Up at the top of your iPad is a little port for a headphone jack. It allows you to plug in your favorite headphones and enjoy music, videos, etc. But did you know that it can do a lot more? It sure can. You can use that 3.5mm headphone jack to send sound right out to some nice speakers. This means that you can enjoy music in full, robust stereo sound. But what are the best speakers to get for your iPad?
Whether you are a student going back to school or have your iPad at work in an office or you use it at home, there are times when it would be nice to listen to your music on some nice speakers as opposed to headphones or that dreaded speaker that is on the bottom of the iPad. It’s a great little speaker, but lacks true stereo sound and is not ideal to really enjoy music and/or radio.
The best speakers for the iPad are those that offer good, quality sound at an affordable price. As with anything electronic there are the extremes. You can spend thousands of dollars on desktop speakers or you can pick some up for $10. We searched several independent sites and gathered, what we feel, are the best speakers for the iPad that are both highly rated and priced well. As always, your mileage may vary due to your own audiophile needs but for the majority of those looking to get the best speakers for their iPad we feel these are pretty darn good. At the bottom of this article is a convenient table showing each one with dimensions and pricing so you can compare.
The Best Speakers For The iPad
Here are some top-rated desktop speakers for your iPad. Generally speaking, these are meant to be stationary. They stay indoors and don’t travel well. However, they do offer the better quality of sound you might be seeking and they are also generally a better sounding option. Most of these speakers are larger in size and meant for staying in one place. They also have the best sound. We also have a great review of the best portable speakers for the iPad.
These are a great 4 out of 5 star rated set of speakers. The are powered which means they plug into the wall and they also do not need a subwoofer. They deliver phenomenal sound and feature two audio inputs and two integrated charging options (one USB port, one AC plug). They are great looking and have a version that is bamboo (for more money). They are 10 inches high by 7 inches wide and 7.9 inches deep. Each as a 5-inch Kevlar woofer and a 20mm silk dome tweeter. Since the left speaker houses the amplifier (50 watts per channel), it’s a bit heavier than the right speaker.
Now, the nice thing about these is definitely the high-quality of sound but also the fact that there is a 3.5mm aux input on top of the left speaker. This means you can easily connect your iPad without a lot of adapters or headaches. In order to connect your iPad you will need a cable with a 1/8th inch minijack on both ends. Here is one that Monster offers for $14.95. Monster iCable 800 (3 Feet)
- Phenomenal sound
- Solid, high quality construction
- Two audio inputs/two integrated charging options
- Big, rich sound with deep tight bass and excellent clarity
- Play very loud
- Cost ($325 and $425 for the bamboo ones)
- No remote control
Bottom Line: It will be hard for you to find a better quality sounding set of speakers in this price range. They are nice looking (especially the bamboo ones) and don’t require a lot of extra cables or setup.
Check out the Audioengine A5 Powered Multimedia System (Black) on Amazon
M-Audio Studiophile AV 40
Another 4-star rated set of speakers these ones are a little larger than the Audioengine’s, but they offer great-quality sound. They are perfect for music and movies and are powered with a very simple setup and choice of connections. Most of the people that rated these speakers say that they “sound big” even though they are not that large.
They consist of a pair of 8.75-inch tall desktop speakers. They are 6-inches wide and have a depth of 7.25 inches. And….they weigh in at 14 pounds (each). The tweeter and woofer are covered with black mesh grilles. They have a matte-finish and are vinyl-wrapped so they feel and look more like hi-fi speakers than the usual plastic ones. The left speaker speaker is easy to identify because it has a volume knob with a blue light on it.
For the inputs, the left speaker has stereo RCA inputs and when it is combined with the included 3.5mm adapter you can connect your iPad quickly and easily.
- Makes a bigger-than-average sound
- Large 4-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter
- 20 watts per speaker
- Rock solid construction
- Bass boost
- Larger in size
The bottom line on these is that they are a great set of speakers for the iPad for music and movies. They look and feel like hi-fi speakers at a much less cost. A great way to enjoy all of the media content from your iPad without spending a ton of money.
Check out the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Powered Speakers on Amazon
Harmon Kardon Soundsticks II
Some of the best speakers for iPad are the Harmon Kardon’s. They have been around for a long time making very nice speakers. Back in 2000 they released the original soundsticks which got fairly good reviews. Now, they are back with the Soundsticks 2 3-piece speaker system which is a great 2.1-channel set of speakers. The first thing you will notice about the Soundsticks 2 is the design. They are crystal clear and look pretty darn amazing on your desk.
These speakers for your iPad are rich in sound and great on price. They come with two speakers and a subwoofer and the ability to plug your iPad right in with the Monster iCable 800 (or similar). There are two transparent 10-watt speakers (less power than the two above), each equipped with four 1-inch drivers and a 20-watt subwoofer with a nice blue internal power indicator.
The drums and bass on these are what you will notice as the most glorious part of the sound. It has a round low end with crisp definition in the low mids and high mids which all really means that you get some darn great sound out of 2.1 speakers. The sound is much better than expected for 2.1 so it’s not just great looks these best speakers for the iPad carry. The only complaint so far is the strange volume buttons which you touch to raise and lower the volume as opposed to turning a knob. Also there is no headphone jack.
- Ultraclear sound quality (great bass and drums)
- Unique design
- Platform-neutral minijack connector
- No headphone jack
- No visual indicator of volume level
The bottom line is that this is one of the best speakers for the iPad if you want to spend a bit less but get high quality design and sound. It does have 3 pieces instead of two and thus it’s more wires, but for a 2.1 channel system it delivers on sound.
Get the Harman/Kardon SoundSticks III here on Amazon
Altec Lansing FX3022
If you like bass and you are looking for a smaller more portable set of speakers for your iPad, then these might be just what you want to get. This is a unique set of iPad speakers because Altec Lansing took what would normally be a separate subwoofer and placed it in the bottom of each speaker. You get great bass without a 3rd piece of equipment (and less wiring).
These have a sort of retro futuristic look that is perfect for a dorm-room desk or an office (or home too). They are just a little over 10 inches tall with a diameter of about 5 inches at the base. These iPad speakers are finished with a glossy, piano black and silver finish. They have a 1.5-inch driver with 4 inch subs.
The two speakers are hard-wired to each other with a 6-foot cord and a 3.5mm minijack on the back. They also include an auxiliary input for easy connection of your iPad with a cable such as the Monster iCable 800 (mentioned above).
The bass is great but the treble has been noted to be pretty brash – it’s not unbearable but it can irritate those with sensitive ears. Also, for music the sound is described as kind of “loose” and not as tight as it could be, but for gaming and movies this is where they really shine. Perhaps you could grab a netflix movie on your iPad and project it using our VGA Cable Guide article and grab a few friends and watch some movies.
- Impressive design
- Subwoofers built into each one
- Suited to gaming and movie watching
- Aggressive treble and no remote
The bottom line is that these are some of the best iPad speakers for games and movies. They are great iPad speakers for music if you don’t mind the treble being a little aggressive but are great for those deep, rich Bass sounds.
Check out the Altec Lansing FX3022 Expressionist Speakers here on Amazon
Logitech Speaker System Z520
For those that want to spend a little less but still get great sound out of a pair of speakers, these Logitech’s pass the best speakers for iPad test. These have some really nice features and qualities as well. They not only look good but they are light, and fit into almost any space.
They have a feature which allows for the sound to come out at a full 360-degrees which makes it a rich audio detail with amplified two-way designs for clear, defined bass and great mid-range/highs. They have a total of 26 Watts of power so they are not as powerful at the systems above but plenty of sound and power for a small room/office. Of course, they have an auxiliary input for your iPad. These come in at 10 inches high by 9.8 inches wide and weigh around 6 pounds.
- Great design and sound
- Lightweight and convenient
- Perfect for general use (music, games, movies)
- Treble can be a little too aggressive for some types of music
Bottom line is these make the best speakers for the iPad if you want a much cheaper investment and a lot less to carry around and deal with. They are for the casual listener and not the audiophile. They do deliver clear, rich bass and great sound for the price and feature set as well as a nice 360-degree audio feature.
Get the Logitech Speaker System Z520 here on Amazon
Sonos Multi-Room Music System
If you are looking for something that is truly a music experience and you want to explore a multi-room music system that is controlled by your iPad, then you might want to check out our Sonos iPad Controller review.
Best Speakers For iPad Comparison Table
|Audioengine 5||M-Audio Studiophile AV 40||Soundsticks II||Altec Lansing FX3022||Logitech Z520|
|Dimensions||10 x 7.8 Inches||8.75 x 7.25 Inches||16 x 12 Inches||12.2 x 6.9 Inches||10 x 9.8 Inches|
|Weight||28 Pounds||16 Pounds||1.1 Pounds||5.9 Pounds||6 Pounds|
|Power||100 Watts Total (50 per channel)||40 Watts Total (20 per speaker)||40 Watts Total||25 Watts Total||26 Watts Total|
|Color(s)||Black, White, Bamboo||Black (Vinyl)||Clear||Black, White||Black|
Are you looking for headphones? Click here to learn more best headphones for iPad.
Originally posted 2010-08-20 16:24:53.