I Really Should Wear Lederhosen When Using This.

When I first saw images of this I thought to myself, “there should be a little guy in lederhosen blowing in the end of this thing, while another little lederhosen guy shouts out Ricola”. (my mind is filled with cold meds that are having an impact on my imagination)

OK enough of that nonsense. When it comes to passive amplifiers for the iPod or iPhone, this new release from en&is is pretty damn sexy.

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The Megaphone amplifier for the iphone is made from porcelain and designed to amplify the audio produced by the built in speaker on your phone. The amplifier sits on a thin wooden frame so the amplifier rests in a cradle that almost feels like an old school pipe stand. The stand has a very functional design purpose though. It helps to increase audio vibration and optimize sound output. I couldn’t find any specs on this. That statement is based on the designers website. I have no idea what this actually sounds like but it sure looks amazing.

MegaPhone Satellite 2011 is designed for the iPhone is perfect for listening music without headphones, for audio conference to hear the person on the phone as live voice.

Jawbowne Jambox

Jawbone, the makers of the oh so sexy Aliph Bluetooth headsets, have released a new wireless speaker called Jambox. The Jambox speaker is small, compact, and stylish with the ability to crank out 85Db of sound. Jambox is powered by a pair of proprietary acoustic drivers, unmatched in their ability to produce extreme high and low frequencies from a single, ultra-small dome speaker. They work in concert with an innovative moving-wall passive bass radiator and airtight enclosure to deliver shimmering highs and thumping lows with a  Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 20 kHz. While these aren’t exactly reference monitors, they do have pretty good specs for something this small.

Designed to function as a companion speaker for your computer/iPhone/iPod this is a rugged stylish solution. The Jambox is sturdy, and can be tossed in a backpack without worry, it runs up to 10 hours off of batteries, so no outlet is needed to power it. Jambox dumps the requisite iPod or mini stereo input for Bluetooth wireless, so you can roam the room with your music player, without physically tethering yourself to the speaker. Another bonus of the Jambox Bluetooth speaker is that it works as a travel-friendly substitute for a laptop, iPad’s, iPhone’s lame speakers, and if you need a speakerphone it is a definite plus over the iPhones speaker mode.

At 200 bucks the price might be a bit high for some, but I could see using this on a fairly regular basis.

Tembo Trunks for Your iDevice.

A couple of years back I was on a 14 day trip in South Africa, and while we weren’t in extremely primitive conditions, there were times when you wished you had a way to amplify your iPod with out the need of powered speakers. Obviously the two Australian brothers behind Tembo Trunks™ had the same issue. Unlike myself they have done something about it with these powerless speakers. Made from collapsible silicone, these rugged speaker can amplify the output from your ear buds to 80dB. This isn’t ear-splitting volume, but it is loud enough to fill a room with background music, or share your tunes at the beach or camp site. Right now they have a kickstarter site and are trying to raise $10,000 to get this off the ground. If you pledge 39 bucks you get a set of the speakers, and the knowledge that you helped launch a great little product. To donate and learn more about the speakers, click here.

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Sony’s New HomeShare System.

One of the things I really like about Sony products is they get industrial design. The stuff they make pretty much always looks great. One of the things that has annoyed me about them in the past, is they tend to be fairly closed about their technology, and arrogant about its superiority (think memory stick for their cameras, and Mini Disc Walkman). When they do wake up and realize they need to make products that work with other technologies (think iPod) the results are a solid compliment to any given product.

With CES in full swing, Sony unveiled a new iPod/iPhone stereo system that could rival the Sonos systems that have been around for a number of years. The new SA-NS300 and NS-400 systems are really nice looking units that use wireless network speakers designed to broadcast tunes from a variety of sources such as DLNA-enabled PCs or BRAVIA internet music services found on Sony’s latest Blu-ray players. And while Sony has put their product first, they have also embraced Apple’s new Air Sharing so that iPhones and iPods can join in when placed in HomeShare compatible NAS-SV20i and NAC-SV10i docks.

iPod/iPhone dock

Like any number of Sony products, these go far enough beyond the capabilities of a standard remote, so Sony is also introducing the HomeShare-friendly touch screen RMN-U1 Wi-Fi universal remote. The remote allows you to send music through out the networked HomeShare system, and serves up things like Album art, Lyrics, Liner notes etc. Unfortunately, the remote is bought separately and will set you back an additional 300 bucks.

HomeShare Remote.

From the sound of the press release, it looks as though Sony has set this up to zone your network so you can send media to every room or specific rooms, which is a definite plus. The system uses standard 802.11b/g WiFi so it should be compatible with any wireless network you have in your home.

The Subwoofer. Why is there a button called "Party" on this?

The best part of this is the price point. Sony says that this will be available in March for $200.00 to $300.00. Better than Sonos or many of the competing products on the market today. And since it is Sony, you can bet the build quality is going to be solid, and the software is going to be well thought out.

This March I am going to have to head to a Sony Style store and check these out in person.

Wireless Speakers