The original DUET was a hit with many enthusiasts looking for a complimentary computer speaker system without breaking the bank. JBL went at it again with the new DUET II. New look, new specs and still affordable, but how does it perform? Hit the jump for my review.
One thing I’ve always loved about JBL are their futuristic designs. The DUET II looks like two high-tech footballs on display. The entire front of each speaker is covered with a mesh grill hiding the decently powerful drivers. On top of the right speaker is the volume dial that glides smoothly with just a touch. There are no treble or bass controls but the DUET II was meant to be extremely simple and totally plug-in-play.
The mid and high ranges are crystal clear with only slight distortion if you crank the volume all the way up. Bass is a little deficient for my tastes but some slight tweaking in your computer’s or MP3 player’s audio settings can compensate. The DUET II is compatible with anything that’ll accept a 3.5mm audio jack. I had my flanking my laptop. At nearly 11″ tall, they’re certainly noticeable but the design easily blends in with my Macbook Pro. From the rear, the high gloss black finish belies their function that is until you look at the base…
There are way too many cables. It’s the basic set-up we have to put up with any budget desktop speaker system. There’s one that connects to the audio source. Then there are two separate cables for each speaker and finally a power cable. They’re extremely long so if you aren’t an organized bee, you’ll soon find a tangled mess behind your computer.
At under $99 from Amazon.com, the DUET II offers a lot of value especially in today’s budget busting economy. Every genre of music sounded great coming thru clear and crisp. Stuff like hip-hop and electronica lost some of their luster with the anemic bass response but I suspect only audiophiles will hear it. But for gaming, watching videos, and even video chatting – the DUET II are an amazing set of speakers.
What we liked:
- Futuristic design, utilitarian chic blends in with desktop set-up
- Good mid and high range audio
- Not too big or small. Perfect sized footprint
- Easy to use volume control
- Easy set-up
- Priced to fly out the door
What could be improved:
- Too many cables
- Bass is a little anemic