iPod Hi-Fi speaker system unveiled | iLounge News


iPod Hi-Fi speaker system unveiled

imageApple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Hi-Fi during today’s special event at Apple’s Cuperinto headquarters. [Live coverage] The high-end speaker system delivers “breathtaking acoustic performance and room-filling sound unlike any other speaker system designed for the iPod in an innovative, all-in-one design.”

The iPod Hi-Fi, which can be powered from a wall socket or by six D-cell batteries, features an integrated iPod dock and is controlled by the 6-button Apple Remote. It’s available starting today for $349.

Compatible with all dock connector iPods, the Hi-Fi charges your iPod while docked and offers Tone Control, Large Album Art mode and volume mirroring on fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos. The device also features molded handles, a removable front grille, touch-sensitive volume control buttons, a built-in power supply (no external power brick), and a 3.5-mm auxiliary input. The Hi-Fi measures 17.0” x 6.6” x 6.9.”

“iPod Hi-Fi has been designed and engineered by Apple to deliver unrivaled sound quality, realistic sound imaging and optimal audio performance,” the company says. “Its clean, all-in-one design features a unique isolated enclosure system that includes two custom designed wide-range speakers and a tuned, ported bass system, minimizing vibration while maximizing sound quality and allowing users to listen to their favorite music as it was intended with amazing sound clarity and rich, deep bass.”

Apple also today introduced new Intel-based Mac mini computers. Available in a 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo processor configuration and a 1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo processor configuration, the new systems feature Apple’s Front Row media software and a new music, video and photo sharing feature that uses the company’s Bonjour wireless networking technology. The new Mac minis start at $599.

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So close to a real living room essencial… in my opinion it lacks video output (to permanently setup video playback to a standard tv, instead of crapy cables runnig from the ipod) and AirTunes inside, to allow us to play from any source via wireless connection…

Posted by dobas on March 2, 2006 at 2:27 AM (CST)


Conventional wisdom suggests that whatever your budget for a stereo, you should spend half on the speakers. In the case of the iPod, plenty of people have spent as much or more on headphones as on their iPod.

Similarly, I think plenty of people will see no problem paying $350 for the iPod Hi-Fi. You could have the world’s great amp (which I admit the iPod is not), but if you plug it into a cheapo speaker, it’s a waste.

I’m glad Apple is trying to take iPod speakers up a notch rather than down a notch.

My guess is that the iPod Hi-Fi will sound good when playing an iPod and much better when playing an Airport Express. My Airport Express played through my living room stereo sounds much better than my iPod played through the same stereo playing the same Apple Lossless files.

Posted by Rockr on March 2, 2006 at 2:35 AM (CST)


Incidentally, did anyone notice that Playlist’s first look bested iLounge’s first look? Usually, iLounge outclasses Playlist, but not this time. Playlist unearthed some very interesting features of the iPod Hi-Fi, such as the ability to use the Menu button on the remote to switch between iPod and auxiliary.

Posted by Rockr on March 2, 2006 at 2:38 AM (CST)


To all of you fanboys thinking that the Apple speaker system is an audiophile product:  Get a clue.

The system has very mediocre specs, with the -3db low cutoff in the high 50’s.  For those of you who does not know what a db is, 3db means that the sound volume is less than half at the cutoff point than at the average high.

Secondly, by having the speakers so close together, it will be impossible to even approach a mediocre set of seperate speakers and mass-market amplifier for channel separation .

Thirdly, no self-respecting, real audiophile even considers listening to compressed audio out of a little portable MP3 player.

Equipment is not “audiophile quality” because it’s expensive as some posters alluded above.  A person is a true audiophile if nothing (sometimes including cost) stands in the way for his search for audio perfection.

Please see this product for what it is - an expensive speaker system for people interested in background music while they do something else, and who like to buy into the Apple brand.

Posted by kokketiel on March 2, 2006 at 8:25 AM (CST)


I bet these sound pretty good. They must, right? I just can’t stand the aspect of paying almost double what I paid for my iPod on SPEAKERS for my iPod.

Let me tell you something - $20, computer mouse-sized portable speakers at Radio Shack. 3 AA batteries. They plug into any normal headphone jack. Exceptional sound for something so tiny. I am completely satisfied. Couldn’t ask for more myself.

Life goes on.

Posted by Werewolf on March 2, 2006 at 8:52 AM (CST)


If anyone is still reading the comments on this page.

Someone on another forum noted that the actual frequency response of these speakers is marginally above FM radio, a quick google reveals this information…

“FM stereo broadcasts in US are generally limited to 50-15KHz.”

So the speakers are 1KHz higher than your standard FM radio, how does this make it audiophile in the slightest?

This product, as others have mentioned, is directed towards people who are misinformed, and have an amount of money to spend. As for looks, I think my veiws will go the same way as the nano. I’ll see it on the internet, and think, christ they’ve done it all wrong, see it in real life, and think, actually that looks really nice. But I won’t be buying it; although I don’t have an audiophile setup, it’s a VERY nice setup.

Posted by silver_haze20 on March 2, 2006 at 9:32 AM (CST)


I think everyone can stop complaining until the HiFi is heard. Almost always the more features and gimmicks added to a piece of stereo equipment at a certain price the worse the sound. I buy a less complicated but better sounding unit over another anyday. I think this is Apple’s plan with the HiFi.

Posted by GCH on March 2, 2006 at 11:18 AM (CST)


I just listened to the HiFi at the Apple store in Long Island. I brought my own iPod to listen to the music I already know (how to listen to). The HiFi was next to SoundDock, for easy comparison.

The first thing to notice was the difference in size; the SoundDock is considerably smaller (though not necessarily better looking). I probably prefer the look of the Apple product—cleaner, over all.

Then came the performance comparison. Overall, I was surprised to find that the Bose sounded better. I listened to cello suites, classical guitar pieces, and female voice, both jazz and pop (is Sarah McLachlan pop?) The SoundDock had considerably better requency separation; the cello was cleaner and crisper. On the HiFi, it was muddied. It also sounded like the intruments were in a hallway, whereas on the SoundDock it sounded like I was in a more intimate setting. I found similar effects listening to a couple different jazz pieces—Winton Marsalis for trumpet and Joe Henderson for sax.

McLachlan’s voice sounded pretty good on the HiFi, though perhaps not quite so clear as it did on the Bose; the real difference on that tune was the instrumentals. On the HiFi, I could barely make out the guitars and other instruments whereas they were prominent (though appropriately so) on the Bose.

The HiFi did a fine job on other, more aggressive sounding pop/rock tunes; it displayed serious volume and substantial base. In addition, the separation of the tweeters allowed for genuine stereo separation—not plausible on the Bose.

Perhaps the midrange/base is being asked to represent too wide a frequency band on the HiFi. Perhaps it needs a crossover tweaking. I don’t know. But if you listen to classical or jazz or voice, and value frequency separation and clarity at the upper frequency ranges, Apple’s HiFi will perhaps suffice, but it certainly doesn’t match the Bose, and at $50 more, it is, in my opinion, not a very good value.


Posted by osullis on March 2, 2006 at 2:31 PM (CST)


Osullis -

Thank you for your assessment.  You are the first I have heard that have actually listened to it.  Your comparison sounded very objective.


Posted by Dave Wagner on March 2, 2006 at 6:00 PM (CST)


First reaction….......was kind of bleand, almost numb!

But that’s what apple want’s and that’s the type of design,
that grows on people.

It’s bland and plain because its minimal, it’s apple.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophisticatoin” Einstein.

Posted by br on March 2, 2006 at 8:04 PM (CST)


I own a bose sounddock.

My friend just got a Hi-Fi, in a San Fran Apple store.

I brought my sounddock to his house to listen and compare,
I don’t speak tech, I speak human.

All of my songs sounded better on the Hi-Fi.
The Bose always sounded a bit tin-e to my.
I sold my Sounddock to my sister today last night!

When I get the money off her on Monday, straight to
the Apple store with ye!

Posted by Br on March 2, 2006 at 8:13 PM (CST)


Wait!  I have one of those in my kitchen…

Posted by Dave on March 2, 2006 at 10:15 PM (CST)


Question for the forum:

Is it possible to have true hi-fi sound from compressed mp3/iPod music ?  I am talking about a complete speaker system with separate channels, left, right, base….Is the sound quality on our iPods as good as what is on say a typical CD ?  Like many people have in their family rooms that listen to CD’s ?

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Dave

Posted by Dave on March 3, 2006 at 4:31 PM (CST)


I have to say I’m quite put off by this. Apple had an opportunity to shine and they came up dull. Does the world ned this product? Not really….many other manufacturers already do it better, with more features at less expense. This one will go the way of the MacTV, the 20th Anniversary Mac or the Performa 636 AV(1994 Performa with DVD, an audio/video capture card and a tv tuner)....which is the way Apple SHOULD have gone with the Mini!

Posted by Rick on March 3, 2006 at 6:19 PM (CST)


I’m starting to think I should have read these reviews “before” I purchased the Hi-Fi.

I bought this as a sound system for my boat as an alternative to a car stereo which would draw from my 12 volt battery. Initially I was thrilled with it; the sound, design…everything. However, I used it on the “D” cells yesterday and within about an hour, the volume had decreased significantly. I replaced the batteries (which by the way were quite new) with fresh ones and the same again. Is this right? At this rate, it is going to cost me more to run the Hi-Fi than my boat :(

The Hi-Fi charges the i-Pod under battery power too…is there any way to disable this? This is not a good “portable” device which is why I bought it!

Posted by shaire on July 15, 2006 at 7:35 AM (CDT)

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