Happiness and Misadventures

The Infinite Quest for an External Speaker

A never-ending quest.

I don’t know about you, but for me music is essential. I spend my time in front of a computer mostly while listening to music, it helps me focusing, it relaxes me,… but it makes me logorrheic too. Twelve years ago or so, in my old apartment I had a 2.1 Creative speaker set. It was cheap, but it made the difference from the iMac/PC speakers. It was a period of my life when I was obsessed with buying dozens of CDs —currently I have 516— and I had the need to listen to anything possible. When I moved in that apartment I bought a cute Sony compact CD player and I fell in love with the warm sound of those speakers. Or maybe it’s because of the song I first listened in the shopping centre where I bought it.

Regarding the price, I think that I’ll never intend to spend hundreds of euros on expensive equipment. It’s a fact, I’m stingy. And I think I wouldn’t hear the difference during the everyday use because I listen to music while doing so many other things. BOSE speakers have always been charming, but I never gave in to the temptation. Then it came the doubt: AUX or Bluetooth? I am a big fan of wires, but we are in 2020 and technology is advancing may more faster than it should, so why not give a chance to the wireless technology?

I had some good experience with some good Bluetooth headsets while jogging, so I tried to use them in front of the computer too. The problem is that they isolate way too much from the outside world! I could barely hear my phone ringing and I had to keep it right next to me. Also, since I often work at home, all the noises were gone — including my girlfriend trying to talk with me and the pets destroying the house. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn’t right. I needed an external speaker, not a headset.

I’ve been waiting a price drop of SoundBlaster FRee because I read a very good review by a person I trust, but… last week, I realized that four years have passed from that review. WHAT? How can it be? What have I done in these months? Oh no, thinking about that… I've been listening to music mostly from my computer speakers. Yes, I still had my compact CD player, but I rarely use it. Incredible. I had to do something.

Long story short: the best quality-price ratio equipment I could find was the SoundBlaster Roar Pro, and bought it on sale with a BT-W2 USB dongle, which is supposed to reduce the audio lag — which doesn’t really matter with music streaming. I tested the dongle and, even if there shouldn’t be any differences in audio quality between macOS aptX codec and this device, I think I hear a slight difference in favor of the the dongle.

Most importantly, I’ve been testing the Roar with one the best albums I own —Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness—, which inspired this series of first-world-problem thoughts. The opening notes on the piano are gorgeous, like the rest of the two-disc set. Now the important question: how much time will this setup hold on? What will be the next must have in this terrible consumerist world?

#music #tech