iPod Accessory Reviews: speakers
Altec Lansing inMotion iM7
Review posted December, 2006 by Lisa Gade, Editor
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.
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 with subwoofer port