Altec Lansing inMotion iM3 and iM3c Portable Audio for iPod | iLounge

Reviews

41

I got an IM3 recently and I'm overall happy with it, but I was very disappointed and surprised to find out that it does not have any kind of line out, NOT EVEN THROUGH THE DOCK CONNECTOR at the rear side! (at least not as far as I could find out using a Belkin Car Connector.) So I'll have to drop the idea to use IM3 as a replacement for the Apple Dock.

Posted by macsolve in Sweden on December 29, 2004 at 3:19 PM (PDT)

42

Response from Altec Lansing:
Apparently, what was listed in the Apple website was some sort of typo. These systems were never ment to include a "line out" to send the signal to an exterior source. This can be done via the Ipod's headphone jack therefore including it on the speakers woud deafeat the purpose and be unnecsessary. Thank you for choosing Altec Lansing and have a nice day, Mitch Altec Lansing Customer Support

My response back to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address):
Please let it be known for future development that line out signal in the dock connector would be very useful and is a requirement to use the speakers as a replacement for the Apple dock when using the iPod with a stereo, taking advantage of the speaker's remote control. It would certainly not be unnecessary. Using the iPod headphone jack as line out is not a viable option. This is a design mistake.

Posted by macsolve in Sweden on January 12, 2005 at 10:46 PM (PDT)

43

Ive owned the m3 for sometime and i found that for one this review is dead on and two that if you set the ipod in the dock and then proceed to uses the provided audio cable to hook it to the back the sounds becomes much crisper... I take this thing everywhere, we use it at parties and when playing cards even out in the garage when im working on the car.

Great product.

Posted by Corwin on January 16, 2005 at 4:15 AM (PDT)

44

I work in a professional, corporate environment but do not have my own, private office and spend my day in a relatively private cube. This is where I listen to my iPod (via iM3 speakers) most often. I have owned the iM3’s for close to 2 months and consider them an excellent addition to my workspace. Granted, I have never pushed the limits of volume and therefore cannot comment on the particulars of the sound quality (i.e. separation, balance, etc.). I basically listen to the music at a level that will not disturb those around me. As such, my need for audio perfection is limited (though I own a premium HK home system). I have taken these speakers with me on business trips (including international) and have listened to music in my hotel room. Again, I did not have a need to crank up the volume and cannot therefore comment on sound quality at high levels over any extended period. If I described a situation similar to how you may use the iM3’s, then they are a superior choice. They are aesthetically magnificent, highly portable/functional (thanks especially to the remote) and produce a sound experience perfect to fill a small space, especially if you plan to be within 15 ft of the speakers. I recently listened to the Bose Soundocks and JBL OnStages at sound levels I would essentially use in my workspace and found sound quality almost indiscernible at low-mid volume levels. The Bose did outperform when I cranked up the volume. However, I could never listen to music so loud in my office. I consider the iM3’s price to [performance, features and design] on the mark.

Posted by wingman on January 17, 2005 at 1:04 PM (PDT)

45

Hi,

I would consider the Logic3 i-Station before buying any speaker system. It serves as a dock to your PC for I tunes synching. It has a built in subwoofer, runs on AC or AA's. It also has an audio in jack so you can use it with your laptop. It also charges your ipod.

Amazon has them at pretty good prices. Sadly, less than I paid at Circuit City.

The sound is very good - even at high volume. It has a 3D option for added channel separation.

I am looking forward to a review on the i-station from ipod lounge.

Posted by cable_guy on January 29, 2005 at 3:54 PM (PDT)

46

Hi. just got my iM3 half an hour ago and decided to leave something here. I think the sound is great, but in comparison with the older original inMotion, the latter sounds better. in my opinion its because of the metal grill in front of the speakers. it vibrates at certain frequencies and produces an awful sound when it vibrates as well. is sounds like "ttttttttrrrr tttrrrrr" or somewhat. i have to hold the metal grill to reduce that sound. it think its not fastened correctly to the plastic back. but overall i think its a great puchase. =)

Posted by john_ate in Bristol, UK on February 8, 2005 at 2:44 AM (PDT)

47

ouh and i realized that altec changed the magnetic flap on the carrying case with a velcro instead. now your ipod is safe in the case without the magnet =) nice touch altec. btw my ipod wouldnt turn on or off with the remote..im not sure why this happens but when i pressed the power button on the remote, it will turn on or off the iM3 but not the ipod...but ill try to figure that out later...any suggestions?

Posted by john_ate in Bristol, UK on February 8, 2005 at 6:03 AM (PDT)

48

ouh ok i just found out...it turns off and on just like the ipod do...not using the power button on the remote but pressing and holding the play/pause button just like an ipod. im pretty sure i love the iM3 now.

Posted by john_ate in Bristol, UK on February 9, 2005 at 2:57 AM (PDT)

49

Folks - the current iM3 works fine with the iPod photo - you have to remove the small "face plate" clipped onto the cradle/base out of the box. The system comes with several cradle adapters for the mini, 3g etc and will hold the iPod photo perfectly without an adaptor.

Ensure the box has a sticker on the outside that reads "compatible with the iPod photo".

Also - to pile on regarding the sound quality issue compared to Bose etc - if you are buying this system to crank tunes in your dorm and enjoy the amazing portability/compactness for travel you are trying to have your cake and eat it too - kind of like expecting your Prius to go off road like a Hummer.

If you want hi-fidelity booming sound at home, plunk down some bucks for home speakers - klipsch etc and run the standard cradle thru a decent amp.

If you want to enjoy your iPod travelling on business, cruising down to Mexico, youth hostelling across Europe, or on duty in Iraq then this is the system for you!!!

Great site - highly exhaustive information!!

BNyce

Posted by BNyce in Chicago USA on February 10, 2005 at 11:40 PM (PDT)

50

Great review, I got one of these for my birthday the other day and you had me worried it was too crappy.

HOWEVER, took it on a weeklong vacation and it was PERFECT. It travelled really well, it rocked my beach cabana and it charged my iPod. The remote was such a huge plus, and in the absence of a room stereo it really hit the spot.

The only question I have is why they would bother withthe dock connector in the back (so you can attach it to a computer). No audio came out of the speakers whenthe iPod was syncing, so as long as I had the iPod cable it was pointless not to just hook the iPod up directly and put another iPod in the iM3s.

I guess you could connect the dock to a laptop and then use the little cable to reconnect the headphone out on the laptop back to the iM3s but I'm not sure that would even work.

Also I have a 3G so it doesn't charge thru the USB on my laptop, maybe it would be better with a 4G (or my next 5G).

Loved the things and with nothing to compare them to, they did a great job. What I'd really like to see is a review of that new Bose thingy that looks like a white flask.

Posted by Amighty on February 17, 2005 at 9:02 AM (PDT)

51

hey i realized apple now have a 30gb ipod photo that is slimmer than the older 40 or 60GB ipod photos. does this means the iM3 can now fit the 30GB ipod photo?

Posted by john_ate in Bristol, UK on February 28, 2005 at 9:14 AM (PDT)

52

I bought the iM3 for my wife a few weeks ago. She and I both LOVE it. The review was very good and correct. By changing the "Equalizer" settings on the iPod, you can get very decent sound out of the iM3. Of course it's not for those that want a "killer" sound system. But if you want a portable system that sounds good, charges your iPod, and has a remote, then this is the ticket!

Posted by bjmarler1 on March 24, 2005 at 5:51 AM (PDT)

53

nice review! i love this site.

but these speakers only look good. they sound horrible.

Posted by iluvcheeriosbaby on March 30, 2005 at 12:45 PM (PDT)

54

Anyone have problems using a 3G iPod with the IM3? I just received an IM3 and they work great as long as I'm not trying to use it as a sync cradle and listen to music. After it finishes syncing all the buttons on the ipod and the remote are basically locked up. It does not work again until I disconnect the sync cable. Not very convenient. But I would not get rid of the speakers, they work great otherwise. I only need to know if they are defective or is this normal with a 3G iPod.

Posted by JMEIV on June 3, 2005 at 10:43 AM (PDT)

55

I JUST bought these speakers for my b-day as a present to myself. They are GREAT.. the sound quality is excellent and it produces a nice loud boom. Some people say its only good for a few listeners, but, since I play hacki-sack and there are about 10 of us they are GREAT
They are extremely loud, but kinda of eat the battery.
They are small enough for me to carry in my hand and listen to while I walk.
I got these speakers for $120 Canadian off ebay brand new. So I got an EXCELLENT deal. Thats about $97 american.
I'm very impressed

Posted by Knife in Oakville Ontario on June 5, 2005 at 8:58 AM (PDT)

56

I own the iM3 and am completely happy with it. Granted the price is steep, yet it is probably the best dock/speaker system that easilly fits in a backpack or notebook case.The remote control works great and I find it extremely handy for catching up on podcasts, on the road, office, anywhere.

Two weeks ago, I sold my old 3G 40 GB iPod and indulged in a new 60 GB Photo. Alas, the new pod didn't quite get on with my iM3. Despite removing the dock-adapter, it just wouldn't consistantly remain securely dockd. No worrys Mate, I called Altec-Lansing's toll-free number and got hooked up properly. I was instucted to ship my current iM3 back to them, and within one week, a new one was dropped off by the UPS man. It cost me $12 to do it, but I would still consider this exchange excellent customer servce. Altec-Lansing left me with the impression that they "get" the Apple customer's expectations when it comes to quality standards and service.

One note regarding Bose's"SoundDock": I have it, I love it. But you really can't haul it around (especially air travel). and the SoundDock allways requires an electrical outlet to use.
Cheers

Posted by mplsman in Minneapolis, MN on July 14, 2005 at 12:21 AM (PDT)

57

Disclaimer:

I really like this site and find the reviews very helpful and entertaining. I enjoy spending alot of time reading the reviews and comments.

As I have stated in other comments, I would not subject my ipod to scratches by taking it out of it's case and putting it into an unpadded, hard dock causing scratches.

Also, Why are all these accessories so expensive? Because many people go into credit card debt paying for this stuff.

I can go to "Fry's" and buy a dolby surround sound reciever w/subwoofer, AM/FM PLL Digital tuner, complete set of satalite speakers w/CD for about $200 on sale. No, they aren't the greatest quality, but they still sound very good.

Think about all the things two hundred dollars would buy. Then compare those things to these speaker systems.

I have heard these speakers and others reviewed here. And they sound very good for their size.

I bought a 3 piece set of amplifed speakers (altec lansing VS2200 (?) that sound as good or better then ipod speakers from JBL and Altec Lansing from Circuit City for $50!!!!

Posted by Remington in Sacramento, CA on July 28, 2005 at 8:48 PM (PDT)

58

form factor is all these have going for them.
b+ is far too high for these. sound quality is piss poor, and would not be acceptable even for party situations -- quite far from it! these speakers sound terrible at high volume, and just tolerable at low volume. this would be ok if they were perhaps $20 more than the similar sounding isound dock-speaker i found for $20, but the $130 i paid, and the $180 the retail price commands, is absolutely atrocious..and i'm not too spoiled, all i use is simple cambridge soundworks 2.1 speakers on a normal basis...but they cost not even half the price and sound 20 times better. two thumbs way down.

Posted by tricky on December 30, 2005 at 10:31 PM (PDT)

59

If you think that the sound is too steep for the price, look for a refurbished or opened pair. Sone guy bought a pair of iM3s and returned them to sharper image. i got them for $90! They always put the floor samples and returns on a little shelf in the back, you can ask one of the store guys. They have these iM3s that sit out on the shelf in the store, and when they don't need it anymore (like theygot a new one) you can get an iM3 cheap. if you don't care about having a scrached dock adapter from idiots who try and force an iPod photo 60GB into the Mini adapter (i really saw this hapen once. The guy started complaining that is iPod wouldn't fit into the iM3s until a clerk shoed him the adapters.

Posted by anti-luddite on June 16, 2006 at 6:00 AM (PDT)

60

Some people are just so stupid. If you buy a set of PORTABLE SPEAKERS, then try and hook them up to a huge sound system, then it is redundant. thet is why NO portable or ultraportable speakers will EVER have a line-out port. It adds a HUGE amount to the development cost of the speakers, and most people will never use it. if you really want to have a wireless remote hooked up to a good stereo, let me direct you to iLounge's "Docks and Cradles" section. there are a multitude of items designed to be a remote and a line out, but cheaper than the iM3s because they ae not speakers. If you really care about the difference between small and large speakers, make sure you have your songs in a lossless format, and don't buy portable speakers, if you are that much of an audiophile, you will hate these, but if you are not Audio-Obsessed, than these are perfect.

Posted by anti-luddite on June 23, 2006 at 8:20 AM (PDT)

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