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How to choose an iPod Speaker Dock

Below is a short list of items to consider when choosing a speaker dock for your iPod. It is not all inclusive but it is a place to start. Feel free to add your comments and suggestions.

Choosing and iPod speaker dock based on Power Requirements
  • Does the system run on batteries and AC (plug in the wall)?
  • Does the iPod speaker dock recharge your iPod?.
  • Will the iPod dock work with Rechargeable batteries?
  • If it uses rechargeable batteries will they change in the dock when it is plugged in?
Choosing an iPod speaker dock based upon Features
  • Does the iPod Dock come with remote control?
  • Does the remote control control the iPod Menu system? Some only control next song, back a song and volume
  • If it is a portable iPod Speaker system does it include a travel bag or kit?
  • Does it have a auxiliary in port so you can use other non-iPod mp3 players with it?
  • Will the size of the unit fit the needs of your living environment?
  • Does it include a radio? Does the iPod dock include both AM and FM radio?
  • Do you have any special needs like water resistant for a bathroom, kitchen or poolside music listening?
  • Does the IPod dock include a signal out jack to send the iPod signal to your stereo?
Choosing an iPod speaker dock based on Compatibility
  • Does the system work with your favorite iPod? Most will but make sure it has a iPod video out if you plan on using it for video
  • If you have an older iPod will it work? (what generation is my iPod?)
Choosing and iPod speaker dock based on Sound Quality
  • Will it get loud enough for your environment? Small speaker docks can pleasantly fill a small kitchen, for larger environments choose a dock with larger speakers.
  • Look for an iPod speaker dock that includes a separate subwoofer if you want significant bass.
  • Does the speaker dock have tone (bass and treble) controls? Important if you’re fussy about your iPod sound
Choosing an iPod Dock by Price
  • How much do iPod docks cost?
  • $29-69 you can expect to get a small clock radio or a plain iPod doc with small speakers and reasonable sound. At this price point don't expect much bass if any at all. These are OK for kids rooms, bed side alarms that don't need high quality.
  • $70 - 120 you will get more features like a remote control that will likely only control the volume, track forward & back and on and off. You'll get more volume and some additional bass but still not much. These are good for kitchens and bed side.
  • $120 - 200 you start to see iPod docks with more flexible remotes and usually much better bass response. Sometimes you might even find speaker docks with subwoofers that really improve the bass. At this point the systems start to have a considerable up-tick in sound quality and features.
  • $200 and over. Once you reach the $200 and above level for an iPod dock you'll start to really hear the difference. The feature set will be more robust, like the remote controlling the iPod menu system. You'll also start to see separate subwoofers with their own amps. This group usually has the best sound that can fill a medium sized room.


mirm said...

Hi, I found your Blog, since I was trying to find info re:

What the heck are Docks for MP3s?

Does this mean that the MP3 needs to connect to a speaker-dock in order for its songs to be heard via speakers?

Does this mean that the MP3 cannot connect directly to speakers without necessarily having a dock? Or does the dock serve as the medium?

Also, why is this just about Ipod?
I.E. is there any article re:

"How to choose an MP3 Speaker Dock"

Does it make a difference?

Finally, WHY isn't there a Dummies site for perpetual newbs like myself, who aren't always up to date on the latest high-tech gadgets, but want quick access to info. geared to newbs BECAUSE we don't have the luxury of having contacts to the high tech world.

I've already tried posting on various tech boards, but received no responses on either, despite all my efforts at trying to find info.

The Speaker Guy said...

Thanks for posting...
1. All MP3 and iPods will play direclty through speakers using the "headphone" jack
2. The reason it is about iPod's and not MP3 players in general is that 90% of users have iPods and most don't know there is NO difference. iPods are just MP3/ACC audio players... you're smarter than you think!

Docks give you the luxury of having a place to charge and listen to your player without cables hanging all over the place. Note that is it difficult to find docks for most players other than iPods. createive makes a couple fo their players and so does Sandisk. Other than that there are 100's of docks for iPods.

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