Bose does iPod
The huge popularity of the iPod has given rise to a cottage industry of iPod accessories, including various speakers that help turn your iPod into a boombox. With Apple's blessing, Bose has entered the world of iPod with its SoundDock "digital music system," a $300 stereo speaker designed to work with dockable iPods.
Originally available only in white, the SoundDock has since been released in black as well. The speaker ships with adapters for various generations of iPods (the only incompatible models are the first two iPods, which lack the dock connector on the underside). You simply pop the adapter in the SoundDock's cradle, plug in the power cord, drop your iPod in the cradle, and you're good to go. Also included in the box is a small, very basic, credit card-style remote that allows you to advance and rewind tracks on your iPod, control its volume, and shut off the unit (the iPod automatically turns on and the battery charges when you dock it).
The SoundDock performed better than we expected. It easily filled our 10-by-18-foot room with a big sound, but stereo separation was nada until we moved to a position within three feet of the speaker. The near-field sound also enhanced the little system's bass and treble definition.
A series of duets between jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Bobby Previte on their Come in Red Dog CD sounded surprisingly live. Previte's bass drum had lots of kick, and his cymbals' crisp detail added to the realism of the sound. Hunter plays bass and guitar simultaneously on his eight-string instrument, and the SoundDock delineated every note. The Bose's richly balanced bass goes a long way toward mimicking the weighty presence of a larger speaker.
Rocking out with John Mellencamp's greatest hits once again proved the little system's stamina. Yes, a decent home-theater system will deliver even more satisfying sound and real stereo separation, but it will take up a lot more space than the little SoundDock. If you're considering Altec Lansing'smicrospeaker set, which also hosts iPods, that travel-friendly unit is half the price ($150), but the Bose plays louder and has deeper bass and clearer treble.