PodWave Portable iPod Stereo Speaker

Introduction, by Barbara “Mrs. Nemo”

Every summer we drive to California in our VW New Beetle. John and I stuff in our clothes and cooler, maps and hiking boots with no room to spare, except for his computer and music tapes and CDs and a boom box to play them on.

The boom box is an important summer accessory because it lulls us to sleep each night. I hear five minutes or less of Mozart and I am out cold. (Or is it the fog, or perhaps the great food and too much wine?) But I resent the space that ugly boombox takes up in our tiny car.

Packing for the trip has a new challenge this year. We are bringing our puppy, a six pound Havanese,with all her paraphernalia, a crate, some blankets, toys, food, and doggie bowls. Where shall we squeeze in the computer and boom box around a dog?

John has solved our musical problem with the recent acquisition of an iPod and PodWave. It’s a little speaker that fits on top of the iPod and will play lullabies for us each night. Sweet dreams for us, and less arguing about where the hiking boots fit in and does he really need four Photoshop books and backpacks full of MyMac.com stuff.

Thank you, iPod and PodWave. You have saved our marriage and family for another year. But we are mailing our clothes to California because puppy needs space in the VW.

PodWave Portable iPod Stereo Speaker
Company: MacAlly

Price: $39 US

Prior to PodWave’s arrival, my super duper 30GB iPod (3rd generation) was deficient in one important category. Without a built-in speaker, there was no way to listen to any music on the iPod without earphones or a car adapter.

Remove PodWave (PW) from its plastic package, place the included throwaway AA battery into a compartment within PW’s cylindrical plastic case, insert PW into audio port on top of iPod, move a single small black switch from off to on position (a LED indicator would be helpful), turn up iPod volume to high, and listen out in the open (preferably indoors). That’s it!

When MyMac.com revives our video features, perhaps I can do a live demonstration. Until then, you’ll have to trust my judgment. This device is simply great, meaning it’s v-e-r-y easy to use and ideal for casual (non-audiophile quality) listening.

Sound quality is decent, given PW’s small size and tiny speakers. Midtones are clear and crisp, and high frequencies are acceptable. Bass is somewhere between inaudible and nonexistent, but who cares? Distortion is minimal, and pop music sounds fine, as does most jazz and classical.

You’ll soon learn to become creative with placement of iPod+PodWave for optimum audio, because the sound is not very loud. So far my first choice is with the duo resting on a resonant wood surface, such as a dresser, with my neoprene iPod case placed in an inverted V above the speaker, sort of like a roof over a house, when observed from the front. Here’s a photo:

I recommend you use rechargeable AA’s instead of single-use batteries, for environmental reasons, if not for longer audio time. Your mileage will vary; I get a LOT of playing from a single rechargeable!

If audiophiles give me grief due to PW’s “tinny” sound, they can take a long one-way hike with their $500 earbuds up the nearest peak. Because in real world usage, I intend to keep PodWave close at hand for listening around the house. It’s cute, affordable, convenient, reasonably sonorous, and it works! If you need ambient audio (mostly indoors, as opposed to outside or in the car), get one today.

Rated at 4 out of 5.

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