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Published on September 24th, 2015 | by Greg

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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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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