Selecting Speakers For Your iPod

Saturday, May 31, 2008

by: Nick Segrue

More and more people are purchasing a set of speakers for their iPods, some to replace their current home audio set ups in order to get rid of the cd collections that take up so much room, some to have a portable audio source for when they are away on holiday, some just for having some iPod speakers because everyone else is buying them! One of the problems we come across the most is people being faced with a huge selection of choices and feeling bewildered about what to buy. What I am aim to do is make your choice that little bit easier.

We can break down the different sets of speakers into the following categories:

Portable and powered by batteries.

Portable and powered by mains adapter.

Home Set up powered by mains adapter.

For those of you looking for a portable set that is powered by batteries there are a variety of excellent options at varying prices. Personally I am of the belief that whatever amount of money you are spending it is important that sound quality is pretty good as what use is a light speaker set that has crackily sound! If you are looking to spend under £50 then we highly rate both the Logic 3 i-Station 7 and the Monster iSpeaker. Both of these are very light to carry, are of a size very conveninet for putting ina backpack or suitcase and run for a good amount of time on batteries, sound from both is exceptional for this pricepoint with great clarity.

If you are looking to spend a little more then a lot of options open up in the £50 to £150 bracket. If lightweight is your number one problem then you will not go far wrong with the JBL On Tour, this is an incredibly lightweight unit that what it lacks in bass it makes up for in the sound clarity department. If you would prefer better sound quality then a step up to an Altec Lansing IM5 or Logitech MM50, Saitek A250 and for iPod Nano Owners the XtremeMac MicroBlast. All of these provide excellent sound alongside good looks and a highly portable structure. Once your budget is going over £150 you are in to the realms of a great portable system in the Altec Lansing IM7, thumping bass, crystal clear treble and a great portable structure, definetly the daddy of portable iPod Docking Stations and Speaker units.

If you would like something that can be considered portable but don't mind having to use a mains charger then there are a couple of good options available. One of our favourites is the Macally IceTune, this is indeed one of our top 5 iPod accessories altogether, when stacked up it looks like a coke can and has two separate speakers that can be removed and pointed to send sounds in different directions, the sound quality is excelletn for only £39.99 and it is very much portable but does require mains power. The JBL On Stage is another wonderful compact and lightweight unit that can be plugged into the mains for power and will charge your iPod while you listen to it, very high quality sound, lacks bass a littel but you are compromising bass to have such a small portable unit, clarity of sound and loudness are both very impressive. Another excellent unit in this bracket is the Logic 3 iStation 8, newly released and keeping up the fabulous reputation of the iStation 7 this really is worth the money, great combinations of bass and treble and very much a portable size and weight.

For the home set up there are a variety of options and in honesty the best value speakers in our opinion come at this price point. For just £59.99 you can have a pair of JBL Creature II's, these are surely one of the greatest home electronics products to ever hit the market, the bass is phenomenal and the clarity is superb, vocals sound great for many types of music, they also look very appealing and are bound to interest visitors who glaze their eyes upon them! Also in the JBL range are the Encounters, these expand on the Creature philosophy of an alien themed set of speakers and have even stronger bass, they are quite simply phenomenal! At this price point we also have the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks, for a long time these have been my individual favourite speakers, they are see through so you can have a look at what is going on inside and provide possibly the clearest vocals you will hear from iPod focused speakers they are simply outstanding, perhaps not as strong bass as the Encounters but still more than enough for most pallettes. For anyone considering a home iPod set up I strongly suggest a very close look at the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks they are oustanding and will fit in to 99% of home settings in the living room, dining room, kitchen etc!

Hopefully this guide has been of some use to you choosing your speakers, firstly establish which of the three categories your requirements for speakers come into and then you can use the above advice to direct you to some great units, we wish you the best of luck in your choice!