Yamaha Surround Sound Speaker 

A single speaker that manages – in a way – to produce something a bit like stereo sound. I first saw a surround sound speaker from Yamaha several years ago that was for placing in front of a TV this is for a similar effect for your notebook it is of course considerably smaller.
Yamaha N-XU10 speakers outdoors

I never did get to review the larger unit designed for a TV despite asking again only a few months ago but at least that did bring this offering for a notebook. Unfortunately this unit had been elsewhere and the English instructions had been lost the box had instructions only in a foreign language but after saying my knowledge of this language is non existent I was sent a PDF file in English.

It would seem that I was sent all that matters the speaker unit and two leads, the first to the mains and the second the line out (earbud 3.5mm) from your notebook/PC.

It is 25x10x3cm with the 3.5mm jack socket on the right side and a rotary volume above it. The other side has a push button on/off switch. On first look the mini USB lead that goes to the 13amp plug seems to be badly located as it is behind a flap in the rear and when it is inserted the flap will not fully shut but of course this provides the support to keep the unit upright - or does it - as you could also power the unit from 'AAA' batteries and certainly the back needs to be shut then to hold the batteries in place. So it remains unclear. I did use a standard mini USB to USB lead quite successfully and as this did not have the lump in the lead it was possible to feed this through the tiny opening and still shut the cover. The speaker now takes the power it needs from the notebook/PC.

The lead comes out at the base of the speaker making the two small rubber feet unable to reach the desk as it would now rest on the cable. Time maybe to consult the PDF file. So having read the PDF file I know a little more it is designed to work with the flap open and the feet are called non slip pads. It should work with four 'AAA' batteries but it seems the other half of the battery holder got lost along with the CD-ROM that you would need for operating systems before Windows 2000, also although it's not mentioned maybe an English instruction book. I used the unit on XP and Vista systems without problem.

The sound quality was good although unless you ramped up the sound from your notebook even at full volume it was not huge. As these are designed to work with a notebook and you sit closer to a notebook than a desktop system then maybe this is acceptable.

I have seen lots of speaker systems over the years and connecting via USB seems to be the way to go so that however naff your sound chip is then it does not matter. When I saw the first set that connected in this way (I think they were Philips) the idea was terrific. The ones I recently looked at from Logitech the V20 are still available and as they connect via USB the sound chip is not used and the volume always needs to be turned DOWN as the level is far higher than anything available via a sound chip.

This single unit offering from Yamaha has two 3.5cm speakers at each end of the case but with modern notebooks having better speakers it's just one more thing to carry around. Recently I upgraded a notebook to Vista and the sound driver was not functioning this offering from Yamaha would not of course work as it takes the signal from the earbud outlet but my Logitech V20 did as they were USB.

If you are certain you need a single unit then you might consider this Yamaha offering. Be sure that your sound chip can output plenty as the sound level even ramped up is not huge.

Doing my Internet searches found the Yamaha NX-U10 at a best price of £125 from the first link below.  

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