest turn-on, turn-off transient. 

Now here is a repeat of the punch line. It has both 3.5 mm standard miniature stereo phone jack and Bluetooth inputs. Wiring is optional but supported.  If you pick the wireless option, you can set up the speakers and amp where they are convenient, and then wirelessly play your music using your cell phone via BlueTooth.  You can use wirelss sources or you can hook up gigabytes or terrabytes of storage to or even in the cell phone.  Or, if you really gotta have the audiophile security blanket of wired operation, you can get  a 6-10' long 3.5 mm extension cable for about $10 more. It all works.

BTW if the prices I mentioned are too cheap for some audiophile sensibilities, I can tell you how to pay much, much more but I don't think I can tell you how to get something that actually sounds better.

  • klaberte
  • [*]
Re: Recommend: wired stereo system for road warrior
Reply #2

In another thread, there was a discussion of inexpensive audio amplifiers (under $20) that you must have missed. Just for grins I obtained several. The one that seemed to have the most going for it had both Bluetooth and 3.5 mm stereo jack inputs, so I hooked it up and tried it. The things are sold without power supplies but mine actually is plug and play with the cord brick from an old long-discarded laptop.  You can buy these on eBay for under $10.  So there is your solution - $15 for the amp, and another $8 or so for the power supply.  If the measurements for the chips that this thing is based on and my casual listening evaluations are representative, it lacks audible problems other than a modest turn-on, turn-off transient. 

Now here is a repeat of the punch line. It has both 3.5 mm standard miniature stereo phone jack and Bluetooth inputs. Wiring is optional but supported.  If you pick the wireless option, you can set up the speakers and amp where they are convenient, and then wirelessly play your music using your cell phone via BlueTooth.  You can use wirelss sources or you can hook up gigabytes or terrabytes of storage to or even in the cell phone.  Or, if you really gotta have the audiophile security blanket of wired operation, you can get  a 6-10' long 3.5 mm extension cable for about $10 more. It all works.

BTW if the prices I mentioned are too cheap for some audiophile sensibilities, I can tell you how to pay much, much more but I don't think I can tell you how to get something that actually sounds better.


I saw that other amp thread, but missed your reply here till now.  Thank you for replying!

It isn't an audiophile security blanket, but I have just gotten fed up with bluetooth audio, and am resigned (even somewhat enthusiastic) about keeping my source to amp, and then amp to speaker, all wired.  It just works.  No need to reboot various devices to get everything to play like it did a few hours before....  Been there, done that. 

What speakers would you suggest?  Need to be light and smallish, probably about a 2-3" woofer with tweeter....

While costing quite a bit more, I have become rather happy with my recently-purchased iLoud Micro Monitors.  Keeping the amp inside the speaker has the disadvantage of probably not being able to replace the amp if any problems occur.  But, on the plus side, they can (and do) EQ the sound to best match the strengths and weaknesses of the speaker.  Sounds really great, very flat frequency response (they are billed as studio mixing monitors), even if it is probably too much to spend (about $300).  Would be happy to find a good, cheaper (i.e. replaceable after a couple of years of heavy travel) solution.

  • klaberte
  • [*]
Re: Recommend: wired stereo system for road warrior
Reply #3

BTW if the prices I mentioned are too cheap for some audiophile sensibilities, I can tell you how to pay much, much more but I don't think I can tell you how to get something that actually sounds better.

OK, I think we are of similar mind on the electronics.  What (un-powered) small, light speakers would you suggest for travel/hotel setups?