I recently moved from a windows xp laptop to a dual boot Ubuntu/Vista desktop for music/web-surfing/movie viewing. I have been using Ubuntu 9.10 exclusively since I downloaded it, and this will be the topic of a future post. For now I will say that Ubuntu 9.10 has convinced me that Linux is ready for the desktop (even if you have to be a bit of a nerd to do some of the initial set-up depending on hardware) more than any version I have used before all the way back to 6.x.
Anyway, the desktop is a Dell refurb that had no speakers which was fine before I was using this box all the time and had headphones for it. So I picked up these speakers down at my local Wal-Mart last night for just under $15 USD. They are tiny USB-powered stereo speakers, but they still use a headphone jack for signal. I like the USB power because my wall outlet is loaded up with another PC (for work) and networking and printing equipment as is. The sound quality is nice with decent bass for the size, and they look sharp. I found it curious that the USB isn't carrying signal as well since I used to have headphone/mic units that did this, but it isn't really a negative.
Speaking of sound on Ubuntu, for some reason Ubuntu set my sound output to "Analog Stereo Duplex" which gave me garbled sound, but it just required changing the profile to "Analog Stereo Output" to fix. To do this, you just open Sound Preferences > Hardware (tab) > Profile (drop down). I took care of this before I got the speakers because my headphones sounded all wrong like a cd with tons of defects causing a "pixelated" sound as if a player were trying to compensate for the skips.