Ooh la la: Elegant Wi-Fi iPod speakers

Legendary designer Philippe Starck partnered with Parrot to create the high-style Zikmu iPod speakers, at $1,500 a pair. The striking design stakes out a new approach.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg

Let's face it, iPod speakers are a cheap and cheerful group, but the market is about to get a boost of class, thanks to Parrot's Zikmu stereo iPod speakers ($1,500 a pair).

The striking design, created by Philippe Starck, stakes out a new approach to iPod speakers. Starck employs aerial curves and jet-black color, along with a generous helping of cutting edge technology to make the Zikmu an elegant lifestyle solution.

Steve Guttenberg

The Zikmu is iPhone- and iPod-dock compatible, and employs up-to-date Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies. The wireless stereo speakers need to be plugged into an AC power outlet.

The three-way, 2.5 foot tall speakers utilize flat-panel NXT tweeter and midrange panels that project 360-degree dispersion to create a room-filling sound. Each speaker is tri-amplified with a dedicated 10-watt amp for each midrange and tweeter panel, and a 30-watt amp for the woofer located in the bottom of the trumpet-shaped lower cabinet enclosure (that adds up to 100 watts total for the stereo pair of Zikmu speakers).

At yesterday's demonstration at a chic restaurant in New York City, the Zikmu's sound was overly reverberant. Stereo imaging was extremely vague, but I will grant that the speakers almost disappeared as sound sources. Bass was acceptably deep, but no threat to even small-powered subwoofers. The Zikmu is for buyers who believe it's more important for speakers to look good than sound good.

The Zikmu is due in April.