The iPod touch is primarily a media player. Everything else is gravy. In our first look at the iPod touch last month (Nov/07, p68), we said that it’s basically a phoneless iPhone. It turns out that the iPod touch is even less than a phoneless iPhone. But if you want a media player first and an Internet device a distant second, the touch offers a satisfying experience.
You get three pairs of ear fittings with the iMetal iM-390. Maximo’s iMetal iM-390 earphones don’t say “iPod” like the iPod earbuds do, but they certainly say “shiny.” Like V-Moda’s Vibe (4 out of 5 stars), the iM-390 earphones have fashionable aluminum bodies that are more than decorative - they also produce impressive sound.
The new iPod nano: It's a movie theater in the palm of your hand. Darn you, Apple. You know our iPod love is fickle, and you take advantage each and every time. We were happy with the 5G iPod (a.k.a. the video iPod), but we admit, we wanted the next-generation iPod with spiffy new features. The 2G iPod nano? It was a nice little music player that also made us happy, but we knew it could do more - and apparently, you did, too. So now here we are, with a new iPod classic and iPod nano to covet. Darn you, Apple.
The GarageBand Microphone Cable is a lot cheaper than an XLR converter box. If you’re a podcaster who wants good voice audio in your podcasts (and who doesn’t?), you need to use an XLR microphone. Macs don’t have XLR connectors, but you can use Griffin’s GarageBand Microphone Cable, which features an XLR jack for your mic and a stereo minijack so you can plug into a Mac’s standard audio line-in port.
Treating your ears to good vibrations. We like V-Moda’s Vibe earphones (4 out of 5 stars), with their rich midtone reproduction, crisp high-range sounds, and punchy bass. Fortunately, V-Moda didn’t mess with a good thing when it released the Vibe Duo, a headphone/headset for the iPhone. The Vide Duo takes V-Moda’s Vibe earphones, attaches a mic to them, and uses an iPhone-friendly connector.
Touch it, love it. The guitar gods compel you! Sliding around the living room in your underwear with a hairbrush for a microphone might be cool…wait, wait, wait…that was never cool. If what you really want to do is learn how to play an instrument, it seems that starting with one that’s got a built-in cool factor is, well, cool.
Remember to put your iPhone in Airplane Mode when using it with an iPod speaker like the Amplifi. It’s getting harder and harder to find a simple iPod speaker: one that doesn’t have a clock, a radio receiver, a CD player, or a space-age design. But we found one in the Amplifi, and for $150, we like what it has to offer: great sound for your iPod tunes, and not much else.
With the TuneStik strapped to your steering wheel, iPod control is just a thumb away. We’ve seen - or been - this guy: the driver at a stoplight who’s not paying attention when the light turns green. He (or she) isn’t paying attention because he’s too busy doing something else - like trying to switch tracks on an iPod. That’s the problem with using your iPod in the car: Your iPod and its clickwheel demand your full attention.
The Mint comes with a wireless dock that transmits your iPod music to the Mint digital amplifier. For anyone whose music entertainment revolves around the iPod, Mondo’s Mint is a great way to get your iPod tunes up front and center. It’s far from perfect - its audio quality could benefit from some fine-tuning, and its lack of controls can be frustrating. But the Mint has some unique design highlights and comes very close to producing ideal sound.
The Journi is roughly the same size as the latest Harry Potter hardback - but if forced to choose, we’d take Harry on the road and leave the Journi at home. Weighing a little over 2 pounds, the Journi portable iPod speaker is shaped exactly like a hardback book and comes with a wraparound leatherette cover that doubles as a foldout stand. You unwrap the cover, fold it back on itself, and insert a tab into a slot built into the speaker’s plastic housing.