Teacher needs cheap iPod speaker with remote for classroom, recommendations?
October 2, 2008 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Ipod speaker filter: 4th grade teacher has ipod to play tunes in her classroom, but needs speakers. What do you suggest for (1) less than $75, (2) with remote, (3) loud enough to fill a classroom with 30 students, and (4) works with a 5th gen 80gb ipod?

Ms. Unclezeb teaches in Richmond's "Iron-Triangle" and loves giving her students good music options with positive messages (while not sucking) and other tunes to help them focus during exams. She's been interested in an ipod for a while and I've ordered her one that will be able to hold her music collection for years to come.

But I need the help of the hivemind to figure out how to get the music from the ipod to her students!

(1) Hopefully less than $75 - I can bargain hunt to get lower prices, but spending less than $75 is the goal.
(2) With a remote - she'll need to be able to stop, skip, etc while moving around the room, so a remote is a must. Also, it can then be placed high up enough that kids won't be tempted to make the ipod their own.
(3) Loud - it would have to be able to fill a room that has tall ceilings (over 11' tall) and is about 25' x 18'. Not concerned about power at all ends of the sound spectrum, but limited distortion would be nice.
(4) Must work with her ipod classic that's in the mail (I believe this is a 5.5th generation model, please correct me if I'm wrong).

Optional but desirable:
(5) Operational under battery power (but must be able to plug-in in the classroom)
(6) Bigger isn't bad - less of a temptation to students if it's too big to fit in a backpack.

Under consideration thus far:
JBL OnStage II
Intempo IDS-01
iLive ISPK2806BLK
iLive IBCD3817DT Portable Boombox with iPod Docking Station
iLive iHM8816DT Home Music System with DVD/CD
iH9 White Alarm Clock
Satechi (Black) Dock Station Stereo Round Speaker

Tell me what you recommend (or which of my ideas are terrible) if you have a minute, thanks for helping with her surprise gift!
posted by unclezeb to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Docking stereos are nice, but not strictly necessary. Any device with a line-in jack can accept audio from the headphone jack on any iPod. As long as it's got a remote, you're set. You just need a $3 cable. The upshot is that it's likely to be significantly cheaper and will work with any audio device, iPod or not.

Pretty much anything will work.
posted by valkyryn at 11:41 AM on October 2, 2008

However, that won't allow remote control for the ipod (stop, skip, pause), just the stereo.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:45 AM on October 2, 2008

Best answer: Agree with above. For 75 bucks you can get a quite passable 2.1 speaker system, potentially with enough left over for a dock with line-out. This is what I use for integrating ipods into a few projects I've got going, and the sound to price ratio is way better than any of the dedicated Ipod gadgets.
posted by piedmont at 12:14 PM on October 2, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies folks, I set my dad up with a similar 2.1 speaker system for his ipod, but it is not what we need in this situation - a remote that can control the ipod track number and volume is one of my requirements unfortunately.

Any other suggestions which include an ipod controlling remote?
posted by unclezeb at 2:26 PM on October 2, 2008

I got these Dell speakers from a computer resale store. They cost $50 on Dell's site, but I got them for like $30. They're really small, but come w/ a subwoofer, so they don't sound tinny. On the contrary, these speakers can put out loud, relatively full-bodied sound. All you need is a wall plug and your ipod. It could not be simpler. The only downside is that your ipod isn't charging while it's playing. But considering that ipods have a limited number of charges before the battery goes kaput, I think it's a fair trade-off.
posted by nushustu at 2:27 PM on October 2, 2008

Sigh. On preview, never mind everything I just wrote.
posted by nushustu at 2:28 PM on October 2, 2008

Again, if you buy a 3rd party dock with remote sans speaker for around $15-20, then get a decent set of speakers, you'll get more volume with better sound quality, for less money than the all in one gadgets.
posted by piedmont at 2:43 PM on October 2, 2008

There's an unfortunate legal issue here; this may qualify as a public performance requiring rather steep royalty payments by your wife or her school.

Sadly enough, this potential liability probably makes it not worth doing.
posted by orthogonality at 2:51 PM on October 2, 2008

posted by ooklala at 4:39 PM on October 2, 2008

There's an unfortunate legal issue here; this may qualify as a public performance requiring rather steep royalty payments by your wife or her school.

Sadly enough, this potential liability probably makes it not worth doing.

In theory, that is.
posted by mattholomew at 6:35 PM on October 2, 2008

Response by poster: Well, I wouldn't be willing to risk my bar card in saying that she won't get in trouble, I'm gonna say that my non-legal opinion is that fair use and no benefit financial or to reputation is gonna prevent legal troubles. But hey, I'm in criminal law, so what do I know.

As for a dock with a remote that's connected to separately purchased speakers, this is a GREAT idea, thanks!

I guess that makes my question, "what dock with remote and audio out should I get?"
posted by unclezeb at 6:58 AM on October 3, 2008

Best answer: as a teacher, i've never heard of a teacher being stopped or prosecuted for playing music or other audio in the classroom. i understand that this falls under fair use.

at any rate, i use my little JBL On-stage Micro in the classroom, and it works just fine. Has remote. And as a substitute, I can carry it with me no problem. it's not big sound for audiophiles, but it's very functional and doesn't look like it's worth stealing. having it placed up high might be a problem for the remote, though.
posted by RedEmma at 7:56 AM on October 3, 2008

Best answer: I've got a much older version of this one. It works great. I don't think the video out will work with ones even as new as yours, but it works just fine. Honestly, the 15 dollar ebay jobs should work just fine for this purpose.
I hope an audiophile will correct me, but from what I understand, any dock that doesn't amplify should give the same lineout results...more or less. Since you're buying a 15-20 dollar dock, that leaves you with around 50 bucks for amplifying speakers, which will sound okay, even with a cheap-o Chinese dock.
posted by piedmont at 8:04 AM on October 3, 2008

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