My garage has seen an influx of badass Yamaha toys lately from the motorsports and musical side of the Japanese manufacturer. First I snagged a used YZ125 that keeps me grinning like an idiot. I love working on it too because it’s so easy and affordable. But, the added shop time made me realize I needed another Yamaha noise maker. Nothing makes wrenching better than some good tunes, so I snagged the Yamaha PDX-11 speaker system and have been rocking out ever since.
Yamaha had this little bad boy on hand during our time in Central Oregon for the 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700R First Ride. The PDX-11 ($129.95) is a portable speaker that’s designed to accept an iPod or iPhone. (Supported Equipment: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, iPod video (5th gen. iPod), iPod classic, iPod nano and iPod touch). Some of the PDX-11 features might not work with other electronics. I have one of the original iPods and it works fine except for the remote control. But, right next to the power jack is a 3.5mm stereo mini jack so I run Pandora through my Droid-powered phone whenever my playlists are getting stale. Even though I can’t use the remote because my crap is old, the interface is simple with a power button and volume up/down. I can still scroll through the menu on the iPod wheel itself. Docking also charges the device, though it will not charge through the auxiliary input.
The PDX-11 uses an octagon shape to provide a stable base and the iPod dock is located on the top of the nearly 10-inch speaker system. It looks like a subwoofer that might have come out of an automobile. Behind the perforated grate is a 4-inch cone woofer and 1.375-inch tweeter. Musical quality from the speaker is incredible and vocals come through nice and crisp. It has a surprising amount of bass which sets it apart from all the cheapo work radios I’ve used in the past. I prefer not to use headphones in general because it kills my awareness of anything else going on. The PDX-11 allows me to keep my ears open, avoid the crappy local FM stations and access the music I paid good money for (ok, I didn’t actually pay for it, but neither did you).
Left: Power/Auxiliary inputs and batteries on the back. Center: Blue is our color of choice. Right: The dock and controls are simple.
The whole unit weighs 3.3 pounds and runs off AC power or six AA batteries. I always have it close enough to an outlet that batteries haven’t been necessary yet, but heading outdoors during the summertime is going to change that. The PDX-11 is available in four color options (black, dark blue, green, white); ours is the blue to match the YZ, of course. A carrying handle on top makes it easy to move around. It would be easy to pack this in a Rhino or other Side-by-Side for a weekend ride. It’ll be perfect for posting up at Banshee Hill during upcoming DuneFest and providing a soundtrack for the carnage.
It has better bass than my desktop speakers and is by far superior to the old dial radio that was my previous garage music-supplier. It also finds its way around the house when doing yard work and hits the patio for a BBQ. It’s nice to set up outside where people are gathering rather than blasting the house stereo with the windows open, making it impossible to hang out inside. Basically the uses keep piling up and the PDX-11 will be a favorite addition this year now that camping season is here. You can buy several low-end stereos for 130 bucks, but the sound quality from the PDX-11, portability and ease of use make it a good choice for me – and I don’t really use iProducts. For someone who bleeds Apple, it kicks that much more ass. If you blew it for Father’s Day, this is a good way to make up for it. Otherwise, keep it in mind for anyone you know who loves music and lives an active lifestyle.