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iHome goes upscale with new Studio Series iP1 iPod/iPhone audio system

Budget-mind iHome has developed a new iPod/iPhone system that has a high-end industrial design and a fancy active digital signal processor that the company says makes your MP3s sound better.

The Studio Series iP1 will go on sale in July with a list price of $300.

We review a lot of iHome products on CNET and until now the brand has had more of budget slant to it. But this summer, with the introduction of its new iP1 Studio Series model, iHome is setting its sights a little higher.

We got an early look at the iP1 at an iHome event and it's definitely got an appealing and distinctive industrial design (iHome refers to the smoked acrylic surrounding the speakers as "museum quality"--we didn't now such a term existed for describing smoked acrylic). As far as the key specs go, the iP1 uses a "100 watt class D biamplified architecture with Bongiovi sound processing through twin 4-inch woofers and matched 1-inch dome tweeters." It's also got GSM shielding for iPhone use and a video-out port for watching iPod/iPhone video on a TV. However, there's no radio or alarm features.

The man behind the special sound processing is Tony Bongiovi, a music producer, second cousin of Jon Bon Jovi, and founder of the renowned Power Station recording studio where the event took place. The iP1 is equipped with Bongiovi Acoustics Digital Power Station, an active digital signal processor that the company says makes your MP3s sound better and maximizes the performance of the iP1.

Here's how iHome describes the feature:

When activated, "DPS constantly scans the program material and compensates for any deficiencies across the audio frequency spectrum. The result is a restoration of once-missing harmonics, brightness, clarity and presence. It also delivers a deeper, more resonant bass and miraculously extends audio bandwidth without adding peak output to the signal."

What we heard from the iP1 at the event seemed very decent for a compact system in this price range, which made us eager to pit it against some competing models in our labs to see how it stacks up. Hopefully, we'll have a review up shortly before its release in July.