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Old horns make iPhone/iPad docks sing (pictures)

In a world of monolithic speaker docks and chargers, one eccentric artist goes back to the future to create a series of iDevice audio players from old horned instruments.

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Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
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1 of 6 Christopher Locke

Triple Trouble

Call it a stroke of genius or just plain, simple creativity. Before Christopher Locke became an art teacher recently, he came up with an idea for a unique iDevice speaker dock using old, forgotten horned musical instruments. He calls the series the Analog Tele-Phonographer.

"I thought up the first one while I was working at a flower shop, washing scummy buckets and vases outside in Texas," Locke told Crave. "I wanted to listen to music as I was outside by myself all day."

While a vase (or any glass container) amplifies sound well, Locke wanted something with a bit more pizzazz.

"The shape of a horn has been... perfected over thousands of years. Instead of making my own horn, I modified a beat-up trumpet and it worked so well."

The sound that emanates from the iPhone or iPad travels through the tunnels of natural amplification within the instrument. No external power source needed.

Locke made the "Triple Trouble," pictured here, for the iPad 2 with three similarly shaped trumpets. "The base is made from some old concrete grinding equipment, a valve from an antique engine, and lots of stainless rod," Locke says on his Web site.

Click through the gallery to see more of these special listening devices.

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2 of 6 Christopher Locke

The Denmark Francisco

Custom-built to hold an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 simultaneously, "The Denmark Francisco" contains a "rotary tuning valve as a switch to select which device is amplified, and one of the valves acts as a mute button," Austin, Texas, artist Christopher Locke says in the description of the horn.

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3 of 6 Christopher Locke

The Revival

The "Revival," compatible with the iPhone 4, features nickel plating and a nifty old gas meter. "The gas meter base has been cleaned, brushed, and finished with several coats of clear gloss lacquer, and has felt pads underneath," notes Christopher Locke, who also has a background in metalworking.
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4 of 6 Christopher Locke

Hissy Fit

The oddly named "Hissy Fit" incorporates a trombone and a motorcycle sprocket base.

"Instruments can come from anywhere, but I try to use horns that have been beat up beyond reasonable repair. No shortage of those," artist Christopher Locke told Crave.

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Big Trouble

Christopher Locke's tuba dock with the deserving name "Big Trouble" proudly sits as the largest Analog Tele-Phonographer made to date. And perhaps the biggest iPad 2 dock we've seen yet.
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6 of 6 Christopher Locke

Der Simple

Two brass horns and yet another motorcycle sprocket make up "Der Simple," a unique iPad 2 phonograph player.

To see more of Christopher Locke's creations, check out his Web site Heartless Machine, which shows off more Analog Tele-Phonographers and other wild creations. Don't expect any of these instruments to come cheap, though -- they sell for $500 and up. Locke also takes commissions and custom orders.

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