Klipsch's snazzy new iPod speaker, the iGroove, has a couple of tricks yet to appear on other brands' compact power speaker systems. First off, it comes with a pair of honest-to-God two-way speakers (woofer and tweeter), whereas most iPod-inspired alternatives rely on a single, teensy woofer per channel. Within the iGroove's compact dimensions, Klipsch engineers installed a stereo pair of 2.5-inch woofers and 1-inch horn-loaded tweeters that focus the treble sound up toward the listening position. A set of volume up/down buttons and an on/off switch are the unit's only controls. The iGroove is available in both matte-silver finish and high-gloss black, called the iGroove HG. Both have a list price of $250.
The Klipsch iGroove comes with a handy miniremote that adjusts the volume and your iPod's play/pause functions, as well as changes tracks on your playlists. Like the , the iGroove can accept any iPod with a dock connector. Full-size iPods, including the video-enabled fifth-generation iPod, fit snugly, thanks to an adjustable backrest. An adapter is included for older iPod Mini models, and Klipsch has begun bundling adapters for the iPod Nano as well. If you bought the early versions of the iGroove that lack the Nano adapter, just call Klipsch's customer support, who'll ship one to you for free. Don't own an iPod? No problem--other similar-size MP3 players can use the included J-Cup cradle and loop the provided cable into the headphone jack. In fact, you can plug anything with a headphone or line-out jack into the iGroove, even if it doesn't fit the cradle. The speaker runs off the included AC power supply and charges docked iPods as well.
We started our evaluations in earnest with some Simon and Garfunkel's tunes, and the Klipsch iGroove sounded pleasantly natural. Their soaring vocals, the guitars, and the band on the Bridge over Troubled Water album sounded great. The iGroove is just 15 inches wide, so stereo separation isn't its strong suit. In small bedrooms or kitchens, the iGroove will play reasonably loud, but it's not exactly a party animal. That said, considering its modest dimensions, the iGroove generates surprisingly satisfying bass without exaggerated boominess or thickening.
We noted that some tunes elicited a mild buzzing sound between our iPod and the Klipsch iGroove. Most of the time, we were unaware of the noise--it happened on only a limited range of bass notes. After adjusting the iGroove's backrest, the buzz disappeared, and the bass noticeably improved. In other words, make sure the iPod has a solid connection with the iGroove's dock.
We liked the iGroove, but it's nowhere as impressive as the company's three-piece iPod speaker system, the . That $399 set features a hunky 8-inch, 200-watt, powered subwoofer and a set of Klipsch's superb two-way, RSX-3 satellite speakers. It takes up a lot more space than the iGroove, but it's far and away the best iPod speaker we've tested here at CNET.