The ability to carry every song you ever heard around in your iPod is a truly liberating feeling. Your songs are, however, limited to your ears. You could share an iPod I suppose – one earpiece each – or even use a double-socket adaptor for two sets of headphones. But a far better solution is iPod speakers. Logic 3 has produced the i-Station – more than just speakers for your iPod, it’s practically a shrine.
I wasn’t aware until recently that there are people in the world who hate iPods. There is no real reason for it, other than the fact that they are PC users that hate anything with an Apple logo on it. Obviously not all PC users think that way, but I met somebody the other day berating the iPod with its “fancy design” and “ease of use”. He thinks people just buy iPods to join the cult of the Mac, not because it’s the most obvious solution to listening to MP3s outdoors. Anyway, he’s going to hate the i-Station – it looks really cool.
The i-Station is a portable speaker system that is designed with the iPod as its focus. It looks the part, and equally important, it has real value with excellent iPod features such as charging and syncing. The design features four trays to hold whichever iPod you own. All generations are supported, including the iPod mini, and it will even hook up to non-iPod players. The different trays slip onto the middle section of the speakers and are held firmly with a magnet.
Included in the box are cables for every occasion – both FireWire and USB 2.0 cables are supplied. That means you can sync your iPod from a Mac or PC. There’s also an audio cable for first-generation iPods or any player with a headphone jack. Power is supplied with another cable, meaning you can charge the iPod as you play your tunes.
The whole package folds up and a protective cover goes over the speakers for safety. The unit consists of two satellites speakers and a subwoofer. It can be powered by four A4 batteries, and the manufacturer claims you’ll get 20 hours out of them – however, I suspect that this would only be possible at minimum volume.
Once your iPod is connected, volume is controlled by the buttons on the front. There’s an additional button for 3D sound, which gives a more widely spaced sound.
The sound quality is excellent at low levels, though when cranked it tends to favour the highs and lows at the expense of mid-range fidelity. It would be fine in a hotel room or kitchen, but not capable of a big enough sound for a party or the beach.
Everything about the i-Station is well thought out. From the interchangeable docking plates to the plethora of useful cables, it has everything included for every type of iPod user. The only thing that stops it short of perfection is the fact that the sound isn’t massive. Though limitation is a function of its size rather than design, if you want a bigger sound you’ll need bigger speakers. But on portability, design, features and price (only £59) it scores very well indeed.