Selecting Speakers for Your Zune

Filed Under: Competition
When you have a Microsoft Zune, it is easy to walk down the accessory aisle at your local electronics store and get iPod accessory envy. With all of the eye catching skins and cases, it is hard not to get jealous of all the options that iPod owners seem to have. For example, there seems to be an unlimited number of speaker systems and docks for the iPod, but the Microsoft Zune is catching up, due in part to Microsoft's powerful position in the technology industry. With a little persistence, you don't have to be jealous of your iPod owning friend's speaker systems.

The Microsoft Zune is a great portable audio player, but it makes it even better when you can listen to your tunes at a party or at your house. That's when you need a great speaker system to blast your choice of music. Speakers for your Zune are available at a wide variety of retailers and for various price points.

Altec Lansing is one of the premier names in audio speakers. Their speaker and docking system for the Apple iPod has proven to be one of the most popular sets in the digital music industry. With all of their success in the iPod marketplace, it was only a matter of time before Altec Lansing introduced a similar system for the Microsoft Zune.

The Altec Lansing M604 Powered Audio System retails for $200, but it is available for about half that price on many Internet stores. Even at full price, the Altec Lansing M604 is a great system for the money. It is small and portable enough to be moved from room to room, but the sound is anything but small. The Altec Lansing M604 provides full, rich sound and the deep bass that you would expect from a system twice its size. It comes with a wireless remote to control your Zune from across the room. No more hovering around your Zune to change your songs. It is extremely easy to set up and use. The manual is detailed, but the system is ready to use straight out of the box. There are no confusing wires or cords to get tangled and you can charge your Zune while you listen. This is one of the best all around systems for the money. There are cheaper systems, as well as systems that provide more audio power, but none that combine the price and features of the Altec Lansing M604. Mark this as a best buy!

Altec Lansing also offers the iM414 Portable Audio System for Zune, a small speaker system that has a built in clock radio. While it doesn't provide the house filling sound of the M604, it does fill a room and offers great sound in a very small package. There is no remote control with this unit, but like its larger cousin, it does charge your Zune while you listen. The iM414 also runs from batteries, so it makes it easy to take it with you while you are traveling or if you are hitting the beach with friends this summer.

If you are looking for professional quality sound- for a professional price- you can't go wrong with the VAF Octavio 1z Speaker System. It's priced at a jaw-droppingly steep $500, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. The top cradle securely holds your Zune and gives 100 watts of amplification. Inside its black box you get an 8 inch bass driver, two 5.25 woofers and 2 fluid damped fabric domes tweeters. In addition to stellar sound, the VAF Octavio 1z Speaker System also has a video output connection for connecting the system to a TV, a video game console or a DVD player so you can enjoy great sound with all of your multimedia devices.

The VAF Octavio 1z Speaker System also features a full featured remote control to operate your Zune from across the room. All of these powerful features come in a huge package. The  VAF Octavio 1z Speaker System is 23 inches long and almost 11 inches high, so make sure you clear off plenty of shelf space if you are planning on bringing this one home. It also weighs 23 pounds, so don't mistake this for a portable unit.

If you are just looking for a garden variety speaker system that doesn't charge your Zune, there are a lot more options open to you. Many speaker systems offer line-in cords so that they are compatible with any mp3 player with a headphone jack. The Logitech mm28 Speakers provide impressive sound from a tiny package and are compatible with all audio devices, including the Zune, the iPod and portable CD players. At just 13 inches long and 1.2 inches thick, the Logitech mm28 Speakers can go wherever you do. They retail for just under $50.

For a slightly less expensive option, try the Coby CS-MP47 Portable Stereo Speaker System. These can be had for around $30. They fold up so they are super portable, and for the size and price, they push out decent sound. They feature Neodymium Micro Drives aluminum cone speakers and can run off of 4 AA batteries. They do drain the batteries pretty fast, so it would be a good idea to invest in a set of rechargeable batteries if you buy the Cody Speaker System. There is an enclosed AC adapter so you can listen to your Zune with your Coby Speaker System at home. Overall this, is a well designed little speaker set for a cheap price. It is a good compromise between price, sound quality and portability.

iHome also makes great speaker for most mp3 players. While they are designed to work best with Apple's iPod, they also work with the Zune. The system will not charge your Zune, so for the price you will be left with an expensive iPod charger that just so happens to play your Zune songs, but it is small enough to fit in the tiniest apartment and loud enough to make your neighbors complain. The iHome IH14D AM/FM Table Radio retails for $70. It is seldom on sale, so for the budget conscious this may not be the best option. It has a wood grain case so it fits in with more traditional décor, but at only 8 inches by 5 inches by 4 inches, it will hardly call attention to itself until you turn it on.

Cheaper options include the easily available $10 sets that run off of batteries, but these should only be used as a last resort. Your Zune deserves better sound than these cheap speakers can provide. You can find these speakers everywhere from Wal-Mart to Amazon to your local dollar store from a variety of brands. The advantage to these speakers is their low price point and light weight. If they are damaged or broken, they are priced so low that you can just throw them away. If you child has a Zune, these would make good first speakers until he or she proved they were responsible enough for a nicer set.

With all of the great speaker options available for the Microsoft Zune, it's time to take your digital audio player out of your pocket and give it the prominent place it deserves in your home audio system.



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