Published on September 24th, 2015 | by Greg0
Yamaha’s TSX-B141: A Throwback Nightstand Speaker
When was the last time you listened to music from a CD? Do you want, rely on, or miss having an AM/FM radio in your kitchen or bedroom? We suspect that for many younger folks, the answer is a resounding negative- the response was basically confusion when we polled twenty-somethings in New York City in a very unscientific poll. A few of the hipper individuals expressed their love for analog audio, have a solid collection of vinyl, and need a record player. For most everyone else, their music library was digital files on computers, tablets, and smartphones, or streaming sources- outside of the car, where radio still was the most common audio source.
But not everyone is an urban twentysomething- there are plenty of audiences that want a cute countertop, desktop, or nightstand audio system. The classic clock/radio combination is a little too old-school, though, so Yamaha created the new TSX-B141- a multi-purpose, multi-function unit that combines some of the modern needs (Bluetooth wireless) into a good-looking little guy that also offers features for mom, dad, and even the older folks. The feature set ranges from a built-in CD player and AM/FM radio to NFC for simple pairing with compatible devices, along with aptX connectivity for high-definition Bluetooth audio. And yes, there is a digital clock and an alarm function too. Yamaha is a brand with a long history, and we’ve liked their home theater gear greatly.
Unfortunately, there isn’t Airplay or other whole-home, multi-room support included in the TSX-B141 (it’s missing PlayFi, Sonos, or even any of the other custom protocols that we’ve seen). That limits it’s usefulness greatly for many, since it will likely be the sole speaker in a given location- and if you’re going to pick one to occupy your nightstand, you might as well choose one with those capabilities. Especially considering the price tag- there are great compact speakers with many of the same functions available at a fraction of the cost. Yamaha did a lovely job on the build quality, and the audio is pretty decent for a stereo speaker this size- but at 30 watts, it won’t drive a party. Granted, the TSX-B141 includes a handy remote control, but there was little about the unit that felt premium or even current- the Squeezebox we tested out long ago sounded better and offered network play at a lower cost (and a friendlier design as well). For folks who need a CD player, there are definitely fewer options these days, and this one is certainly easy on the eyes and ears.
But it’s hard on the wallet, and that’s a serious handicap with the current competitive landscape (even the Geneva Model S costs less, and looks/sounds better). We haven’t tested a comparable wireless speaker with a CD player, to be fair, and this one does allow you to connect a USB drive (though only WMA and MP3 files are supported). The front headphone port is interesting and potentially very useful for some environments, like beside so you won’t disturb a partner. Available now, the three colors are lovely- champagne, red, and black. Purchase the Yamaha TSX-B141 Desktop Audio System now online or in stores, for around $400.