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iPod Accessory Reviews: speakers

Altec Lansing inMotion iM7

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Review posted December, 2006 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief

Let's face it, there are a lot of iPod portable stereo speaker systems to choose from. But some have stood the test of time, and the Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 has held its place near the top of our highly recommended list for more than a year. If you're in the market for some good sounding speakers in the over $200 price bracket these should be on your short list, especially if you're a bass lover.

Altec Lansing iM7

Our fondness for the iM7 extends beyond music quality and volume. A good iPod speaker system should offer some serious integration including a dock connector so you can charge the iPod as it sits in the speaker system, and control it using the controls on the speaker system and with the included remote. Ideally it should also run from batteries as well as AC, since it is a portable system. The iM7 does all this and adds video out so you can run an s-video or RCA cable from the speaker system to your TV for some photo slide show goodness or to catch the latest episode of Lost downloaded from iTunes. This feature is even more important now that Apple's video content is in VGA resolution making it look much better on standard TVs.

Setup is easy: plug the Altec Lansing iM7 into AC power (or use it with batteries), push the iPod retaining door to pop it open, drop your iPod in and push the door closed. The door closes gently but firmly and your iPod won't rattle or slip once docked. Now you're ready to listen to music. If you wish to watch iTunes TV shows or movies on your TV, put the iM7 in the vicinity of your TV and run an s-video or RCA cable from the back of the Altec Lansing iPod speaker system to your TV. Now you can watch your videos on the big screen (hey, even a 19 " TV is big compared to the iPod Video's display) with high quality audio piping from the iM7. Sweet!

You can even relax on the couch or bed with your TV remote and iM7 remote in hand so you can control the iPod's playback along with the speakers' volume, bass and treble balance. The remote is finished in matching white and uses a coin cell battery, as do most iPod speaker remotes. It has good range and large buttons that are easy to operate but you won't get much of a clue where you are on the bass and treble scale beyond what your ear tells you.

How about the music? Well, the inMotion iM7 is one of the loudest speaker systems on the market yet it sounds good-- not blown out or harsh. Trebles are clear and the bass is simply out of this world thanks to the built-in subwoofer. Bass fans and those who watch action movies will simply love the desk-shaking bass that's clean yet visceral. While the iM7 lacks the Klisch iGroove's extreme balance and good manners (a perfect fit for classical), it does give rock a distinct groove, dance music a thumping beat and rap music that low thunder. Not that the iM7 isn't good for classical because it is, particularly orchestral pieces where the low instruments hold their own against the higher treble clef woodwinds and brass.

side view

side view with subwoofer port

 

 

 

 

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The 16 3/4 " long Altec Lansing iM7 has a 4" side-firing XdB subwoofer that vents on each end, two 3" neodymium midrange speakers and two 1" neodymium tweeters. It can run on AC using the included universal world power adapter (not a huge brick) with prong set for several countries including the US or it can run on 8 D batteries which increases the unit's weight significantly. The iM7 isn't light at approximately 7 pounds, but the integrated rubberized carry handle makes toting it a bit easier.

It has ports for RCA and s-video out, a stereo headphone jack and a 3.5mm stereo aux in jack. It's compatible with all iPods that have a dock connector and other MP3 players that have a 3.5mm stereo out jack.

Conclusion

The Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 is great sounding, great looking with lots and lots of volume that will fill a large space. And the bass just can't be beat! Yet it's well mannered enough for classical. It offers excellent iPod integration, charges the iPod, controls the iPod (on board controls plus remote) and even outputs video to TV. The iM7 plays nicely with other portable MP3 players thanks to its 3.5mm stereo in jack.

List Price: $249

Web Site: www.alteclansing.com

Comparison Shopping: Where to Buy

Specs:

iPod compatibility: All iPods with a dock connector.

Works with other MP3 players? Yes, all that have a 3.5mm out jack.

AC / Battery: Runs on AC current or 8 D batteries.

Drivers: 4" subwoofer, two 3" neodymium midranges and two 1" neodymium tweeters.

Ports: Power, RCA video out, s-video out, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and 3.5mm stereo in jack.

Size: 16.75 x 6.3 x .6.3 inches. Weight: Approximately 7 pounds (more with batteries installed).

 

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