The beauty of desktop speaker sets is that their universal connectivity (usually via a standard 3.5mm plug) makes them suitable for use with MP3 players and other audio devices in a pinch. Of course, many of the models on the market aren't exactly inspiring in the looks department. One exception to this rule is the JBL Duet II, a pair of "space-age" desktop speakers that retail for about $100.
We've always been rather fond of JBL's futuristic designs, and the Duet II speakers are no exception. The package contains a pair of drives that looks rather like docked space shuttles.
A circular base supports a tapered end that bulges out to form a cylinder that slightly tapers again at the top. The front of each speaker is wrapped in a silver clothe grille that is emblazoned with the JBL logo.
The back of the Duet II is encased in glossy black plastic, and the unit is a bit on the large side for a desktop unit, with the base of each measuring 4 inches in diameter and the mini towers themselves standing 10.5 inches tall.
Sprouting from the back of the JBL Duet II speakers are a variety of cables, which arouse our only design complaint. The wires give an overall messy look unless skillfully hidden among your desktop system and are a bit of an annoyance to deal with during setup.
Coming off the left speaker alone, you have three cables: one for power, one to attach to the right speaker, and one for the audio source. The right tower features just one cable to connect it to the left. On the plus side, the overall length of 7.5 feet should be plenty for most setups.
The audio source cable, which terminates in a silver-plated 3.5mm straight plug, measures 58 inches. You can control volume both from the source and via a knob on the top of the left speaker.