There are a great number of products on the market today to extend the sound of your iPod and iPhone and they run the range from low to high. We bring you a selection of nine iPod/iPhone speakers, amplifiers and stereo dock connectors – all meant to output and at times, improve the audio experience of your portable device. From some simple $39 headphone amplifiers for your iPod, to stand alone $800 powered speakers, we showcase our favorites from 2011.
They all make strong gift buys for the holidays. Someone will love your more for thinking of them.
View our “Gift Ideas” for improved stereo sound from your iPod and iPhone after the click.
Fluance FiSDK500 iPod Speaker
This single unit iPod speaker has been getting some serious love from hifi heads. At $200 (!!) the FiSDK500 features exceptionally good sound from its 10 watts per channel. The 13 pound unit features a fiberboard high gloss finish that looks and sounds great. Includes various dock platters to ensure compatibility with every iPod in the house. Charges as well.
The rich walnut finish on the Vital Audio R4 integrated music system is beautiful. This one does it all: CD player, iPod dock, USB playback port, DAB/DAB+/FM tuner and auxiliary inputs allied to a powerful amplifier/speaker system. Premium and beautiful. Make it the centerpiece of your home audio system.
EPOS Aktimate Self Powered Speakers with iPod Dock
At $700, the EPOS Aktimate self-powered speakers give a bulky 40 watts of power per channel and features an iPod/iPhone dock on top. Place the speakers in a mid-sized room for solid sound throughout. Bonus: the EPOS Aktimate will charge your iPhone or iPod when docked and in use. Boom on.
Taking what the Jambox did and boosting it with more controls and options, the Spar ZEPHYR aluminum speakers connects to your phone via bluetooth or USB for great portable sound. Have an incoming call on your iPhone? No sweat for the ZEPHYR: its built-in mic allows it to act like a speaker phone. That’s cool. $159
Looks like something a soldier would carry into a battle with to ensure they get to play their tunes. At $149 the Audio-Technica AT-SPB30 Boogie Box Portable Speaker features a dock connector and the ruggedness to take a pounding. Japan only, but buy it outside the islands from audiocubes.
PRO-JECT iPod Dock Box
Not your ordinary iPod dock. The PRO-JECT Dock Box is a heavyweight dock upgrade that allows you to connect your portable audio device to your home stereo system with improved audio performance over the typical line-out cable. The unit includes a remote control, gold connectors and a beautiful metal case that looks good in any room for $199.
What is a DAC? It is the on-board chip(s) that convert your digital audio files into analog form for outputting to your headphones or stereo speakers. Peachtree’s does it as well as most in the $1000 range. A high-end gift meant for someone who appreciate the very best in high fidelity.
Firestone Fireye Mini Headphone Amplifier
This is one of our favorites based on the footprint. The Firestone Fireye mini headphone amplifier is tiny! Plug the Fireye mini into your iPhone/iPod’s headphone jack and your headphones into the Fireye for a boost in the overall audio quality of your portable player. The internal lithium batter, which charges from the USB post on the Fireye will give you sound for up to 24 hours – all for $39.
HIFIMAN HM-101 Portable USB Headphone Amp and Output
Not as small as the Fireye but with even more punch comes the HIFIMAN HM-101 will also pump up the quality of your headphones for $39 and works just as well for plugging in your audio device to your stereo system. The external finish looks a touch nicer than the Fireye while your house guests will try and figure out what the hell it is.