AVLabs AVL314A review: AVLabs AVL314A

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Very low cost. Reasonably balanced sound.

The Bad Not much bass. Some mid-range colouration.

The Bottom Line Far from high fidelity, the AVLabs AVL314A USB-powered speakers are still a big improvement over most notebook speakers, and cost almost nothing.

Don't Miss

The AVLabs AVL314A USB-powered speakers are separate left and right units with built-in desk stands. Their ends are shiny black plastic, while the speakers are covered by clothe grilles. They are clearly lightweight in construction. The speaker without the additional electronics weighed just 152 grams. Each speaker contains a 25mm driver behind its removable grille.

All the wiring is fixed, with four cables going into one of the speakers, one of them connecting to the other.

The instructions inside the box only vaguely referred to the actual speakers, with some of them seemingly related to a totally different system.

The signal is input as analog via the 3.3mm stereo socket. The unit also has a 3.5mm headphone output and, surprisingly, a 3.5mm microphone input. This last is simply an extension, since a cable at the back of the speaker can connect this to the computer's regular microphone input.

Set-up and cartage

Set-up is obviously simple: just add in two cables for audio playback. I'd skip the microphone connection and your mic plug right into the computer. Microphone signal levels are so low that all in-line variables should be eliminated if at all possible.

When it comes to telling left from right, ignore the picture above. In the absence of left/right markings on the speakers, I ran a simple test signal to determine that the unit with the volume knob and most of the cables is the right-hand speaker.

The power button seems to be a conventional hard-wired unit, so when switched off the system should draw no power from your computer. Likewise, the volume knob felt like an old-fashioned analog unit.

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Where to Buy

AVLabs AVL314A

Part Number: CNETAVLabs AVL314A

Typical Price: $14.95

See manufacturer website for availability.