Yesterday, however, someone had a couple of unused sets of USB-powered speakers for 50p each, so I bought both and made an interesting discovery - the actual speakers in them appear to be more or less identical to those in the old Harman Kardon round speakers for iMac G4. And although I don't have the keenest possible ear, there appeared to be very little difference in sound quality. I suspect that what difference there is comes largely from resonance etc. in the speaker housing, that lovely thick perspex HK used.
This prompts the thought that it might be possible to take old sets of iMac speakers that are dead, yank out the speakers, and put in the guts of some USB speakers instead. You'd end up with a hybrid that looked right, more or less, but used the headphone socket and a USB port instead of the special speaker port of the G4. This might be a fun retro add-on for a more modern computer. Currently I only have one set of the HK speakers and they work, so I won't be trying this, but I offer it as a thought to anyone who has these speakers and is considering dumping them because they're dead, or they no longer own an iMac G4.
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