iPhone and iPod Accessories

Best iPhone / iPod Speaker System

 

Over the years, I think I've listened to most of the better iPod speaker systems out there.  But I stumbled across one a couple of days ago that sets a new standard for value.  The Kicker ik501 iPod speaker system is so superior in value to anything else out there that if it's even vaguely in your budget range, you've found here what you're looking for. 

I don't think it's easy to design a GREAT speaker system for $100 retail price.  A product with a $100 retail price is probably sold to the retailer for $60-70.  The manufacturer needs to make a profit, so they're probably targeting a manufacturing cost of maybe $40-50.  A lot of this remaining $40-50 budget is taken up by a bunch of little fixed costs that add up -- shipping, packaging materials, instruction manuals -- none of those do anything for the sound.   And then there's the power supply, display and associated logic, etc.  So how much money is left over to allocate to speakers,  the amplifier, and the enclosure -- the components that have the most direct effect on sound?  Not much.

High-value earphones and headphones for your iPhone or iPod


Here are three of my favorite iPhone earphones:

Sony MDR-EX36V -- The best I-lose-'em-all-the-time-so-they-better-be-cheap earphones:  ($20.76 to $22.98 on Amazon, depending on color).   Though construction quality is about what you'd expect for the price point, the sound of these earphones is of a higher class.  These earphones are a significant upgrade to the earbuds that came with your iPhone or iPod -- even non-audiophiles will find the upgrade obvious.  The sound is rich and clean.  Dynamics are punchy and uncompressed.  There is a slight overemphasis in the bass that departs from neutrality, but it's a pleasing warm coloration, and all the while, the bass remains distinctly taut and well-damped.  These could pass for significantly more expensive buds.  These are the in-ear variety of earphones -- three sizes of rubber tips are included.  They're easy to take in and out of your ears and don't extend deep into your ear canals, as some earphones do (boy, do I hate the ones that do).  The tips form a nice tight seal and isolate you from outside noise well enough to easily maintain intelligibility of dialogue when you're watching a movie on a plane.  If you're looking for cheap earphones, these are real winners -- you can stop your research now.

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