“Earlier this week, we gave you our First Look at Apple’s new ‘home stereo system’ for the iPod, the iPod Hi-Fi. At the same time, the public began weighing in with their first impressions—mostly from afar—and I admit to being more than a little surprised by the negative response. It seems many people are opposed to the very idea of the iPod Hi-Fi; more than once I heard or read the phrase ‘Why would anyone waste $350 on this thing?’ (Of course, nearly all of these comments were made by people who had never even seen the Hi-Fi in person.) Granted, Apple set themselves up for a measure of such abuse by introducing the Hi-Fi as an “audiophile”-grade system that will “redefine” the home stereo system, when it’s really a bookshelf-style speaker system—albeit one that can run off batteries—that attempts to improve on some of the more popular existing systems on the market,” Dan Frakes writes for Playlist.
Frakes writes, “what really sets the Hi-Fi apart from other transportable speaker systems are a number of interesting playback features. For example, a new Speakers menu appears on fifth-generation and nano iPods when you dock them with the Hi-Fi. This menu—actually present, but hidden, in these models since they were released, and updated via January’s iPod Software 1.1—provides several options specific to Hi-Fi-docking. Tone Control allows you to choose a Hi-Fi-specific EQ setting: Normal, Bass Boost, and Treble Boost; unlike the iPod’s EQ settings, the tone controls take effect in real time, so you can quickly compare the options as you scroll through them. (Note that the iPod’s standard EQ settings also appear to affect the iPod’s output when docked with the Hi-Fi; however, the Tone Control setting doesn’t affect audio output when docked with a different speaker system, nor does it affect headphone output.)”
“A few things immediately jump out at you when listening to the Hi-Fi. The first is that it has a rich, warm sound that doesn’t grate or offend like many lesser iPod speakers. The second is that despite its relatively small size, the Hi-Fi has actual bass. (Don’t let frequency-response snobs tell you that 53 Hertz—the official low-end of the Hi-Fi’s stated frequency range—isn’t “real” bass; unless you’re listening to pipe organs or putting together a home theater system, a relatively flat response down to ~50 Hertz is going to give you more bass than you’re probably used to.) Finally, the Hi-Fi can play loud. Incredibly loud, in fact, given the size of the system,” Frakes writes. “Although I’m sure a few iPod owners will get rid of a larger home stereo system—especially an older one—for the convenience and compact size of the Hi-Fi, I don’t see people with true high-end stereo systems trading them in. Rather, the Hi-Fi is going to be an attractive option for people looking for good, room-filling sound in a compact package: It’s a bookshelf system for the iPod generation, and one that can even be taken with you in a pinch.”
Much, much more in the very comprehensive full review here.
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