New Gear: M-Audio BX5 D2 Powered Audio Monitors

M-Audio-BX5D2-SingleA long while ago I described my experience comparing some low-end powered audio monitors for use around the home and office. We have had a mix of things in use since then, although in every case there’s a Logitech Squeezebox feeding a pair of powered monitors.

In the post-holiday exhale I’ve taken an opportunity to add a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2 5″ Active 2-Way Studio Monitor Speakers. These were offered on Amazon for $288. That’s a bargain price given the performance of the product.

I’ve had a pair of the earlier BX-5a’s for some time. Over time I’ve come to appreciate them above almost everything else on-site. Thus the decision to buy the updated version was very easy to make.

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New Gear: ClearOne Chat 160

At lasts years visit to Astricon it became clear that  it would be good to “tool up” for having conference calls at remote locations. As I described previously, the ClearOne Chat 50 USB speakerphone that I had brought along was not really adequate to the task of a conference call with a number of people scattered around a hotel room.

I can’t fault the device as it, like most USB attached speakerphones, are intended as personal audio devices, to be used by an individual at a desk. It’s microphone pickup pattern describes a 120 degree arc across the front of the device. That means that fully two thirds of the room are off-mic and won’t be heard very well.

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Review: Yamaha PSG-01s Personal USB Speakerphone

A few months back I received a sample of a new USB attached personal speakerphone device made by Yamaha. It arrived about the same time that I started looking for a better solution for ad-hoc conference calls in small rooms, like hotel rooms. You may recall that I felt this need after the experience after hearing Zeeek trying to conduct a VUC call from the host hotel at Astricon 2009.

As is my usual strategy, I tossed the little PSG-01s into my suitcase thinking that I make use of it for a while and see how it handles the road. It’s been on the road quite a while now, and doesn’t seem to suffer the travel a bit. The device is a rugged little aluminum tube. It’s built to last.

Yamaha has a long and enviable history in pro audio products, many of which I’ve used in TV and recording studios over the years. The little PSG-01s is a more consumer oriented offering, but it seems like a well-considered design.

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New Gadget Alert: Yamaha PSG-01S Personal Speakerphone

yamaha_speaker_phone_sDifferentiating personal speakerphones from small workgroup devices is something that I’ve been pondering a bit lately. You may remember that just after the close of Astricon Randy used a ClearOne Chat 50 USB speakerphone to host a VUC session from his hotel room in Phoenix. That little device was not quite up the task of what was really the equivalent of a small conference room environment. That situation was well beyond the intent of it’s design. It has served me well as a desktop and traveling speakerphone for many months.

In related news,  last week a new gadget arrived from the folks at In-Store Solutions. It’s a newly released entry into the USB personal speakerphone marketplace, the Yamaha PSG-01S. As such little USB devices have proven useful in the past I think I’ll be giving it a try for a few weeks to see how it compares those that I’ve used previously.