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There’s absolutely no doubt that the Apple iPod is the most popular digital music player. Whether it’s the best is open to debate, but that hasn’t stopped the white wonder becoming the de facto standard in personal audio. What the iPod brought to the masses was the convenience of having most, if not all, of their music collection on a pocket size device. So, you’ve got you’re entire music collection in your pocket when you leave the house, but what about when you’re at home?
The obvious answer to the above question is to just play your original CDs – of course you have original copies of all the music on your iPod right? But as I mentioned in a column a while back, the general consumer seems to be far more interested in convenience than quality and will often find the “laborious” process of finding a CD and placing it in the CD player far too much to bear. So, the obvious answer is a device that lets you playback the contents of your iPod over loudspeakers rather than headphones.
Of course iPod speakers are nothing new – if you wander into the Apple Store in London you’ll see loads of different speaker sets to complement your iPod. But there’s more to a set of iPod speakers than a white lacquered finish, they also need to sound good. I’ve listened to a fair few sets of these speakers and the sound quality is variable to say the least – which is why we’ll be doing a group test very soon – but to a certain degree you do get what you pay for. Sometimes however, a product comes along with a level of quality that’s well above what its price point would suggest – such a product is the Acoustic Authority iRhythms.
OK, so the name is a bit naff – it looks as if anything with a small “i” in front of it will do these days – but the actual product itself is far more impressive than its moniker. When you’re reviewing a sound product, logic would dictate that the most important aspect would be sound quality. However, when you consider that this is an iPod accessory, it could be argued that aesthetic value is more important – after all, for many iPod users it’s more about the way it looks than the way it sounds.