PC Magazine Editor’s Choice: Apple iPod Hi-Fi ‘this one’s a winner’ (4.5 stars out of 5)

“The Apple iPod Hi-Fi ($349 direct) is now part of Apple’s steadily growing repertoire of iPod accessories. I got my hands on one and took it for a spin in the PC Magazine audio lab, and I’m very happy with it. The one-piece three-way combination speaker and iPod dock looks a lot like a center-channel speaker from a home theater system, with horizontally set drivers. Though it costs about $50 more, it can thump, sing, and squeal with a lot more power than the Bose SoundDock, plus it’s portable. I’m glad Apple included a combination analog and S/PDIF optical digital input, but a video pass-through for outputting photos and video to a TV would be convenient,” Mike Kobrin reports for PC Magazine.

“The tech specs alone are pretty meaty: two 80-mm midrange drivers and a 130-mm woofer with dual voice coils, sealed double-walled enclosure, separate chambers and front-panel isolation for the two midrange drivers, a rated maximum sound pressure level of 108dB (at 1 meter) when it’s running on AC power, and a frequency response of 53Hz to 16kHz plus or minus 3dB. It can run on AC power without a huge brick (thanks to the internal power supply) or on six D batteries, though both of these mean the speaker is pretty heavy, at 14.5 pounds without batteries and 16.7 pounds with alkalines. It measures 6.6 by 17 by 6.9 inches (HWD)—perfect for a bookshelf or even a desk. It has dual integrated handles on either side, so it’s easy to move around, but it’s definitely not the kind of thing you’d throw in a backpack and take to the beach. The enclosure is a sturdy white resin, and the black speaker grille is easily removable if you want a brighter sound,” Kobrin reports.

“Listening to the iPod Hi-Fi, I could clearly hear that Apple paid a lot of attention to sound quality. I put on some music I had encoded in Apple Lossless format… On all tracks, the bass was tight and punchy with virtually no muddiness. Mids are prominent but not overwhelming, and highs are very crisp. Detail and articulation are very good, and the stereo imaging is impressive if you have the speaker properly placed (with side walls equidistant). If you’ve got the speaker in a bookshelf, though, you’ll still get very good sound thanks to the double-walled airtight enclosure, which keeps sound from leaking out in all directions. The Hi-Fi definitely deserves its name.,” Kobrin reports. “I wholeheartedly recommend this speaker if you’re looking for an extremely powerful single-cabinet speaker that’s portable (runs on batteries as well as AC), because this is about as good as it gets. It’s not cheap, you can’t throw it in your backpack, it’s not a 5.1 system, and it won’t take the place of thousand-dollar high-end floor-standing speakers. But it’s not intended to be any of those things… this one’s a winner.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The difference is striking between reviews by those who actually used, tested, and heard the iPod Hi-Fi versus the opinion pieces from some who’ve only looked at photos, text descriptions, and specs.

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Related articles:
Review: Apple iPod Hi-Fi – March 03, 2006
The Inquirer reports on attack of Apple cultists, blames MacDailyNews for inciting ’email fatwa’ – March 03, 2006
CSFB: Apple iPod Hi-Fi a harbinger of things to come – March 02, 2006
Inquirer writer: Apple Mac, iPod users are gullible saps – March 02, 2006
Apple iPod Hi-Fi photos from all angles – March 01, 2006
Videos of Steve Jobs introducing Mac mini, iPod Hi-Fi – March 01, 2006
Apple debuts iPod Hi-Fi speaker system, leather cases for 5G iPod, iPod nano – February 28, 2006

85 Comments

  1. The iPod hifi is just like the original iPod. Compact, easy to use, pricey, and good sounding.

    It’s gonna be a big hit (inspite of all the whining about the price) and the large profit margin is going to be good for Apples bottom line.

  2. Judging by the specs alone, would anyone ever eat Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? But when Mom made it for lunch on no-school snow days? Food of the gods.

    Apple’s m.o.- the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Time after time after time after time after…

  3. I would say that for an in-house design, it’s pretty impressive stuff. And to produce fine speakers out of nothing, no prior knowledge except for its computer speakers in cooperation with Harman-Kardon, it shows that Apple is able to do about anything. It’s this diversification, the knowledge to produce all kinds of equipment, that will make Apple strong.

  4. I’ve heard it. It rocks. and yeah..it’s probably $50 too high but then it DOES include the adaptability for various ipods and the long wished for remote. All these people who have compared it to their high end home system completely miss the point of a product like this. Yes, you can get a cable for your present ipod. Now…haul your system out on the deck, or string a wire out there, or buy a wireless system (and hear the loss of audio quality)…Or fit a massive system into a dorm room, or a kitchen. Make sure to install handles on your system and whatever you do…be certain to sit in that stereo sweet spot at all times. Ipod Hi-Fi is going to sell very well, not because it is perfectly priced or solves every audio need…but because it sounds GREAT..and fits some heretofore unmet needs in the market. Go listen to this system at an Apple store. Give it a workout. You will come away understanding why Apple made this. It’s very, very good.

  5. I want to moan about Bose….same old design for, well, bl**dy decades. They can’t even upgrade the LED display from the ancient bar type to a nice dot matrix. Sorry, did I forget to mention which Bose? The all-in-one thingys. As someone here said, they still use ancient drivers made from paper pulp. I guess it still looks quite nice, but it’s too expensive for what it is.
    Ok I’m done moaning.

  6. It looks pretty neat! However I would like to see how effeceint it is :exXXdbspl@1wat@1meter 20-20K.

    On another note…..pun intended, Why not a rechargeable battery??? It’s not that Apple doesn’t have any connections in that area!! Plus there is already a converter built in? Run it off of an extra I, Power, or Mac Book Battery. Let the HIFI figure out which one it is. Seems like a no-brainer…..Yes? So WTF happened to “Think Different”. Oh I know! ….Quick….Someone run to Coupertino….. BG has SJ and the crew held hostage in a closet. It’s the closet with all the defunked MP3 players in it.

    A Big one!

    Defunked=all the George Clinton tracks have been removed

  7. PAGING A ‘MACDUDE’. PAGING A ‘MR. BORING MACDUDE‘.

    MR. MACDUDE, PLEASE COME TO THE BAKERY SECTION OF THE STORE. YOUR PIE IS READY.

    ONE HUMBLE PIE FOR A MR. BORING MACDUDE.

    THANK YOU ALL FOR SHOPPING AT REALITY WORLD AND HAVE A NICE DAY.

  8. MDN’s take is an Apple Ass Kissing take. Nothing new there.

    The HiFi is grossly overpriced. Period.

    Do I really care what a computer magazine has to say about a bicycle? Then why would I care what they have to say about a speaker system?

    Question to MDN: Exactly how does Steve Jobs’ ass taste? MDN has accused many people of tasting Bill Gate’s ass. I’m just curious what the differences might be. (From a clinical interest, you understand. I could never kiss ass to the degree of your lifestyle choice).

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