Tomorrow’s Speakers Today, Part 2: IceTune | iLounge Article

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Tomorrow’s Speakers Today, Part 2: IceTune

We’ve seen plenty of iPod-matching speakers, but none of them has been stylish enough to just floor us. Macally’s IceTune is the exception - one of those “wow” concepts that drops jaws and makes people ask the standard salivatory questions: “where did you get those?”, “how much are they?”, and “how do they sound?”

Answers: Macally’s selling them to stores all over the place, they retail for $69.99 (or $55 and up if you shop around), and they sound good - so long as you’re not looking for any thump in your music. They’re stronger in the treble and midrange departments than the bass, the latter fact a bit surprising given the size of their speaker chambers and the bass-heavy performance of Altec’s substantially smaller iM4 drivers. However, as with all the speakers we test, we asked a less critical listener to render a comparative opinion on the IceTunes versus another pair of speakers - in this case the iM4s - and the IceTunes won out. Considering how inexpensive the IceTunes can be, that’s saying something.

But that said, they’re entirely different pairs of speakers. IceTunes aren’t portable - you only plug them into a wall - but they’re a truly wicked idea. Stack them up for a wall of sound or spread them out for true stereo separation. Dock and recharge any Dock Connector iPod on top of them, or alongside them. There’s a line-in for iPod shuffles and non-iPod audio devices, too. And did we mention the glowing blue ring that turns on when you hit the power button? We’ll say it again: jaw-dropping design.

Our review unit has one and only one issue: the AC power connection to the dock is way too loose, and assuming it’s like that in other units, desperately needs to be stabilized or used someplace where you’re not tugging or moving around the dock too much. It’s a minor and annoying problem in an otherwise smart little package. If Macally produced a $120 version with better sound quality and a remote control, we think they would wreak havoc on the iPod speaker market. As-is, we think these are going to do some major damage on the low end.

« Tomorrow’s Speakers Today, Part 3: Logitech mm22

Tomorrow’s Speakers Today, Part 1: Altec iM4 »

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Comments

1

These do look pretty cool. I’m wondering how cable management works, so I hope you’ll cover that in the full review. And I guess they don’t come with a case?? Although it looks as if they might fit in a camera telephoto lens case.

Posted by Fangorn in Texas on March 10, 2005 at 10:48 AM (PDT)

2

No case. They’re not portable. And cable management is not a component of the design; the cables dangle from the back of the dock.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 10, 2005 at 10:54 AM (PDT)

3

So what constitutes “jaw-dropping”?  Is it the blue light or the fact that you can shape the sound?  I guess maybe I am too critical, but I think its not much to get worked up over, besides the attractive price.

Posted by christomapher in chicago on March 10, 2005 at 1:51 PM (PDT)

4

This looks like the kind of iPod speaker set you would find at BigLots or Wall-Mart. Clunky dock that takes away from the iPod rather than showing it off, huge macally print on each piece then that giant ICETUNE label, lots of wires, and from the pictures it looks like a low quality matte white plastic.

Posted by arquiteto on March 10, 2005 at 6:10 PM (PDT)

5

i like this, but do you think they put enough logo’s on it?  what’s the point of designing something streamlined and beautiful in minimalist white, if you’re just going to cover it in ugly black marks?  that in itself is a deal-breaker for me.

Posted by petro on March 10, 2005 at 6:27 PM (PDT)

6

Kind of neat. Stack them, aim one left and one right, and you still have stereo.

Posted by Nagromme on March 10, 2005 at 7:28 PM (PDT)

7

I agree, those look like they are straight out of Big Lots.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 10, 2005 at 9:31 PM (PDT)

8

First off, in general you all do a great job on this site.  I’ve been reading the reviews on this web site for a while now, and I have to say I’ve never TOTALLY disagreed with any of the editors.  Until now.  This stuff is so budget looking and the design is just silly.  I mean, the fact that you think this looks cool makes me question the judgement of the sound quality…and based on my experience with MacAlly mice, good design and quality are unlikely.

Posted by thebigob1 in Northern California on March 10, 2005 at 11:58 PM (PDT)

9

If you guys are so worried about the labels on the IceTunes, just take them off.  You can probably shave them or use some paint thinner to remove them, its not that hard.

Posted by christomapher in chicago on March 11, 2005 at 7:30 AM (PDT)

10

There are some things you just have to see in person. We don’t know a single person who has seen these in living color and come away unimpressed with them visually. But quality is indeed a bit of an issue with these, as we’ll note in our review.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 11, 2005 at 8:34 AM (PDT)

11

The text on the set is a little over the top for minamalist styleing, but I love the design.  If only it were expandable to something like 10 modules!?

Posted by P The D on March 11, 2005 at 8:38 PM (PDT)

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