Top 10 ipad speaker docks 2012


There are plenty of awesome speaker docks out there for your iPad, iPhone or iPod, but finding one that looks as good as it sounds takes a bit of effort. We’ve done the hard part for you and rounded up five of the most stylish boomboxes you can get for your iOS device right now.
We can’t vouch for audio quality as we haven’t been able to test these ourselves, but the criteria for this list focuses more on appearance than hard specs. We narrowed the field down by eliminating the ugly ones, selecting brands with a history of producing high-quality audio, and only including those that are available for purchase or pre-order now. (There are some stunning prototypes out there, but they’re no good to us if they’re just concepts and not actually for sale.) Of course, stylish usually also means expensive.

Jarre AeroPad Two
We did a double-take when we first saw Jarre’s stunning AeroPad Two back in April. It’s 860mm wide and weighs about 10kg, so it’s not really meant to be a portable device, but it more than makes up for its bulk with its gorgeous bamboo wood design. The AeroPad Two’s minimalist package includes stainless steel and chromium finishings, and those UFO-like pods you see on either side house four speakers with a power rating of 30 watts each. It comes with a standard 30-pin dock connector that will take your iPad, iPhone or iPod, as well as a USB port and auxiliary input so you can play music from non-Apple devices. There’s an 80W subwoofer built-in as well as Bluetooth functionality for wireless streaming.
The AeroPad Two is available for pre-order now at Jarre’s website for an expected shipping date of December 2012. It’s also available in black and white finishes, but we reckon the bamboo option is really special and decor-agnostic. It’s definitely not cheap at €699 (about $895), but delivery is free worldwide.

Philips Fidelio DS9000
Philips’ DS9000 docking speaker for iPad, iPhone and iPod has been kicking around for a couple of years, but its timeless award-winning design makes it worthy of a spot on our list. The DS9000′s 592mm wide curved chassis encases two 1-inch tweeters, two 4-inch woofers and Philips’ passive crossover design for improved sound quality and reduced distortion. It also comes with a proximity sensor that dims the lights on the speaker dock when you walk away, a remote control, bluetooth connectivity and auxiliary input. Philips also has its own iOS app that you can use to control playback, access over 7000 radio stations, an alarm clock, weather data and more.We love that the DS9000′s SoundCurve design is both stylish and functional. It’s got a recommended retail price of $699.95, but we’ve found at least one place that has it for a lot less.

Yamaha ISX-800
Who knew that Yamaha could churn out more than old-school pianos and motorbikes? This crazy-cool speaker dock for iPhone and iPod could double as a work of art in your living room. The ISX-800 stands 997mm tall and is attached to a half-moon base that lets you position it flat up against a wall. You can also detach the stand and hang it on the wall like a picture using optional brackets. A two-way four-speaker system with dual tweeters and dual woofers is neatly tucked behind a metal grille that comes in your choice of black, white, purple or green.
The ISX-800 also comes with DAB+ radio, a USB port, auxiliary input, a remote control, Yamaha’s IntelliAlarm technology and — interestingly — a CD player. The whole thing weighs 12kg, but that’s OK considering it can literally hold itself up. Yamaha’s recommended retail price is $999, but there are

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8
If you want a speaker dock that stands out for all the right reasons, you can’t go past the BeoSound 8 for iPad, iPhone and iPod. In true Bang & Olufsen style, its quirky form factor and distinctive aluminium finish somehow manages to be sophisticated and minimalist at the same time. Inside its 661mm wide body, you’ll find a set of two-way systems that can be tweaked for the best sound performance in any space by simply flicking the room adaption switch. There’s USB and auxiliary input ’round the back, and it also comes with a remote control, table stand and wall bracket.
The BeoSound 8 weighs about 4kg and comes in a variety of colours. Unfortunately, it’s not portable since it needs to be plugged in to work, and you’ll be asked to part with, well, way too much for the privilege of owning one. You’ll have to head to your nearest Bang & Olufsen store to see if it’s worth what they want for it. There’s also a BeoPlayer app that you can download from the iTunes App Store — but that’ll cost you another $17.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
The peculiar conehead design makes the Zeppelin Air one of the most recognisable speaker docks around. The new and improved version launched last year with new drivers and upgraded amps — an upgrade that had everyone raving about the Zeppelin Air’s acoustic performance.
Apple sells it in Never heard anything better than the (long ago) discontinued Apple branded iPod Hi-Fi. Truly amazing soung just bloody expensive at the time. Always regretted not buying one. I could not tell much of a difference between the Zeppelin and Philips units at the store so settled for the latter. It’s performs well accross all musical styles but does not look as impressive as the stock photos they use for it (the materials they use are not as high quality)

Philips Fidelio Soundring
In a word, peculiar. This AirPlay speaker is one of the odder designs we’ve seen, thanks to its huge central hole. But it’s also versatile: lift it off its base and it’ll give you three hours of wireless music or six via a wired hook-up.
In action the Fidelio Soundring is good with dynamics, and has a fast, attacking sound that’s decent with vocals. Bear in mind, though, that it won’t go very loud – and if you do crank it, the sound can get rather hard and shouty.

NAD Viso 1
This Bluetooth system has enough girth to pump out a weighty sound and a wide enough wingspan to have a decent stab at plausible stereo imaging. And besides being able to handle wireless streaming from any aptX device, it also has a rotating dock for your iThing.
Musical, fluid and engaging, the Viso is a great listen when docked. Bluetooth setup is as easy as selecting the Viso in the menu and connecting. There’s an inevitable slight drop in sound quality as you go wireless, but nothing major.

Libratone Live
How many times have you wished for a dock clad in Italian cashmere? If you’re anything like us, the long wait is finally over. The AirPlay-enabled Live is meant to stand upright – which is what our hair also did when we saw the price.
Chic doesn’t come cheap, though, and the Live does come with a nifty app that lets you apply EQ presets and even tell the Live where it’s sitting in a room, so it can adjust its sound accordingly. It’s certainly loud: with 150W of power on tap, it’ll fill even a medium-sized room pretty easily.

JBL OnBeat Xtreme
The OnBeat Xtreme’s feature list rattles on and on: Bluetooth, a rotating dock for your iPod/iPhone/iPad, USB connection, video output, a built-in mic for making and taking phone calls, five EQ presets…
Dock your iThing using the (flimsy) clip provided and the JBL puts you in the mind of a puppy in a great mood. Fast, fun-sounding and eager to please, it bounces along with anything you throw at it. It’ll go loud enough to annoy your next-door-but-one neighbours, too.

B&W Zeppelin Air
B&W’s original Zeppelin was the first dock to bring anything approaching hi-fi into the realm of docks. We’ve loved it for years. The Air is its AirPlay version, and for our money it’s still the best Airplay dock out there.
The NAD and JBL options here have the edge, though – they’ll work with a wider range of kit and sound even better.

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