Catch Our Draft

Support PBBT

MP3 Speaker Shootout

In May, I wrote reviews of four MP3 speakers I had tried on my bike

What do they sound like?

Reader Mark Hoagy was interested in buying something, but he was curious about how loud the speakers were and how they sounded.

I explained to Mark that I wasn’t sure how to quantify “loud” nor “good,” since I’m going deaf and I’ve spent most of my life listening to police radios, not high fidelity sound.

He suggested doing a video

When I told him I didn’t want to run afoul of the Music Police by using copyrighted music, he offered to send me a sample of home-brew music.

Mark is a very persistent guy. (Sounds a lot like my Bro Mark, now that I think of it.)

A vacation and home repairs got in the way, but I finally got around to producing the Great MP3 Speaker Shootout.

First, I had to collect the i-RIDE Classic from Son Matt and the SanDisk Sansa Shaker from Grandson Malcolm. They wanted them right back, so I had to shoot the test on the dining room table under less than optimum lighting conditions.

The Great MP3 Speaker Shootout

Take this comparison with a whole shaker of salt.

  • It wasn’t under anything resembling controlled circumstances.
  • I suspect the video camera has some kind of auto volume control that tries to make everything sound the same.

Here’s what my ears tell me

  • Best and loudest sound: i-Ride Pro

    Active Tune i-RIDE Pro MP3 speaker

    Active Tunes i-RIDE PRO

  • Second place sound and volume: i-Ride Classic
  • Third favorite: Byco WRX1 (not available as far as I know)
  • Distant fourth: SanDisk Sansa Shaker, just cause it’s cute.
  • Not even dug out of the junk box: Boostaroo.

How do teenage girls do it?

I took a ride along the Palm Beach Lake Trail Saturday and got the bright idea of trying to hold the video camera pointing back at me while the iPod was hooked up to the i-RIDE PRO. That would give an idea of what the speaker sounded like on the road and how I have it mounted to my CamelBak M.U.L.E. (Note: the i-RIDE PRO is the device at the top of the CamelBak strap, right under my ear. The object below it is my Verizon cell phone.)

Every teenage girl has managed to master taking a picture of herself and her 42 closest friends while holding her cellphone camera at arms length.

After trying to ride a bike and duplicate that feat with my video camera, I am convinced that the current generation of teenage girl has some genetic mutation that gives them arms that are six feet long and fold in at least three places that mine won’t.

OK, Mark, does that help out?

8 comments to MP3 Speaker Shootout

  • Mark S

    I thought that was a very good demonstration of speakers, nicely done. That being said, and you won’t approve of this option..earbuds.

    Before you wag your finger at me and tell me wearing earbuds might not let me hear other things like, “Hey! Watch where you are going!” or “Get off the street and back o the sidewalk where you belong!” – it also keeps me from hearing those things. If you keep the level low, you can still hear what you need to hear to avoid any real accidents.

  • ToddBS

    I believe wearing headphones of any kind while riding is illegal in Florida. At least on the road. From the FLDOT site:

    Wearing of headsets
    (Section 316.304(1), F.S.)

    No person shall operate a bicycle while wearing a headset, headphone or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.

  • Ken Steinhoff

    ToddBS,

    Trust me, NONE of these devices will fit in your ear nor COVER your ear. You’d have to be a cop with a seriously bad attitude to try to bust you for wearing one of these speakers.

    I have always wondered why both motorists and cyclists are prohibited from wearing headphones, but it’s legal to have a stereo that will rattle windows three blocks away.

    If you were referring to Mark S, he’s from Missouri, not Florida. (Although I suspect the law is the same there, too.) About the only excuse I can offer for him is that he was dropped on his head at an early age and sometimes doesn’t show good judgment.

    I’m not a fan of earbuds under any circumstances. I find them uncomfortable after any length of time.

  • ToddBS

    Quite right, I was referring to Mark S’ post, though I gather you two are old buds :)

    I agree on the earbuds, too. I can never keep them in my ears anyway. Guess my ears are too small.

  • ToddBS,

    I figured that out about the time I had already written the bulk of my response and I was too lazy to delete my crankygram.

    I don’t know that I’d exactly say that MarkS is my bud.

    He’s the brother that attempted fratricide a number of years ago when we were riding together and he teamed up with his older brother to trash my comic book collection that probably could have financed a comfortable living in my declining years.

    Still, as brothers go, he’s not bad.

  • mark S

    I gave up looking at state regulations, guidelines and other sectional rules a while back. Probably about the time car drivers were getting away with hitting folks on bicycles, people were riding after dusk without proper front and tail lights and when Vice President Cheney starting playing lose and fancy free with our Constitution.

    Besides, I would rather hear the sweet tunes in my head right as a car hits me instead of their blaring horn when they hit me (and that’s even if they see me)…

    And if you have ever ridden next to Ken when he is “jamm’n on the tunes” you will hear Folk songs, Trucker songs and songs that are hard to put in a category. And while they are good, they are best listened to in the privacy of a car and not broadcasting them down the street, even if it is for a brief moment when I say to him….”on your left.”

  • Lisa

    Super helpful! Thanks so much for providing this.

  • Teenage girls are used to taking pictures of themselves. The more they take their pictures often, the better photographer they become. It just takes a lot of practice.