Friday, December 30, 2005

How To Rock Your New Year's Party With Your iPod

The media would have you believe that if you want to blast the music from your iPod, you have to buy an iPod speaker system. They come in a wide variety of prices, with quality to match. Some of them cost three hundred and four hundred dollars. And make no mistake, some of them work great.

Your other choice, less well-publicized, is to plug a regular ol' set of speakers into your iPod, or plug your iPod in as the "AUX" on your present stereo. But you lose sound quality because the audio that comes out of the headphone jack of your iPod is nowhere near as good as the audio that comes out of the line-out jack on the bottom (that little sync-slot).

Now there's another choice, and it's awesome. The PocketDock Line Out USB is a tiny square dongle, about the size of a silver dollar, that jacks into the bottom of your iPod. It has a USB port on the other side, which is convenient for some people, but I never find myself having to do an "emergency sync."

The important thing is this little baby gives you perfect line-out audio for under thirty bucks. Try a comparison, and you won't believe the difference.

Another benefit: When you play audio through the line-out, the volume control on the iPod itself is irrelevant. So you can leave the volume turned down all the way, which theoretically increases battery life.

Of course, the new iPod docks do the same thing -- and Kensington makes a great dock that comes with a remote -- but they can't be carried on your keychain. Ziplinq, a company that makes very handy retractable cables, makes audio cables that'll go nicely with the PocketDock; they've also just come out with retractable all-in-one solutions, but I haven't tried them.

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