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Marble
Sep 5, 2003, 05:11 PM
I've been trying rather vainly in the last couple of days to come up with a useable alternative to the standard audio output that my Powerbook G4 15" lacks for a reasonable but budget speaker system. I'm a University student and may be hard pressed to afford anything over $100. Entering into that $100 is of course some way to connect a set of speakers to my Powerbook. Are there inexpensive line audio converters that can change audio signals to USB or firewire? Is there such a thing? If so, would firewire have more bandwidth (better audio quality) than a USB connection?
I've looked at the Apple Pro Speakers, and the about-to-ship Griffin iFire. They look exceptional, but I am somewhat skeptical about purchasing a pair of speakers without a subwoofer. How good are these little babies really? They look spiffy, and I don't need a lot of power, just enough to fill a claustrophobic dorm room.
Still, if the difference in audio quality is negligible from what I'm used to, which is simply an inexpensive pair of headphones from Aiwa, then it may not be worth the extra expense considering I'm probably ultimately going to end up irritating my roommate with them.
Help me find some stylish, good quality, and inexpensive speakers for my Powerbook and a solution to the audio out problem, and I will be very grateful.

ColoJohnBoy
Sep 5, 2003, 05:32 PM
I just bought these suckers for my 15" 1 GHz and they work wonderfully. I use them in my room, which is about the size of a standard dorm room, and they sound great. The subwoofer is awesome! They use standard audio-in, but they put out really high quality sound.

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/72501/wo/MA5lKKKsJXTV2LqwwvE1Ej4kpfU/1.3.0.5.10.3.14.13.0

mactastic
Sep 5, 2003, 05:41 PM
Well I know it's over $100 but I thought I'd mention these new 7.1 USB audio interface things look pretty sweet.

Link (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/71007/wo/af40xk7KHjX22M9AA92S31Yum3p/1.3.0.5.10.3.13.13.0)

You still have to buy speakers, but you could start with 2 and buy more as you go. Imagine being able to drive 7 speakers and a sub....
Music, movies and games all become more intense, more alive when you're surrounded by sound. Sonica Theater is the ultimate USB solution providing output for up to seven speakers and a subwoofer, rivaling even the best movie theaters. Where 5.1 places speakers beside you, 7.1 places them both beside and behind you for a much more immersive and believable surround sound experience. Sound effects become so real that you'll find yourself ducking to avoid bullets and low-flying planes. And Sonica Theater fully supports stereo, 4.1, 5.1, and 6.1 formats as well.

Marble
Sep 5, 2003, 06:32 PM
Those are good, and thanks for the link, but I'm limited on space and am not looking for something that is really loud. I would simply like to listen comfortably to my music with better bass response than my closed-ear headphones give. Do you think I'll need a subwoofer for that, or are the Apple Pro Speakers capable of defined low-frequency sounds?
Can someone who's actually used/owned one of these things tell me what their opinions are?
I'll check out that USB link. No one has answered my question yet about bandwidth and the comparative quality of USB, Firewire, and raw audio out.

Thanks.

Marble
Sep 5, 2003, 06:39 PM
The Sonica Theater is a source of envy, but it's also rather expensive. If I wanted to spend that much, I would probably invest in the Harmon/Kardon sound sticks with the iSub (a package that is already USB, it looks like).

billyboy
Sep 6, 2003, 04:16 PM
For $100-ish maybe look at a USB Sonica audio card and some cheap bottom of the range speakers with a sub woofer. Whatever defficiencies the speakers have I am sure the surround sound emulator will compensate and give you some great sound for a small room. The cinema settimg is particularly impressive. When you have more money, upgrade the speakers. I have a 4.1 creative set up that cost $70 and play it through the card. Even an audio head friend of mine burst into an impressed grin when I fired it up.

beefcake
Sep 6, 2003, 04:56 PM
I'm in a *very* small dorm room and have a set of monsoons hooked up to the headphone jack of my TiBook. The guys next door aren't crazy about loud music, but if I were so inclined I could probably knock some loose objects off their desks.

MacAztec
Sep 6, 2003, 05:21 PM
Logitech Z-340s. I have a pair, my brother has a pair, and so does my sister. The bass is amazing on them. They are very very loud and sound great.

My sister goes to college, and they sounded really good in her dorm, but now she has a house. When she has parties, these things can crank up loud enough for everyone to hear. They are awesome!

Very cheap on eBay too, they cost me 40.00 in the store though...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2751436871&category=3702

Marble
Sep 7, 2003, 12:37 AM
Alright, cool. Thanks for the input you guys. I was being an idiot and thinking that the headphone jack couldn't accommodate speakers (and that I would consequently have to buy a Sonica or something to use speakers at all). My life has suddenly become so much more relaxed.

Appreciate the input.

LFrascogna
Sep 7, 2003, 11:16 AM
$99, Creative i-Trigue i3300. First off without the grill they match the powerbook perfectly (they also have all white). The sub is incredible and the speakers are really small (they look a lot bigger in the picture, but they are tiny when you pull them off). They sound really nice, and have an incredible amount of power simply running out of the headphone jack.

Creative Labs (http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&subcategory=27&product=139)