How Speakers Outlasted Three U.S. Presidents
In the past 16 years, I've lived in four homes in two states. I've had three cars. As the editor of a computer magazine, I've owned so many PCs and related products—good, bad and indifferent—that I'm not even going to try and remember them all. Even many of the best, most useful gadgets have had shelf lives measurable in months: cell phones, for instance, are changing so rapidly that the cool phone I bought earlier this year has already been repeatedly outclassed by newer handsets available from the same carrier.
So it's a pleasant surprise that one item of tech equipment that I happily used in 1994 is still happily in use in 2010: My Bose MediaMate ® PC speakers. They're just as pleasing a complement to my Core™2 Duo machine as they were to the 486 box I used back during the first Clinton administration. If I replace the Core™2 Duo system with something even fancier in a year or two, I don't even need to wonder whether they'll be compatible with it.
I didn't set out to acquire speakers that would serve me so well for so long when I got the MediaMates. All I wanted was to make my CD-ROMs sound good. Back then, the MP3 revolution was still to come, so I didn't listen to songs much on a computer. Come to think of it, much of my music collection was still on cassettes.
Of course, not every pair of 1994 speakers sounded good: Then, as now, there were plenty of models that sounded pretty darn crummy. The MediaMates cost quite a bit, but they turned out to be a far better value than wimpier, cheaper speakers I would have been itching to replace within a year or two.
There are speakers out there that offer things these don't, from flat-panel designs to massive subwoofers. For me, though, the Boses remain just right. At this point, I can't see myself ditching them for more modern replacements. If I ever retire them, it'll likely be because the era of the desktop PC has clearly ended, at least for me.