The biggest innovation in music in the last 20 years, without a doubt, is the combination of the iPod and iTunes. These two simple things changed the was we listen and buy music. We no longer have giant portfolios of CDs in our car and its tough to find a decent place to buy moderatley priced CD’s. There are no more albums the way they existed under Pink Floyd but rather a shotgun blast of singles on “shuffle”. The iPod is responsible for all of this, the center of the music revolution. Now you should start looking into making your iPod/iPhone the center of your audio system as well with an iPod Dock.
These are typically compatible with both iPods and iPhones and cost you between $100 and $500, but don’t assume that the most expensive is necessarily the best.
Audio quality and style is paramount. Make sure you look at them in an area where you can actually listen to the music. The audio style is equally important. If you like heavier rock, you want a dock that has deeper bass so you can really hear when a band really attacks the bass drum. House and rap music aficionados will also love the deeper bass. Look at Boston Acoustic’s iDS3, its expensive but Boston Acoustic always has amazing sub woofers. It is also a PC Magazine Editor’s Choice. If you like country or R&B, you will probably want to invest in a dock that has more emphasis on treble so you can clearly hear the vocals.
If you have a very eclectic style, look for a system that lets you adjust the Bass and Treble levels accordingly. Another one of PC Magazine’s picks that does just that is the Altec Lansing Mix iMT800. This one is $100 cheaper than the Boston Acoustic, but does not give you the same bass levels. This can be a mute point if bass is not your thing. Another major selling point is that you can connect up to three MP3 players, giving you the option of playing DJ and never having the music stop to search for a song.
Another Aspect you may want to consider is portability. Some iPod docks run on batteries, and if you want to take it outside to an area that doesn’t have an outlet, you can do that. Carefully evaluate how you plan to use the dock. If it is simply going to sit on your dresser, there is no reason to worry about this. But if you plan on carrying it out to your workshop when you change your oil, it is a point to consider.
Remotes are also immensely important. This allows you to place the dock wherever you want and still have the ability to change songs. Some remotes do not have the ability to navigate the full iPod menu, and that can limit your enjoyment. Some of the docks can work off an universal remote, which will keep your theater simple. Just make sure you look for/at the remote before committing your cash.
The last item is video integration. iPhones and iPods have the ability to play movies, and are with you a lot more than your DVD collection. If a buddy has a movie he wants to show you on his iPod, why watch it on a two inch screen when you can play it on your 50″ TV? While you probably won’t get HD quality, but at least you won’t be cheek to cheek with a former offensive lineman.
There are probably a hundred blogs and magazines out there, written by people much smarter than I am on Apple products and accessories. I threw a few good ones down at the bottom.