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Specktone Retro iPod speakers

Specktone Retro iPod speakers

While I'm not typically a fan of retro styling, Speck Product's Specktone Retro speakers for the iPod immediately struck me as stylish and visually appealing. Perhaps it's the brown fabric speaker grille contrasted against the lacquered pistachio finish. Or maybe it's the green backlit speaker knob or the stubby angled legs. In any case, the design of the Specktone Retro is a study in simplicity--other than the single volume knob on the front and the on/off switch on the back, there are no controls to speak of. Nor is there a remote, which is quite a bummer to me as I'd prefer not to have to traverse the room just to skip an unwanted track. Speck does, however, include two matching Skins (one for the 5G iPod and one for the iPod Nano) as well as a giant power adapter brick with an amply long cable, which connects to the back of the Specktone. There's also a 1/8-inch auxiliary line input for connecting alternate audio sources, but you'll have to supply your own cable. As for the iPod, it easily docks into the top of the speakers.

Inside the Specktone, you get a 4-inch subwoofer and some retro technology. The circuitry is stated to be all analog, which is supposed to offer a rich, deep tone. Unfortunately, this didn't prove true in practice. I, along with some other test listeners, found that music generally sounded flat, cold, and lacking in range. Essentially, the Specktone sounds like a really good clock radio: not stellar but certainly tolerable. For $150, the Specktone is a stylish addition to any retro kitchen or living room, but true audiophiles should steer clear.

The Specktone is also available in black on black and gray on white, but the pistachio really steals the show.