By Don Lindich
Week 16, 2019
Q. I just completed a home music studio for practicing drums. It is small, about 12×7 feet, and I need to install some speakers so I can play the songs while drumming because I don’t always like practicing with headphones on. Is there a set of speakers you could recommend with “big sound and quality” that will work through Bluetooth from my Mac? I do own a pair of Polk Audio speakers from about 30 years ago, but I think they are too big for this room and one of them needs repair anyway. I’d like to spend less than $300 if possible.
P.F., San Francisco, CA
A. You are definitely going to need big sound if you are playing drums in a small room, and you also do not want everything but the high frequencies drowned out by your drumming. I recently tested a powered speaker ensemble that will do what you want while sounding great, and come in just under your price limit.
The Edifier S350DB includes two full-sized bookshelf speakers and a powered subwoofer. You can connect them with just about everything but HDMI because they have Bluetooth, RCA stereo inputs, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and an optical digital connection. Though you have a specific application using Bluetooth in mind, all the different inputs make the S350DB a good choice for use in a home music system with multiple sources components. For example, the user could connect their phone with Bluetooth, a turntable (with a phono preamp) to the RCA connections, and a television to the optical connection. It even comes with the cables you need and a puck-shaped remote.
Buying a system with a powered subwoofer not only provides deeper bass, it allows you to get bigger and louder sound than you can get out of a pair of small bookshelf speakers alone. Bass frequencies are non-directional, which means you cannot locate where they are coming from so long as you set up the subwoofer correctly. This gives you a lot of placement in your small room. You can also put the subwoofer in a corner for increased bass output should you need it.
Edifier is the leading powered speaker brand for good reason, and the S350DB does not disappoint. The speakers are hefty and look and feel. Sound quality is excellent as well. If you spend any time in your music studio just listening to music rather than practicing, you will enjoy them to be a great listening companion.
If anyone out there does buy these and plans on using them with the turntable, try and put the turntable on a different surface then the bookshelf speakers themselves. This will prevent vibration from finding its way back to the turntable, which can affect sound quality or worse yet, cause distortion and feedback.
Q. You recently wrote about a CD that now refuses to play after being played 3,000 times. Is this a real problem, or was it supposed to be published on April Fool’s Day?
-C.P., Meno Park, CA
A. It is a real problem. I received quite a few emails suggesting it was an April Fool’s joke, and and that the disc would play again on April 2nd. However the question came in before April 1st, and because my column appears across the country in different newspapers at different times, it makes playing an April Fool’s joke impractical. Believe me, I have some ideas for some great ones!