“Apple’s new Hi-Fi, $349, doesn’t sound as good as some older competitors. And it weighs much more, a drawback if you want to use the Hi-Fi portably,” Consumer Reports writes. “The boom in boomboxes designed for iPods continues, and now Apple itself has entered the market. To date, these boxes–which include a docking station that accommodates a proprietary port in the iPods’ base–have exclusively been made by audio manufacturers such as Bose and Altec Lansing. The iPod Hi-Fi, $349, is Apple’s attempt to compete with these aftermarket products.”
“Like most of its competitors, the Hi-Fi can be powered via an AC power cord or by batteries (in this case six ‘D’ cells) and comes with a remote that allows you to change songs or volume level from anywhere in a room. Rectangular and unadorned, the Hi-Fi resembles an elongated white breadbox,” Consumer Reports writes. “The unit’s performance is mildly disappointing–and somewhat surprising for a company that usually at least matches its competition. Though it sounds decent enough, the Hi-Fi didn’t match the audio quality of the best-sounding (and lower-priced) iPod boomboxes from our past tests. And it offers few unique features and capabilities–again unusual from a company known for innovation… The main drawbacks to the Apple Hi-Fi are avoidable to some degree. The unit’s hefty weight is moot if you leave it in one location. Also, you can improve (though not eliminate) the sound deficiencies we noted above by using the iPod’s equalizer (EQ) or (with newer iPods) ‘Speaker’ menus to reduce bass, boost treble, or both.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As MacDailyNews reader “MK” points out below, Consumer Reports fails to take into account that the iPod Hi-Fi is “AirTunes Ready.” Unlike the other speaker to which they compare the iPod Hi-Fi, you can connect it to an AirPort Express with a digital optical audio cable. The music is then sent from iTunes on your computer over the network to the iPod Hi-Fi using only digital signals. From the review, it’s not clear that Consumer Reports even understands all of the iPod Hi-Fi’s capabilities.
Sound quality is subjective, but the fact that Consumer Reports’ opinion is in the small minority, not the large majority, of reviews we have read is important to note. See related articles below for links to other reviews of Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. For the record, we have “ears-on” experience with the iPod Hi-Fi. It sounds impressive for its size, plus it’s a quality unit. If you think you’re getting Martin Logan sound in a $349 bookshelf speaker like the iPod Hi-Fi, you need to think again. If you want a well-built, solid iPod speaker system, we can easily recommend the iPod Hi-Fi. (BTW, we also recommend ditching your iPod earbuds and replacing them with better models from companies like Shure and Etymotic.)
Not just because of this half-baked “review,” but from many past experiences with their shoddy Apple product reviews, we believe Consumer Reports is a garbage publication not fit for lining a birdcage and certainly should not be used for making purchase decisions about toasters or vacuum cleaners, much less speaker systems or personal computers.
[UPDATE: 9:46am EST: Added the last two paragraphs to the “take.”]
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