Which sound system iPod Hifi or Bose Sounddock?
July 5, 2006 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Which sound system: iPod Hifi or Bose Sounddock?

Small apartment, no stereo system. The iPod Hifi is purty expensive at $350, the Bose Sounddock is also expensive at $299 but I might be able to get a discount to bring it down to $250. So is the iPod Hifi worth the extra $100?
posted by jeremias to Technology (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm always hearing Bose ads on Christian Fundamentalist radio, and hocked by right-wing talk show hosts, so I'd spend the extra hundred bucks just so the money doesn't go to them.
posted by interrobang at 6:25 PM on July 5, 2006

They're both way overpriced if you don't value the somewhat boring design over performance - neither sounds that great. If you want decent sound AND care about looks/design, try the Tivoli systems. If design isn't such a big deal, Cambridge Soundworks makes something fairly equivalent and supposedly has very good bang for the buck.
posted by kcm at 6:30 PM on July 5, 2006

yes, it is worth the money. This comment on digg.com summarizes it well. If you don't want to read it all, here's a good paragraph:

"Apple's design choices make for a much smoother amplitude and time-delay characteristic across the critical middle and higher frequencies. Many people are (understandably) a bit clueless about speakers, and think simply in terms of how strong the bass or highs are. But preserving subtle time delay uniformity gives a speaker system another important quality. Listening to good recordings on a well designed speaker system with the eyes closed, one gets a sense of the different locations of individual instruments. From what I can see of the design, I expect the Apple iPod Hi-Fi will perform far better than most speakers in this regard."
posted by Señor Pantalones at 6:33 PM on July 5, 2006

But Señor,

Granted, I am clueless about sepakers, but how does the Apple speaker get decent stereo separation from one speaker?

Or is that the wrong question?
posted by baltimore at 7:02 PM on July 5, 2006

I would personally recommend against both.

If you're willing to spend $300, look at some of the budget mid-end home theater packages out there, and plug your iPod into those. The sounddock, etc don't offer you anything all that ipod-special. They may have a remote, but are you really going to get good use out of a remote when you're too far away from the ipod's screen to read it?

I picked up the Onkyo HTS-660 for $299 after rebate after watching slickdeals for a while -- it's a 6.1 surround system and includes a relatively nice receiver. The thing sounds absolutely amazing, and my iPod plugs into it just fine. The speakers are reasonably small (though not tiny), so I had no problem with the small space I was living in at the time.
posted by twiggy at 7:06 PM on July 5, 2006

Read the bad Bose reviews (low stars) at Amazon. I was scared off buying one based on them. Can't speak for the Apple.
posted by dobbs at 7:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Head to an Apple store and listen to them both. Buy the one you think sounds better.
posted by toddshot at 7:15 PM on July 5, 2006

I second the Tivoli recommendation. I have a tivoli pal ($150) and it sounds excellent. It also runs off its internal batteries so it's great near the pool.
posted by meta87 at 7:21 PM on July 5, 2006

I would second twiggy here - Just get a stereo. Some day you won't live in an apartment and you'll be able to crank it. You can probably get a nice pair of bookshelf speaker and an amp for $150. Then you can buy the iPod dock w/remote with the rest of the money. And I bet it will sound better then the Apple or Bose stereo-to-mono conversion systems.
posted by mzurer at 7:25 PM on July 5, 2006

I've been using these with my iPod for a while. Not bad for the size and the price is right.
posted by yqxnflld at 7:45 PM on July 5, 2006

Offbeat suggestion, but I think my setup equals if not exceeds the Bose sounddock: a Sonic Impact T-Amp (about $35, shop around) plus a universal AC adaptor ($6 from Wal-Mart) plus a pair of used Infinity bookshelf speakers ($50 from Craigslist). I keep it in a milk crate to lug around the house, out by the pool, etc. Ugly as sin? Yes. But the sound is fantastic and I don't worry about anything breaking because it can be cheaply replaced.
posted by mattholomew at 8:21 PM on July 5, 2006

If you have an existing stereo that sounds good, get one of these at half the price. Remote, on-screen navigation (to your TV), video playback if you have a 5G model, and recharges your unit.

I dig my the sound of my current hi-fi and this is the way I'm going.

It is not, however, a portable solution. Certainly more for the living room than the bedroom.

But toss one of these in for under $100 and you have two rooms covered for less than your intended budget!
posted by sourwookie at 8:46 PM on July 5, 2006

Consider these. Then, if you're still considering Bose or AppleHiFi, consider them again.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:27 PM on July 5, 2006

I have a friend who's on his third warranty repair of his iPod, and dreading the day when his warranty runs out: He's got the Bose unit, and is sticking with Apple products because he spent a fortune on it.

I'd agree with everybody else about buying a real stereo and a dock - If nothing else, you can hide the stereo junk off somewhere and just leave the dock accessable.

PS: I've heard his model and I'm really not impressed. It sounded maybe marginally better than a good pair of PC speakers - It really dosen't hold a candle to either of my home setups.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:28 PM on July 5, 2006

I third and fourth the recommendations for a real stereo. You can get into really nice equipment second hand via Craig's List or eBay. Check out the Klipsch store on eBay for good as new, factory refurbished speakers. Throw in a good used amp (maybe a Harmon Kardon?) and you've got a budget system that will leave these crappy little over hyped dealies from Apple & Bose in the dust. $300 is a great budget to work with...
posted by wfrgms at 11:03 PM on July 5, 2006

Never buy Bose. They are first a marketing company, before being a speaker company:

posted by gmarceau at 9:00 AM on July 6, 2006

I use an Aego M with my iPod. it really does sound fantastic and is available in both black and white, so you can match whichever flavour of iPod you have. Their stereo imaging is very good and they're flexible enough to situate anywhere.

They look to be about $199 in the US.

Reviews here and here.
posted by ganseki at 9:55 AM on July 6, 2006

I'm really happy with my Altec Lansing IM7 Portable Audio System for iPod. It's a great little boombox for the price. And i got a ben's bargains deal on it for like 160 a while ago. You can do similar for refurbished right now.

posted by rileyray3000 at 1:37 PM on July 6, 2006

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