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Listening to Music - Bluetooth or Portable Speaker?

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by beachbum61, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. beachbum61

    beachbum61 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I just purchased a tablet (Acer A500) to use on a trip overseas, and I want to listen to Internet Radio (Sirius) while in the hotel rooms. I am considering two options - buying a bluetooth headset or buying a small portable speaker. I have never used either before. I do not want to spend too much because I won't use them back home.

    I realize I won't get great sound with either. Staples sells a little portable speaker called Ihome for about $20 that plugs into the devise by USB port and recharges itself, which seems handy. Since I have never used a bluetooth headset I am not sure how good it is in that situation - wifi to device then bluetooth.

    Any thoughts on which would deliver better sound, and be more useful in hotel rooms or small apartments?



  2. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    First of all, you'll most likely find that SiriusXM will not work overseas. It's United States only I believe, unless someone can confirm otherwise.

    All depends on what you prefer, do you want headphones or speakers? Headphones will always sound much better than a small pair of speakers. However when I'm staying in hotel rooms, small speakers are perfectly fine for me. I don't usually wear headphones in hotel rooms, well unless the neighbours are particularly noisy. I save the phones for the plane, train or bus.
    MrJavi and ocnbrze like this.
  3. beachbum61

    beachbum61 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the response. I checked with Sirius and they said their Internet Radio works globally.

    I went out and bought the $20 Ihome speaker and tried it out. It is ok - as you said ok for a hotel room at a moderate level. Probably a step above a laptop's speakers, but not as good as a bluetooth headset. It is very small so good for traveling. I will probably keep it.
    MrJavi likes this.
  4. dontpanicbobby

    dontpanicbobby 100% That Guy
    VIP Member

    LG G7
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  5. puppykickr

    puppykickr Well-Known Member

    I am not a fan of headphones in general.

    First, wires.
    If it's not wires, then it's batteries.
    If neither of those, then they are uncomfortable.

    If none of the above, then there is always the fact that small speakers are crap, and even a crappy speaker can sound passible when it is in or up against your ear.

    That is why it is questionable when 'good' headphones cost so much, not because they are so much better- but because of marketing and gimmicks.

    They are still usually 40mm speakers.

    I like external speakers.
    Either bluetooth or wired, a smartphone has many apps available that improve the sound enough to make most of them sound passible, and some even sound rather good.

    As a live sound engineer, I am pretty picky when it comes to sound quality and volume.

    A speaker should sound good at low, medium, and loud volumes.

    Bose generally sound great at low volumes, and ok at medium volume.
    They choke badly at high volume levels.
    This is because in order to make up for shortcomings the speaker systems are set to 'color' the sound.
    They are already EQ'ed to sound a certain way, and so can be quite impressive at low levels.
    But crank it up to 11 and you are in crackling distortion hell.

    I have two real cheap <$20 bluetooth speakers that I use all the time.

    The first one is a Polaroid that was $15 and has two speakers in a single box.
    It has a leather carry strap and a slot that holds a phone horizontally on top (great for movies or videos).
    It is fine at low to low medium volumes, and the stereo effect can be quite striking at times, when I use a surround sound app.

    I also have a single tube speaker, from QFX. It is normally $20 but I bought it on sale for $16.
    It has a sturdy handle on top, and comes with a strap that can go over the shoulder (the strap is weak- a better one should be used).
    It sounds real good when at low and medium levels.
    Where it excells is at loud volume.
    This cheap little thing is a monster, and people are genuinely surprised that a small set up like that can produce so much sound at that price level.
    It is very directional, so if it is too loud for some, they can just move to the sides or rear of it.

    Could I get something more expensive that sounds even better?

    But if I am going to take it places, it needs to be small, reliable, sturdy, and replaceable.

    I don't want to spend hundreds (or even one hundred) dollars for something that I must protect and look after like a baby.


    The single speaker tube is far better, even with the lack of stereo effect.
    You can use and charge it at the same time, and when it is done charging it stops charging- saving the life of the battery.

    It also has a built in FM radio with surprising reception.

    There is even a slot for a SD card to be directly inserted.

    Of course, using the built in radio or SD card slot prevents the use of sound enhancing apps, so the phone being a part of the system remains important.

    As a comparison, I know someone who purchased a very small, durable, great sounding bluetooth speaker from Sony.

    It was $50.

    It is smaller in size than either of mine.

    It is louder and sounds better at loud volume than the two speakered Polaroid, but the QFX tube will outshine it at those levels.
    MrJavi and ocnbrze like this.
  6. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    I take it you don't travel much, or have to commute by public transport then?

    Well speakers have wires, and/or batteries, and/or need to be plugged into a power outlet. :p

    So do I.....when I'm at home. But on planes, trains, and long-distance buses, I find headphones to be much better. :)
    MrJavi and ocnbrze like this.
  7. puppykickr

    puppykickr Well-Known Member

    What you say is true to a point.

    But the fact that 40mm speakers don't sound that good unless attached to your skull remains.

    Then there is the issue of the low power output of the phones jack- often requiring a headphone amplifier to make up for it and or the impedance mismatch between device and headphones.

    The device (generally a phone) is not world reknowned for having a tremendous battery life, and that is when it is just doing 'phone' stuff.

    Also, the noise of whatever transport is sure to creep in, unless you try to maintain a volume that will block that out.

    Yes, I know about noise cancelling, and am not real enthused to spend the money, hear the thing adjusting, etc.

    Not to mention the fact that it is fairly dangerous to be on public transport and be oblivious to what is going on around you.

    In all truth, to go through all that just to try to listen to music, I would rather wait until I could get somewhere else and enjoy it proper.

    Ever try to listen to your favorite song, and someone is just yapping away through the whole thing?

    And right when they take a break, and a ripping guitar solo begins, then it gets right to that great part- and the yapping starts again.

    Yeah, it's that sort of thing.

    I guess a set of ear buds might work for listening to the news or something...
    ocnbrze likes this.
  8. MrJavi

    MrJavi Android Enthusiast

    I bought a boltune BT-BH010 wireless 5.0 Bluetooth headset about 9 months ago for $50. They work and sound great. They also come with a traveling case. I should also mention, I wear hearing aids in both my ears and find them useful making and receiving phone calls. Im very happy with my purchase and no Im not the seller.
    Screenshot_2020-01-06-03-40-14.png s-l400.jpg Screenshot_2020-01-06-03-43-50.png
    #8 MrJavi, Jan 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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