Feature: 12 Top iPod Speaker Stands

Feature: 12 Top iPod Speaker Stands

AROUND THE HOUSE

 

We don't know about you, but we're sick of waking up to morning zoo radio. We went in search of a way to use our iPod to rise and shine to the music of our choice. The three speakers in this section all have radio alarm clocks, making them ideal bedside companions, but there's no reason why they can't tuck into a corner of the den, kitchen, or living room.

 


Your basic iPod alarm clock with a love-it-or-leave-it design.

 

iH4

Besides its Art Deco design, there's not much to the iHome iH4. You can use it as an alarm clock or have its sleep function send you to dreamland with your iPod's tunes. It also has a built-in tone alarm, a snooze button, a remote, and a line-in jack for connecting other players.

 

Fortunately, the iH4 doesn't take up much room, but then again, you either think the wedge-shaped design is hip or weird. If you're undecided, here's the tipping point: The two front corners and the LCD light up. Cool? Hokey? We can't decide. At least the lighting has three brightness settings, and you can turn it off. Another design nitpick is that the iH4 places the iPod dock in a prominent position, but when there's no iPod, the dock connector protrudes noticeably, distracting you from the speaker's overall appearance.

 

The iH4 uses a single speaker that produces a flat sound overall with limited range. iHome includes an Expanded Bass feature that gives your music more weight in the low range and improves the overall audio quality. For a small to medium-size bedroom, the speaker does its job. But it's not going to transform a room into a mini concert hall.

 

IH4

iHome

www.ihomeaudio.com

$49.99

 

 

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Decent sound, decent features, decent product.

 

iYiYi

iPod music played on Tivoli Audio's iYiYi (pronounced eye-yai-yai) sounds clear, with accurate midtone sounds. The audio is a bit clipped at the high and low ends, and while the bass is tangible, it doesn't drop heavily, which might disappoint some hip-hop fans. We also heard a tiny bit of distortion at louder volumes.

 

If radio is important to you, you'll appreciate the iYiYi's Radio Data System, which displays on the LCD the AM or FM radio station and artist/song info for songs played on the airwaves.

 

The iYiYi's remote control does something that only one of the other speakers in this roundup (the George, below) can: It lets you access your iPod's menus. The other speakers only have volume and track controls. The remote's buttons aren't as breezy as a clickwheel. Then again, we've found the clickwheel to be a bit clumsy to handle on a docked iPod.

 

Though we're not sure who'd use it, the iYiYi has a mix input to connect other audio sources and allow audio to play on top of what the iYiYi is playing. There's also a line-out jack so you can send the iYiYi's audio to another device for recording. Among the missing features: a snooze button for the alarm, video-out, and a Mac connection.

 

iYiYi

Tivoli Audio

www.tivoliaudio.com

$299.99

 

 

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So good, you'll want one in every room in your house - if you can afford it.

 

George

Although it looks like an oversized alarm clock, Chestnut Hill Sound's George is much more. The front-docking remote uses an iPod-like software interface, and you use a dial and its surrounding set of buttons to swiftly navigate the controls. When your iPod is docked, you get the same controls on the remote as you would on your iPod - how cool is that? Better yet, the remote uses its eight FM preset buttons to divvy up your tunes alphabetically, so you don't have to spin the dial 'round and 'round to find a song. And the remote doesn't have to be docked for the alarm to go off, so you can place the main unit against the opposite wall, facing your bed (for the best audio position), and keep the remote in easy reach. (A separate charging stand for the remote is available for $50.)

 

The sound detail George can produce is quite impressive. It does well with all kinds of music, reproducing a wide range of sounds with clarity and warmth. One advantage George has over other iPod speakers in general is the ability to fine-tune bass and treble levels, which lets you tweak the sound for the type of music you're playing.

 

George has a couple of quirks, such as the remote's low battery life. It also overrides your docked iPod's controls. It's not quite a complete package, but it's very, very close.

 

George

Chestnut Hill Sound

www.chillsound.com

$549

 

 

BONUS: More Speakers for Other Corners of the House
iHome’s iH5 costs $50 more than the iH4, but it has more features and better sound. The artsy arch design of JBL’s On Time is a nice departure from your typical alarm clock radio. Rain Design’s iWoofer doesn’t have a clock, but it does have a radio tuner and won’t take up a lot of space.

 

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