Palo Alto's compact desktop speakers have more oomph than anything else at this size and price, making them a good bet for those short of space
If there’s not much room on your desk, it can be a challenge to find a home for even a set of 2.1 speakers, and you’ll need an extra mains socket to plug them in. Palo Alto’s Musik speakers are small enough to nestle on either side of your monitor without taking up any undue space, have a built-in sound card and are powered over USB, so you only have to plug one cable into your laptop. Despite the lack of mains power, they have plenty of volume, as well as digital bass enhancement that effectively creates a more well-rounded sound, rather than distorting or drowning out other tones.
The sound isn’t particularly subtle or sophisticated – we didn’t get the reverberating slap of drum skins and some mid-tones are a little harsh. However, it’s easy to pick out individual instruments from even the most complex and busy of compositions. There’s an excellent sense of space and a wide sweet spot that makes the speakers very forgiving when it comes to positioning.
The speakers’ USB connection means that, while they’re easy to connect to your computer, you can’t plug in other devices such as media players. We weren’t taken by the speakers’ metallic silver plastic or the short, if replaceable, 1m 3.5mm stereo cable that joins them, but these are minor annoyances. The Musik speakers offer decent sound for a reasonable price.
|Power consumption standby||N/A|
|Power consumption on||5W|
|Controls located||right satellite|
|Digital processing||dynamic bass boost|
|Tone controls||bass boost|