It’s hard to exaggerate the effect that stereo has on sound. Sure, it gives you different sounds from the left and right speakers, positioning the musical instruments or the on-screen action in 3-D space, but it also opens up the sound and makes it seem a lot bigger… Even when used with tiny speakers.
And while candy-bar all-in-one speakers like the Jambox pack in stereo speakers and stretch the soundstage using electronic trickery, it turns out that old-fashioned physical separation still works great. Which is why the otherwise average Earshots speakers are worth a listen.
What They Are
The Earshots are a pair of tiny aluminum (37mm high) speakers that hook into your devices using a y-shaped jack cable. They each contain a rechargeable li-ion battery that lasts five hours, and they come equipped with the speaker cable plus a y-shaped USB cable for charging. Plug the cables in to power the speakers on, unplug to switch off.
Despite their tiny size, these speakers sound big. It’s a bit of an odd effect, as the wide soundscape they produce is somewhat at odds with the slightly tinny quality of the sound. However, you soon forget about that when you’re watching a movie or playing a game, and even music (or maybe especially music?) is much improved.
To test the stereo capabilities, I hooked them up to my iPad mini and stretched the coiled cords to place the speakers around an iPad’s distance away on either side. I then fired up Jawbone’s Live Audio demo playlist on Rdio (created for the Jambox, and also available on Spotify.
The results are both surprising and expected. Expected because bass is clearly lacking thanks to the diminutive size of the source, but surprising in that the sound is big and open. Voices sound great, and the mid and high tones in a track are well separated both in stereo terms and in audio terms – instruments can clearly make themselves heard.
Movies are really great. Again, the lack of bass means that explosions and the like are lacking, but the life brought to the experience by stereo is extraordinary. The sound seems to come from the screen, behind the screen and off to the sides.
This is impressive. It’s even more impressive for a pair of speakers that’ll sit in a jacket pocket, and which weigh less than the iPhone 5 between them.
It’d be impossible for speakers this small to manage anything but minimal bass, but at least they don’t distort. But that’s not the bad part of these speakers. The bad part is the cables. First, I’ve already lost the y-shaped USB cable that charges them, meaning they need to be juiced one at a time. Second, there’s no way to know which is left and which is right, so I’d advise testing them out with a balance-controlled source and marking up the cable for future reference.
I’m surprised enough by these speakers that I’m planning on taking them on my next trip away instead of the Jambox that I normally throw in my bag automatically. No, they’re not as good as the $200 speaker, but they’re almost half as good, at a quarter of the price. And they’re also tiny, and perfect fro hotel-room movie-watching where the illusion of volume will fool you, but won’t carry far enough to annoy your neighbors.
Product Name: : Earshots
The Good: Tiny, light, five-hour battery, big sound for such a small speaker.
The Bad: Tinny compared to anything bigger.
The Verdict Worth a look, don;t expect to rock out, but don’t be fooled by appearances. Those looks like novelty speakers, but they’re perfectly capable, especially when weight and space are at a premium.
Buy from: Kubxlab