Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

1980s Sony Portable Square Speakers Rock As Hard As Round Ones

Sony-spkrs-HLINThis may be a dangerous topic to bring up, but the youth simply doen't know how to party. I've been to get-togethers thrown by well-intentioned millennials who don't seem to understand how exactly a party is supposed to jam. Maybe I should be grateful since I live in a building filled with college students, but... man! We really need to drop some serious knowledge on what music is supposed to sound like.

I'm not even talking about their music choices (though I'll say that dubstep is for when you're all up in da club, not sitting around playing X-box). I'm talking about amplitude. Too often I've seen an iPod connected to a standalone dock with speakers the size of a nickel. Or music hissing out of  laptop speakers. That's not a party. Sure, those solutions are far more portable than my 4 foot high speaker towers (which one of the millennials in my life laughingly labeled "old school"), but it pretty much sounds like you're taking your favorite tunes and frying them up in a pan.

Speaker-handleHow about a compromise? Sony rolled out these portable speakers something like 30 years ago for around $100US. The Walkman revolutionized portable personal music, and these little speakers are the other half of the bargain - sharing your mixtapes with rest of the world.

The APM-090 speaker pair plug into any 1/8" jack (sorry - these speakers are decades too early for bluetooth), have a nice weight to them, and feature those mysterious square Sony speakers from the 80s. We've written about similar speakers before, and my conclusion wasn't a good one. Our readers wrote in to stick up for Sony's unusual square speakers, and they were right. There must have been something wrong with that other pair, because these little guys sound really good an they get really loud.

If you plug a music source into the speakers, you'll hear a little something, but the magic happens when you switch to using the internal amplifiers. The APM-090 can run off of wall power (so you hipster kids  have to use your artisinal AC adapter), or four C sized batteries. There's even room inside to tuck away the cords - nice touch. What looks like a second battery compartment on speaker #2 is actually just spare battery storage (which also meant that Sony could cheap out and use the same mold for both speakers.)

Small minuses - no volume control on the speakers themselves, and no off switch. The speakers automatically power down after a few minutes of not receiving a signal (a trend that a lot of current devices  follow, and I dislike). Also the foam inside the battery compartments has turned to tar, but that's true of a lot of electronics from the era. These little boxes kick out the tunes, and with the square speakers look sleek doing it. Ebay has these (and many other styles) pretty often in the $30-60 range, and I'd say it's money well spent.

The coolest thing about these speakers (besides the square speaker cones - I did mention that, right?) is they tote around on a special custom bracket. The speakers are really locked in there with a screw mechanism that you undo with a coin. Youth of the world, if you're going to bring the tunes to a party, and you can't be bothered to do the right thing and bring along a giant 80s boom box, won't you at least the AMP-090 speakers? You'll look SO indie rock, while actually enjoying your music at an audible level.


 the bald guy with the good speakers in 2A


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