I met with Soundcast Systems and took a look a two new iPod speakers they plan to release in the summer of this year. The SpeakerCast is a shelf-sized speaker set, while the OutCast is an outdoor speaker. Both use the iCast dock to transmitter an audio signal to the speaker (included with each product). Soundcast says both products have a indoor range of 150 feet and an outdoor range of 350 feet.
Polk Audio's miDock 10 fits all dockable 'Pods and will fill any room with potent, well-defined sound. Polk Audio has been around for 35 years, and over that time they've learned how to do audio right. Now that they've released three entries in the iPod speaker-stand free-for-all, I jumped at the chance to take a first look at their middle-range model, the miDock 10. Roman will put together a thoroughly researched, full-scale review of this compact, lightweight boombox in the next month or so, but after one Sunday morning playing with it, I can wholeheartedly give it my own personal one-word review: "DAMN!"
The iPod has become more than just a music player: With systems such as iLuv's i199 and XtremeMac's Luna, the iPod becomes the heart of home entertainment. And the i199 and Luna both let you get the most from your iPod.
The Podcasting Pak includes a good-looking USB-powered microphone, a mini mic stand, and a foam-lined industrial-strength case to carry it all. Every podcast recording begins with a microphone. The only reason that most Mac users haven't worried too much about the mic is because the built-in mics on iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros have worked just fine for most off-board uses. If you tried to record on a Mac notebook, however, you've no doubt noticed a few irksome issues: fan noise, primarily (unless you're recording MIDI, in which case no harm, no foul). While it's fully possible to make this flaw seem like a feature by packaging your podcast as some sort of staged neoindustrial set piece complete with whirring machinery in the background, in actual fact, fan noise is not a desirable trait. Moreover, if what you're doing involves live music, instruments, or any other nuanced acoustic audio source, using the built-in mic is less than ideal.
The mad ax lab: Variax Workbench lets you concoct any flavor of guitar from scratch. Line 6 has made a name for itself creating simulations of a wide range of guitar amplifiers and stompbox effects. When used with an amazing Variax guitar, the Variax Workbench software and dedicated USB interface lets you play Dr. Frankenax, mixing and matching the pickups from a Fender Stratocaster with the body of a Gibson Firebird, in dropped D tuning with a capo. It's beyond good - divine is much more appropriate.
The TuneStage 2 has a surprisingly good range. Mention Bluetooth with an iPod device, and you might find us shaking our heads in doubt. That's because our experience with Bluetooth devices has been mixed - Bluetooth isn't bad, if you don't mind a limited range. But sound quality? Forget it. But then Bluetooth 2.0+EDR was released, offering better data rates and reliability than its predecessors. And as it turns out, the TuneStage 2 for iPod, which uses Bluetooth 2.0+EDR to provide wireless connectivity between an iPod and a stereo-connected base station, is a great example of how far Bluetooth technology has come.
The LightSnake takes the frustration out of XLR mic connectivity. Podcasters hoping to record pro-level audio usually have to dish out pro-level dollars - a good XLR microphone requires an interface box to connect to your Mac, and that'll set you back at least $200. But with the LightSnake Microphone-to-USB Cable, you can spend a fraction of that and still be able to connect XLR mics directly to your Mac.
Give your iPod a battery boost. Three thousand, nine hundred and eighty. That’s the number of times we played Guided by Voices’ 1-minute song “The Perfect Life” consecutively on a fully charged 7-month-old 80GB 5G iPod at its default settings with a NuPower Video+ iPod battery pack attached. (The song is actually 59 seconds, so we added 1 second of silence to make it a little easier to calculate the NuPower’s, uh, power.) That many minutes add up to 66.33 hours—compared to the 19 hours you can get from just your iPod’s battery. Using it for video playback, we got 22.17 consecutive hours. We also tested it while playing music on shuffle, and got similar results. Oddly, Newer Technology claims you’ll get 80 hours of audio (which we fell short on) and only 16 hours of video. Regardless, that’s a whole lot of iPod-ing going on.
The teeny-tiny iBumps keep your iPod from slip-slidin' away. Attach a set of iBumps to the back of your iPod and you won't have to worry about it skidding across your car's dashboard every time you make a turn. You get a set of six clear small rubber pads for the back of your 'Pod, and six white, black, or clear pads for the front. Where you actually use them (and how many you use) is up to you - you can stick 'em on your iPod, digital camera, mobile phone, coffee mug, snow globes, fishbowl, whatever. With iBumps, your iPod is still exposed, but you can fit an iBumped iPod into some looser-fitting cases.