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Making Portable Music With Saitek

Introduction

The laws of physics are unyielding, and one of them says that there's simply no way to reproduce low-frequency sound with tiny loudspeakers. Fortunately, Saitek apparently never studied physics! The company has opted for 2.1 speaker systems, finding clever ways to produce bass while keeping their products' size and weight in check to avoid reducing their sales appeal. Slated to be released this fall, both kits we tested are portable and can use either standard or rechargeable batteries, but they also ship with an AC power supply that lets you save the batteries when you're near an electrical outlet.

Saitek A-200: An MP3 Player's Best Friend

At first glance, you may not realize what the Saitek A-200 is. Its somewhat odd shape falls somewhere between a flying saucer and a boomerang, and with its glossy black finish and red and gold decorations, it's no wallflower! The on/off device is very clever too: You press the large black area on the upper surface, which then pops up about an inch. This expansion provides the loading volume needed by the bass-reproduction system - you couldn't exactly call it a "subwoofer enclosure" but the idea is somewhat similar. It's a smart way of keeping the unit's volume small for transport; press on the projection again and it re-enters the unit's body and turns it off.

An LED shows when the power is on, and the controls are limited to two buttons for volume adjustment. On the back are a 1/8" (3.5 mm) jack for the line input, and the connector for the AC power supply. The cable for connection to the player and a carrying case are supplied, and everything is designed for ease of use.

The speaker system uses two microdrives designed by Mission - a brand well known to high-fidelity buffs - and a woofer with a downward throw. So you'll need to set the A-200 on a surface that doesn't absorb sound.

Saitek A-200 Technical Characteristics