Sound Studio Auxiliary Speaker System
to the folks at Radio4You
I had the opportunity to give the Hisonic HS-668 Sound Studio a try.
The Sound Studio is an amplified speaker system that offers a variety
of uses in addition to putting it to work as an external speaker for
your favorite tabletop or portable radio that may be lacking in ample
volume and/or good fidelity.
Power: 12v DC (supplied power supply @ 1 amp)
Speakers: Stereo - 2 @ 7 watts (from manual)
Dimensions: (inches) 8-7/8" wide x 4-1/2"high x 5-1/4"
External Speaker for radio or portable MP3 player
MP3 player - USB port on front of speaker for use with a Mini Flash
Record Line Out Jack
USB input 5.1 sound card built in for use with a laptop computer or
Driving The Sound Studio Since
many portable radios usually lack in any sort of either good fidelity
or adequate volume, I decided first to give the Sound Studio a test
drive with a few small portables to hear how well it sounded and responded.
a suggestion of caution. If you plan to feed the Sound Studio (or
any other amplified speaker system for that matter) with a portable
radio or any other audio source through the headphone output jack,
check to be sure the volume is turned down first. Having the volume
level set at a high level could possibly damage the speaker. A good
rule of thumb is to start at a low volume and work your way up to
a comfortable audio level.
of the Sound Studio was quite good with the portables. The Sound Studio
seemed to sound some what better with radios that have a ~line out~
or ~record out~ jack on the radio. Radios such as the Kaito KA1103,
Sony ICF-7600G and Sangean ATS-909 produced very good results with
a robust sound. Since this is a stereo amplified speaker, tuning these
radios while in FM stereo mode sounded even better. The only radio
that I used for testing that did not meet my expectations was the
Degen DE1102. I do not blame the Sound Studio for this as the headphone
output volume at max on my DE1102 has always been disappointingly
next step was to try the Sound Studio on a table top. Many table tops
are notoriously poor audio performers when using the radio's internal
speaker. For that I decided to try the Sound Studio out on the Drake
R8B which did very well. As with the portables, the Sound Studio's
tone control could be catered to my taste. I tend to bring down the
tone while listening on shortwave to cut out some of the hisses and
nice use for the Sound Studio is to hook it up to other portable audio
devices. While you could use a portable CD or MD player, I used my
portable MP3 player that I seem to be carrying around more and more
these days when I am not listening to "live radio".
all the stereo audio quality of the Sound Studio is quite nice and
comes close to that of my mono Tivoli Model One. The Sound Studio
set at high to medium volume level is enough to fill a room with adequate
bass response with not too much distortion depending on your audio
source. Build quality doesn't appear to be too shabby either. The
knobs tune smoothly and the MP3 player control buttons don't wobble.
Keep in mind these are 7 watt speakers so don't expect to have a disco
party in your living room with this speaker.
Other Useful Features Using
the various modes of the Sound Studio requires moving a 3 position
switch located on the back of the unit. The switch is labeled:
* Flash Drive/MP3 - for using the built in MP3 Player (see below)
* Audio In - for when using the Sound Studio as an external speaker
for your radio or other audio source
* USB Sound Card - for use as a PC speaker
in MP3 Player
nice feature of the sound studio is the built in but rather crude
MP3 player. I say crude because there is no track LCD display and
only limited play functions. Only simple functions are available -
Previous - Next - Play/Pause. The MP3 player sources audio files via
the USB port located on the front of the Sound Studio. I tried the
MP3 function out with a 512 MB Mini Flash Drive. I just copied the
audio files from my computer to the Mini Flash Drive's root directory
and plugged stick in to the Sound Studio and then hit play. It's a
simple as that. My personal advice on using the MP3 function with
the Sound Studio is not to spend the extra money for a Mini Flash
Drive larger than 256 MB. Why? Since there is no LCD track display,
it can be a bit time consuming to navigate to any particular file
that you may wish to hear. Finding the file you wish to hear involves
listening to the start of each individual file. It appears that the
Sound Studio plays the MP3 files in the order which they were transferred
to the Mini Flash Drive. If you plan on using the MP3 player for music
all the time or really don't care about finding any particular file
at a given time then get the Mini Flash Drive of your choice. Of course
you can get a larger Mini Flash Drive and just limit the number of
files you transfer on to it.
Record Line Out Jack
On the back of the Sound Studio in a Record Line Out Jack for use
with an analog recording device such as a cassette player or MP3 recorder.
This is a nice feature for those who use a radio that does not offer
an audio line out source and must use the headphone jack to record
audio and thus sacrificing the ability to listen to the program while
recording. With the Sound Studio you are able to record and listen
to the audio at the same time by using the Record Line Out Jack.
The Sound Studio can also be used as a USB stereo speaker for a notebook
PC or for a desktop PC by connecting the included USB cable and installing
the sound shaping software (supplied with the Sound Studio). The sound
through the Sound Studio is much better than what a notebook PC can
produce with it's internal speakers. Multi speaker emulation is included
in the software so the sound from a DVD movie can be listened to in
virtual 5.1 channel with the two speakers inside the Sound Studio.
The speaker can also be connected to any PC through the EXT speaker
jack with the stereo extension cable.
It's Got The Look
At first glance the Sound Studio looks very much like the attractive
and successful Tivoli Model One. This probably was no accident. Even
the tuning knobs and speaker grill appear to be somewhat similar.
The only vague physical difference is that the Sound Studio's cabinet
is made of a wood composite with a veneer cover and the Tivoli is
made of stained wood.
With it's attractive look, the Sound Studio's versatility as an external
speaker, MP3 player and it's stereo computer audio interface is perhaps
it's strongest feature. Combining the three main audio processing
functions into one compact unit that produces impressive audio makes
the accessory worth considering.