If there is one thing that can be said about the iPad it’s that the built-in speaker is not the best for enjoying a rich sound experience whether it be music, games, or movies, or even watching a rented TV show. One of the nice things about the iPad are the multimedia abilities and this almost always involves sound. You might wonder why you would use a separate speaker with the iPad and here are a few great scenarios:
- In your office for much better sound
- In the den or a separate room for music or internet radio
- In the living room or game room for a better gaming experience
- In a child’s room for audio books read outloud
- At a meeting when you are using web conferencing
These are just a few of the ways you can take advantage of some great iPad speakers. But what are the various types of iPad speakers you can get? Actually there are a few. And here they are:
- External wired iPad speakers
- External bluetooth (wireless) speakers
- Speaker docks
- Portable speakers
- Airplay speakers & receivers
External (wired) iPad Speakers
External, wired speakers are easy to setup and use. Basically, these are a set of speakers with volume controls and other various controls such as bass, treble, and sometimes equalizers that also have a 3.5mm audio-in port. The way this works is that you get a 3.5mm audio cable and plug it into your iPad’s headphone port and then the other end into the speaker. Now, whenever sound comes out of your iPad, it can be heard from the speakers instead of the iPad.
Portable iPad Speakers
Portable iPad speakers are usually cheaper, and are more mobile. And because of this, they do not always produce the kind of sound you can get with stationary speakers but for something on-the-go they aren’t too bad at all. You would use these types of speakers for trips, or just taking with you to the office or school. Using them is just the same as with the external wired speakers. You use a 3.5mm audio cable and plug one end into the iPad headphone jack and the other end directly into the speaker.
Here is an article we did of the top four rated portable iPad speakers. As you can see, they are all very much portable and a lot smaller.
iPad Speaker Docks
iPad speaker docks are an interesting concept. They are much the same as any other speaker but with these, you plug the iPad directly into the entire unit. Have you ever seen an iPod or iPhone speaker dock? This is the same concept but the iPad actually plugs into it using the same connector you plug the power into (the 30-pin dock connector).
These are newer on the market and there are not a ton of them but they do produce great sound and the advantage is that you do not have to get an audio cable. Just plug in the iPad and that’s it. One thing with these is that some come with rechargeable batteries. It’s great but they don’t usually last too long so just be aware to fully charge it if you are taking them with you. For stationary use, just use the wall plug and that’s about all there is to it.
Some of these units have additional features such as clocks, weather, and there are some like the Jenson jips 250 that have their own dedicated app which displays the weather, an alarm clock and more when you plug in the iPad.
iPad Bluetooth Speakers
Bluetooth speakers are also known as wireless speakers and they are some of the newest out on the market. These are fairly desirable because of the lack of wires but they can also be the mot problematic due to interference. If you are looking for convenience then these are perfect – but if you are looking for clear, crisp audio then you might consider one of the other types of speakers just so you are not disappointed.
Typically these speakers are smaller for portability and they do offer good sound it’s just safe to know that there can be times where the sounds cuts out or there is interference from other devices. To use these types of speakers it is typically very easy. You turn on Bluetooth on your iPad and then there is usually a “pairing” process you will go through in order to get them to see each other. Once that happens, you can listen to music without plugging your iPad into anything at all!
Here is a great article we wrote all about iPad Bluetooth Speakers so you can see what some of them look like and what they cost.
Airplay Speakers & Receivers
Airplay speakers are the newest form of speaker to arrive since iOS 4.2 was released. These are specialized speakers and receiver systems that will allow you to stream music and sound from your iPad to the speaker without the need for Bluetooth and they work with the existing Airplay service built into iOS 4.2. We wrote about some receivers and a speaker or two but be aware the receivers are not cheap!
And here is the latest Airplay Receiver from Pioneer which is a must have for your home theater.
And here is an article on iPad AirPlay Speaker options and workarounds, plus one official AirPlay stereo system from Denon.