Hopefully you read about our encounters at CES. Yes, it was super busy, but after our long days meandering the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the pnosker.com crew would gather up and eventually make it back to our hotel rooms. There, we spent the last couple hours of the day writing and discussing what we saw and want to cover. I personally find writing easier with music in the background, but my current Dell 11z (soon to be replaced with an Alienware M11x– review coming soon!) has pretty tinny speakers. I had to resort to headphones, preventing the others in the room from enjoying my music collection.
On the second to last day of the show, I visited Edifier. Edifier is a company that has only recently entered the US market. They have been around since the mid-1990's in China, and since then have spread throughout the world. Their products are known to sound good, look good, and be made with reasonable quality. Since their entrance to the US, I was set to receive one of their most recent products, the USB soundbar named "Sound To Go," but quantities were limited and I wasn't able to get one before the show. Thankfully, they had a small supply and were able to give me one at their large and beautiful display.
At first, it looks like the Sound To Go was made by Apple. After taking a closer look, it's clear that it isn't. While it does look very good with its aluminum casing and clean design, the volume button rotates freely and the button press is not as solid as expected. The build quality otherwise is good.
The other end of the unit has two ports. One mini-USB port and one 1/8" audio input jack. The Sound To Go includes a built in onboard soundcard so you can simply plug it in via USB and it will detect as a new audio device. If you want to use your iPod, you plug it in with the provided Male-Male 1/8" audio cable. You do however need a source of power via USB to use it.
The most interesting design element is the volume button. Instead of turning a knob or having two buttons, Edifier decided to instead use a single button which controls volume depending on how you press it. If you hold the button down, it starts dropping in volume. If you click it quickly, it goes up. It's not intuitive, but it's simple and it works. I still think you could fit a knob there instead, but it's not really anything to complain about.
The sound quality was the most impressive element. There are two 1" speakers, one on each side, and a single oval shaped speaker in the middle. It's not entirely clear what the oval speaker (which is very wide but the same height as the others) does. It is listed as a subwoofer, but it appears to be a passive radiator.
The Sound To Go doesn't sound like a set of reference monitors, but it's much better than my laptop speakers. At lower volumes, it is very clear. Only at very high volumes (almost definitely too loud to listen to by yourself) does it start to sound bad. There isn't much bass, but it's more than my laptop can push out normally.
The Sound To Go isn't the best, but it is small, inexpensive, and sounds a heck of a lot better than almost any laptop speakers I have heard. If you want significantly better sound for your travels, I would recommend it. If you want perfect audio representation, bring a set of headphones.