The speaker on the right in this photo - the one with the iPod nano - is really the left speaker. We're just backwards like that. Sierra Sound named its iN Studio 5.0 speakers for their 5-inch woofers, but they also have a built-in 50-watt dynamic amp, making them more than just iPod speakers - they’re a compact, room-shaking stereo stand-in. Measuring 7.3 by 8 by 10.8 inches each, and weighing 23.3 pounds together, this is one hefty set - but so is the high-end sound it puts out.
As I write this, I'm listening to 311's "Large in the Margin" using iSkin's Cerulean F1 Bluetooth earphones. The Cerulean F1 uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect between the (whoa, track change - now I'm listening to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Bellbottoms." Yup, shuffle's on) earphones and your audio device, which in this case, is an iPod. Since the iPod doesn't have Bluetooth, you need to connect a Bluetooth transmitter. I'm using iSkin's Cerulean TX, part of the Cerulean TX+RX package. (Track change: Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." Hey Apple, how 'bout getting Led Zeppelin in iTunes?)
The newest version of Wi-Gear’s iMuffs, model MB210, include an adapter that connects to your iPod’s dock port and lets you listen to your tunes wirelessly. The iMuffs resemble street-style headphones, with a curved piece of plastic that goes around the back of your head. The plastic is flexible, but those with large heads may find that the headband twists when you stretch it to fit around your melon. If that happens, it’s hard to get the earphones to lie flush against your ears, leading to lots of sound leaking out and annoying your fellow commuters. The headphones are light and easy to wear, though, if they fit your head right. It would have been nice to be able to adjust the headband.
The i-XPS 250 has a pair of 5-watt drivers and a 15-watt subwoofer. “What’s with the robot head?” a passerby asked, examining the i-XPS 250 sitting on the desk. It was time to whip out the iPod and place it into the i-XPS 250’s dock. “Ah, now I get it,” said the passerby, realizing that the i-XPS 250 is an iPod speaker, not the head of some grand experiment in the Mac|Life labs.
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 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.