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From Maplin comes a small audio device in the form of this deluxe pillow speaker. Designed to allow users to listen to music or other audio while in bed. The speaker is pretty small, but thankfully the audio cable (with 3.5mm connector) is rather long. This ensures that you can easily connect to another device such as mp3 player or laptop without them having to be on your bed or right next to you. Build quality is high considering the cost, it's constructed of ridged plastic and there's a good seal over the audio plug. Worth noting and a great feature is that it doesn't require any batteries to work, drawing power from the host device like normal earphones. Saves on cost, saves on the environment, and keeps the weight down, what else could be better. But now to the point - it does work, in that you can place it under your pillow and it provides a good volume, (and the sound quality is pretty good.) It doesn't really work when it's under more than one pillow as the sound becomes pretty muffled. However it is possible to feel the speaker under the pillow when your head is resting on it, I imagine that you'll would probably get used to it and it's not overly noticeable. Another drawback is that the volume on the speaker (even when you don't change it) varies depending on what playback device your using. For example music is louder from my HTC phone that it is my MP3 player and both a different from the volume on my laptop. It's only a minor annoyance as it means you have to readjust the volume to your ideal setting each time you plug it in to a new device. Despite it being a pillow speaker you can use it in other locations, such as in the bathroom, or have it sitting on your computer desk. In theory the idea behind this is pretty sound (no pun intended) after all if you want to listen to music or audio-books in bed, having to use earphones or headphones can get uncomfortable quickly, not to forget getting yourself tangled in wires. I image that it is also idea for those who have difficulty sleeping and want something playing in the background to sooth them off to slumber. Considering it's good value for money and can by found from retailers usually for less than a tenner, there's not much to fault and is pretty worth considering despite a few minor problems. (I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
I got this speaker because I like listening to music and audio books when I can't sleep sometimes but the boyfriend likes a quiet room and wearing earphones is uncomfortable while trying to sleep. The pillow speaker came from Maplin and cost £9.99 minus my 5% student discount. This comes as a small triangular ish shaped box which is the actual speaker and it has a wire extending from it which ends in a 3.5mm jack which is the same as headphones and it easily plugs into headphone sockets on things like hifis, ipods, phones and computers. The cable on this speaker is ace. It is 1.8m long and this is good because it means it can be connected to the computer without the computer being on the bed. This can be slightly annoying though as I tend to keep my ipod in my bed and having the long wire means it can easily get tangled and I have been scared that while turning in bed this could get trapped around my neck etc. This obviously hasn't happened but it is worth thinking about if you are giving this to a child. The thing that I have found with this is that the volume doesn't stay constant. This is to be expected when listening to different musics which have been recorded differently but when listening to audio books the story should be at the same volume. It really isn't though. I have found that twiddling the wire can make the volume change but as this is a speaker designed to be used under a pillow, you should be able to hear it from under a pillow. It also shouldn't have any loose connections but I think that mine does. This shouldn't dissuade you from trying the pillow speaker but just watch it as it is seriously annoying and I won't be buying this one again. I am even going to see if I can take this one back as it to me there is nothing worse than trying to sleep and using a sleep aid which annoys you and makes it even harder to sleep! As the speaker works just like headphones it doesn't use any power which is really good. It is also really easy to use, literally just plug it in and you're away. No on/off switches or anything required. Apparantly people who have tinnitus can use these pillow speakers to get some relief. They are meant to attach it to a turned off radio station but I don't really know enough about this and I don't have tinnitus.
A couple of months ago I started to have trouble sleeping as I could hear a lot of irritating sounds at night. At first I figured it was something electrical in my house, however having unplugged everything I couldn't locate it, and decided it could be machinery nearby which my, admittedly extremely sensitive hearing, had picked up. At my wit's end, I decided to try out a pillow speaker, in the hopes that I could use white noise or some other relaxing sound to cover up whatever I was hearing, and help me get a good night's sleep. Not being convinced it would work, I didn't want to spend a fortune, and after some searching online came across the Maplin's Deluxe Pillow Speaker. It is priced now at £8.99, which is very reasonable compared with similar products elsewhere, although I believe at the time I paid perhaps even less. The speaker is very simple to use. It is a sort-of triangular shape with a long cable which fits most standard headphone jacks (eg on an iPod). You simply pop the speaker under your pillow, and press play on whatever device you want to listen to. It is completely passive, taking no battery or power, which is a huge plus. The cable length means that if you want to plug it into your stereo, it will most likely still reach to underneath your pillow even if it's not in close proximity in the room to your bed. For me, this isn't the case, and I do need to do a little careful winding so that it's not all over the place and I don't strangle myself in my sleep! I downloaded a few white noise tracks and put them onto my iPod, plus a few "relaxing" ones such as a beach and a thunderstorm. Then I popped the speaker under my pillow and pressed play. Well, I wasn't impressed, because I could barely hear anything at all even with my iPod at full blast, unless I had my head pressed so tightly against the pillow it would be a) impossible to sleep and b) pretty uncomfortable. I shuffled the speaker around a little and tried over- and under-the-pillow, with little difference. Then I tried playing a different track from my iPod, of music, and I could hear it perfectly well. So, herein lies the problem. The volume of the individual track must be loud enough, which may take some fiddling on the computer if you're using an iPod (it is possible to make things be louder than their "natural state"), but could be impossible if you're using a stereo or other audio device. I had no idea that things which didn't sound remotely quiet using headphones would be so hushed on this. I will not blame the speaker for the natural volume of tracks it has absolutely no control over, but my first impressions were slightly disappointing. After I figured out how to tweak it, I can use the speaker well although I didn't find it especially easy to sleep with. It is perfectly comfortable, but I just found it a bit distracting. That of course is different for everybody, and I should point out that its under-the-pillow location means that a sleeping partner should not be bothered by it. I do sometimes use the speaker during the day or in the evening before I sleep to listen to music, and I enjoy it as an alternative to headphones which can make my ears a bit sore after prolonged use. However, I don't use it as a sleep aid any more. For £8.99, it's still worth giving it a try. It's size means you can even use it as a make-shift travel speaker and for those who are less distractable, it may well work as it is intended! You can buy the speaker from Maplin's stores or online.