iPod Docks

4/10/2012 11:32:59 AM

Description: JBL's OnBeat Xtreme

JBL's OnBeat Xtreme is a speaker dock that connects to your iPad, iPod, or iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth. It offers high-quality sound, as well as hands-free calling with Bluetooth phones and the ability to dock your iOS devices in either landscape or portrait orientation.


For many of us, iPods now serve as the main source for our music, because they can store hours of our favorite tunes on a device that can fit into a pocket. An iPod speaker dock is a handy accessory for anyone who wants to listen to his iPod in situations where headphones aren't ideal, such as while working in your home office. Here, we'll take a look at what you need to consider when buying an iPod dock.


First, think about the type of places you'd like to use the iPod speaker dock. Do you want something that can play music for friends and family when you're outside, such as in the backyard or at a tailgate? If so, you'll want to look for a model that's small enough to fit in a travel bag, such as one that can fold flat, or offers a handle for carrying convenience. Some iPod speaker docks can operate on batteries, so you don't need a power outlet to listen to the sound.


Those who don't plan to move the iPod speaker dock very often can look for something that fits in with the décor of the room. For example, there are many elegant models that match the furnishings of contemporary living rooms and home office styles. Sizes for iPod speaker docks vary widely—from as small as your iPod to boombox models that will require a sizable amount of desk space.

Sound Quality


Description: Logitech's Mini Boombox

            Logitech's Mini Boombox is a Bluetooth-only speaker that you can pair with any Bluetooth device.

Audio quality is always a subjective matter, but in general, large boombox-style speaker docks are more capable of a full sound than portable models, because there's more space for different speaker types such as tweeters (high frequency, such as treble) and woofers (low frequencies, such as bass). For example, the tabletop JBL OnBeat Xtreme ($499.95; includes JBL's Ridge tweeters and Atlas woofers, as well as computer-optimized DSP (digital signal processing) equalization for high-end sound. It also features a rotating dock connector that allows you to mount your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch in either portrait or landscape orientation.

We recommend testing speaker docks before purchase. In particular, you should listen for problems such as distortion at higher volumes and boomy bass.


Description: Sony's ICF-CL75iP

iPod docks typically feature an auxiliary connector so that you can connect a 3.5mm mini-plug cable from the audio output of MPS players, PCs, and other devices. Other common features include built-in FM tuners for access to local radio stations and a built-in alarm clock for those who wish to wake up to music. Many iPod speaker docks also come with a remote control to let you manage volume, source selection, and skip or pause songs. Some models feature a USB input to connect your iPod to a PC and sync your iTunes library on your iPod.


Description: Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus

Bluetooth iPod Speaker Docks

Typically, iPod speaker docks include Apple's 30-pin dock connector to power your iOS device while it plays music. Many current iPod speaker docks, such as Logitech's Mini Boombox ($99.99;, also feature Bluetooth connections to let you stream audio from your Bluetooth devices to the speakers. The Bluetooth-only Mini Boombox is great for those who listen to music stored on their smartphones, because it features a built-in mic that you can use to take calls when your smartphone is paired over Bluetooth with the speaker.

The AM/FM Option

If you want an iPod speaker dock for your home office, consider one with an AM/FM radio because you won't need to rely on filling up your iPod with work-appropriate music to fill out the work day. For example, you can switch over to hear local news station for updates about nearby events and weather.

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