Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Battle of the Egg Speakers

Moshi Double Bassburger vs McGear Mini Speaker II Stereo(MCSP 22).

Moshi Double Bassburger Specifications (as stated on the box)
Speaker Output: 1.7W x 2
Sensitivity > 80db
Input L/R: 380mV
Frequency Response: 280Hz - 16kHz
Charge: USB = 5V +0.5V
Charge Time: Aprrox 2.5 - 3 hours
Play Time: Approx 10 hours
Ambient Temp: 0°c ~ 45°c
Dimensions: 55mm x 55mm x 77mm
Weight: 112g


McGear Mini Speaker II Stereo Specifications (as stated on the box)
Speaker Output Power: 2W x 2
Speaker Diameter: 40mm
impedance: 4Ω
Rating Power: 1.5W x 2
Frequency Response: 180Hz~20KHz
Signal to Noise: ≥80db
Distortion: ≤1%
Power Supply Input: Mini USB, 5V/500mA (Charger not included)
Battery Capacity: 400mAH
Battery Charging Voltage: 4.2V
Battery Charging Time: 3~4 hour
Battery Playback Time: 6~10hours
Dimension: 
     60mm(D)*55mm(H) (One set)
     60mm(D)*99mm(H) (Dual set)
Weight: 144gm




Size
Both speakers are tiny.  The Bassburger is slightly smaller than the McGear speakers though.  You can see the difference in the photos.  The TicTac box is a reference for the size of the speakers.
Furthermore, the Bassburger can be closed to be even more compact for travelling.  It cannot be used while closed though.  Note that when the Bassburger is expanded for use, it is slightly taller than the McGear speakers.


Sounds Good
The Bassburger gives superb sound for its size.  When they say "Ultra compact stereo speakers that produce sound way beyond their tiny size", they really mean it.  I am very happy that this little egg sounds much better than my laptop speakers.

Although the quality of sound is there, if the volume is turned up too high, distortion can be heard from the Bassburger.  I usually do not have the volume up very high and at normal levels it all sounds good.

As mentioned above, the Bassburger is slightly smaller than the McGear speakers.  For the slight size increase, the sound produced by the McGear speakers are much better than the Bassburger.  I would go as far as saying that the McGear speakers are as good as my old Altec Lansing ACS41 speakers.  Very nice considering it is less than half the size of the old Altec Lansings and does not need a power point.

I also have not detected any distortion when testing the McGear speakers with high volume.  I pumped up the volume higher than when testing the Bassburger, but not much higher because I like to keep my hearing in good shape.


Connections
The Bassburger has one cable with a USB connector and two mini-USB connectors.  The USB connector is for charging the speakers' battery and the mini-USB connects the two speakers together.  The other is a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable to connect your favourite sound source to the speakers.

The mini-USB cable is approximately 44cm long.  Long enough to give good stereo separation but it may not be long enough if you like to put your speakers around a big item.  The attached USB socket to one mini-USB socket is only around 14cm long.  This means that one of the speakers must be close to the USB power source to charge the battery.  If you want to charge and play simultaneously, this short cable length maybe an issue.

The 3.5mm cable is approximately 64cm.  The 3.5mm socket is in the right speaker only so depending on where you place your sound source, the cable may or may not be long enough to reach the right speaker if you wish to place them with good stereo separation.  The area around the 3.5mm socket in the speaker is quite small, so some standard 3.5mm to 3.5mm cables may not fit if the 3.5mm plug has a large casing.

McGear only has one cable with a 3.5mm plug to plug into a sound source,  a USB connector for charging the batteries and two mini-USB connectors that connect to the actual speakers.  From the 3.5mm plug to the USB connector, the length of the cable section is approximately 13cm.  Then from the USB connector to where the cable separates for stereo placement, the length is around 31cm.  The length from the separator stop to the mini-USB plugs is around 40cm long.  Although I have not separated the cable fully, I think the allowable length between the two speakers would be approximately 80cm.  Overall, the cable design for the McGear gives better flexibility for speaker placement than the Bassburger.

Both speakers cannot play audio through the USB connection.  It is used for charging the internal batteries only.


Features
The Moshi Double Bassburger has got volume control.  The McGear Mini Speaker II does not.

Both speakers can be used while being stuck together or they can be separated.  The Bassburger does need to be expanded to be used though.
Magnets hold the speakers together.  The Bassburger magnets are quite strong while the McGear magnets hardly hold the speakers together.  Be careful with the McGear as a sudden knock can separate the speakers or if you are not holding them properly, one will just fall off.

The McGear speakers have got a power switch for each speaker.  This means you can choose to just use one speaker if you feel like it.  It also means that one speaker can run out of battery before the other one.  The Bassburger must have both speakers connected before it can be used.

The best thing about both these speakers are, you get amplified audio without needing a power point.  Just recharge the internal batteries via USB.


Battery Life
For the Moshi Double Bassburger, I have only recharged the batteries to full capacity twice.
On the second recharge I timed the battery life.  Each day I used the speakers for between one and six hours per day with my laptop or mp3 player.  The Bassburger lasted around 44 hours!  This is far better than the 10 hours battery life they say on the box, but I guess it is also because I don't use the speakers at 100% volume.

One thing does not work as mentioned.  In the manual for the Bassburger, it says that the LED will glow red when the battery level is low.  I have never seen it go red.  One minute it is blue and sounds are playing as normal, the next minute it all goes off.

I also tried charging the Moshi Double Bassburger with the Powermonkey-eXplorer battery.  It did not work very well.  I have to turn on the speakers while charging, if not the Powermonkey keeps turning itself off.  I am unsure if the Powermonkey can give the Bassburger a full charge as even with the speakers on, after a while the Powermonkey turns off, presumably because it cannot charge the speakers anymore.  But there is no way to tell if the speakers are fully charged.

From the first charge of the McGear speakers to full capacity, I timed the battery life for them.  Like the Bassburger, I used the speakers for between one and six hours per day with my laptop or mp3 player.  The McGear speakers lasted the amazing time of around 105 hours!  Ten times longer than the 10 hours mentioned on the box.

The Powermonkey-eXplorer battery seems to charge the McGear speakers fine, but a full charge of the Powermonkey does not charge the McGear speakers to full capacity.


Biases
The main purpose of buying these speakers is to replace my Altec Lansing ACS41 speakers and also to save space.

I am not an expert on audio systems.  The best sound I have heard constantly is from an old Sony sound system model MHC-G77.


Links
Moshi Double Bassburger.
McGear Mini Speaker II Stereo(MCSP 22).


Update 02/12/2012
I am not sure when it started, but my McGear speakers exterior has become sticky.  It feels like the same sticky problem of the  Powermonkey-eXplorer. This is even without the heat exposure.