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Nonelectric iPhone dock boosts sound with gramophone horn

There are no cords or batteries here. ReAcoustic uses nothing more than a wooden base and an old gramophone horn or trumpet bell to amplify sound from your iPhone or iPad.

Ryan Boase/ReAcoustic

There are retro gadgets and then there are retro gadgets.

A contemporary take on a 1950s-style vacuum tube radio is one thing, and we suspect its monophonic sound is a warm and cozy delight. But an entirely acoustic iPhone dock -- kitted out with an antique gramophone amplification horn -- takes things back to another century. And the sound seems to be tinnily tantalizing.

The docks, made by Ryan Boase's ReAcoustic, rely on nothing more than a wooden base and a reclaimed metal horn to amplify music from the iPhone's (or iPad's) speaker.

"The name ReAcoustic comes from two different aspects of what I am doing in my shop," Boase told Crave in an e-mail. "The 'Re' comes from the fact that I reuse edge-glued salvaged wood for the bases, and reuse beat-up unplayable musical instruments and antique horns. And the 'Acoustic' comes from the fact that all of the docks in my shop are completely acoustically amplified. They require no batteries or cords. Internally there is a small hollow channel leading from the speaker to the horn."

And the docks look striking, combining a kind of contemporary minimalism with Victorian flair (and flare), as you can see in the gallery above.

The pieces are custom made to order and cost from about $60 to more than $500 (Boase told Crave that interested readers can get a discount of 15 percent by using the code Discount15 at checkout). Apparently the docks are doing well.

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"I have only been making these docks for a few weeks," Boase said, "but the response has been great. I currently offer acoustic docks for the iPhone and the iPad using horns like trumpets, trombones, and the gramophone horns, and I have plans to expand to iPod and Droid docks. I am currently working on docks using French horn bells and Baritone bells. I am also about to start listing some docks that use reproduction phonograph horns."

And Boase has posted several videos on YouTube to give a sense of the sound produced by these docks. (See the example embedded below.)

"I am still amazed every time I finish one and play it for the first time," Boase said. "It is hard to believe that such a big sound can come out of these."