iGroove, by Klipsch
Posted: 21-Apr-2006

5 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Klipsch Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

Overview
With the iPod craze spreading like wildfire, the number of places people are using their iPods is increasing. Everywhere we can bring the iPod, we can bring our entire music collection. That is an amazing concept. Each iPod comes with Apple's earphones which makes listening to your music on-the-go a pleasure. There are many iPod users, however, where listening through headphones simply isn't desirable. You may want to listen to the iPod while you are driving, or you may wish to listen to your iPod in your home without earphones. Whether you are sharing your music with others, or simply need to have your ears open to hear other things, there is a big need for iPod stereo solutions. If you already have a stereo system, you can purchase cables to integrate your iPod with your stereo system. If you don't have a stereo, or are simply looking for a solution that lets you move your iPod from room to room without having to lug an entire stereo system, then the best solution is an iPod portable speaker system. The Klipsch iGroove system is one such offering.

The Klipsch iGroove is a compact stereo speaker system designed for Apple's iPod, and works with the Nano, Shuffle, and a variety of other MP3 players. It features dual 2.5-inch fiber-composite woofers, dual 1-inch MicroTractix Horn-loaded tweeters, and a built-in iPod dock. It comes with a remote control, a J-Cup cradle, and an iPod Nano adapter. The Klipsch iGroove retails for $279.99 on the Klipsch web site, but it retails for $249.99 on Amazon's web site.

iGroove Specifications

  • Speaker Type: 2-way Active
  • Response Bandwidth: 65 - 17000 Hz
  • Output Level (SPL): 98 dB
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB
  • Audio Amplifier: Integrated
  • -3dB Frequency Response: 65 - 17000 Hz
  • Connector Type: 2 Audio line-in Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm Installed
  • Weight: 4.6 lbs
  • Body material: ABS plastic
  • Voltage Required: 60 Hz


How It Looks
The Klipsch iGroove comes in a very sleek and stylish design. The unit is silver and the speakers are at a slant with a slight curve. Overall, the unit has a very space-age technology look to it, very cool, and neutral enough to compliment just about any furniture style, and works well visually with both the white and black iPods. I sat the iGroove in my living room, and it looked great while fitting in quite nicely.

How It Sounds
After admiring the looks of the iGroove, I inserted my Video iPod into the iGroove dock to see how it sounded. I plugged the iGroove into an AC outlet, turned it on, and hit play. I was immediately blown away by the sound. The sound was rich and clear, and as I pumped up the volume, the sound maintained its crisp sound. I was amazed at the quality of the sound as it filled my living room.

Prior to the iGroove, I had my Video iPod hooked into my home stereo system (complete with receiver, amplifier, 5 speakers surround sound, the whole works). My living room is the largest room in my house, with a vaulted ceiling. For this small speaker system to have filled the entire room so well was quite an impressive feat. Super rich highs and deep bass all came through. I soon realized that I no longer would be hooking my iPod up to my stereo system, as the iGroove provided all the quality and power that I needed.

The iGroove features dual 2.5-inch fiber-composite woofers in a ported enclosure, dual 1-inch MicroTractrix Horn-loaded tweeters and a built-in iPod dock. To ensure an optimal and precise dispersion pattern, the Klipsch uses exclusive MicroTractrix Horns formed into the speaker baffle, a design that offers the lowest diffraction and maximum release of energy into the listening area. In simple terms, the iGroove fills the room with pure sound, providing you an awesome listening experience!

I have quite a collection of music in my music library, so I was able to test the iGroove with a variety of music types. My rock music played with rich, deep bass that you can really feel. My Latin guitar music sounded crisp and clear, as if the guitar was being played live. Likewise, my classical music played with accurate and crisp highs and bass, creating a clean and "live" feeling as well. Cranking up the music, the music just sounded better. I wouldn't hesitate to using the iGroove for a party, or even an event in a large hall. The sound of this compact unit really impressed me.

Charging Dock
The other great thing about the iGroove is that while your iPod is plugged into the iGroove dock, the iGroove is constantly charging it. I tested the iGroove with a 3G iPod, a 4G iPod, and a Video iPod. It includes an insert that fits the iPod Mini as well. For iPods that don't fit into the dock, such as the Shuffle or the 1G iPod, as well as a variety of other MP3 players, the iGroove includes a J-Cup cradle attachment. The cradle sits in the iGroove dock and uses an audio mini-plug to connect your device to the iGroove speaker system. The only downside to using the cradle is that whatever device you are playing through it, it is not being charged. The iGroove only charges an iPod with a dock connector when it is sitting in the iGroove dock.

Wireless Remote
The iGroove comes with a wireless remote control that is curvy and silver, match the iGroove itself. I found the remote control to be an indispensable feature. The remote allows you to power on and off the speaker, adjust the volume, play and pause, and go forward and backward for song selections, all from anywhere within the room. I have a treadmill in my living room, so when I jump on the treadmill, I grab the iGroove remote and set the music in action when I start my exercise. The iGroove made for an excellent work-out companion, and the remote made it easy to control the music without having to stop the treadmill.

Note: The remote only controls iPods connected in the iGroove dock, not MP3 players in the cradle attachment that are only connected by the audio mini-plug.

Sturdy and Portable
I was also impressed by how sturdy the iGroove is. It's light enough to easily carry from room to room, but it was rugged enough to be knocked around and still look and play great. In the back of the iGroove is a very convenient carrying handle, making it that much easier to carry. The dock held my iPod in place quite firmly, allowing me to operate the iPod controls without worry of knocking the iPod loose from it's connection. The back of the dock also includes a rubberized adjustable slider that allows you to adjust fit, depending on whether you are using the 3G iPod, or the slimmer Video iPod. For those with Nanos, the iGroove now comes with an attachment to support the Nano as well.

In Comparison
While there are several iPod speaker options on the market today (and more on the way), only the Klipsch iGroove and the Bose SoundDock provide the quality and power for the most demanding of users while staying under the $300 mark. Klipsch has a more powerful iFi system that we haven't heard yet, but it runs for $399. We have yet to hear the Apple WiFi either, but it is also over $300. There are some good offerings in the "under $200" price range, such as the JBL On Stage II, but if you are looking for some serious "boom" from your iPod, then you will need to jump over the $200 barrier. In that regard, the Bose SoundDock runs for $299 (and I rarely ever see these on sale for anything less), while the Klipsch iGroove goes for $249.99. I have seen several online discounts offered on the Klipsch, ranging from $235 to $245.


Considering that the iGroove and SoundDock stand in their own category, this review wouldn't be complete without a comparison between the two. I took the iGroove over to a friend's house, and conducted a "Battle of the iPod Speakers". Switching back and forth between the two, playing different styles of music, both systems did a great job of filling the room with very vibrant sound. In many cases, it was too hard to distinguish the difference. With some songs, however, especially songs with strong bass, the iGroove sounded better than the SoundDock.

The iGroove design also seemed more sturdy than the SoundDock, and it was easier to carry. The only advantage we could find in the SoundDock was that its dock was wider, allowing you to insert an iPod with a protective skin; whereas, with the iGroove, you would either have to take off the case, or use the J-cup cradle and loose the charging and remote features. On the other hand, because the SoundDock has more room in the dock, the iPod is not as securely in place as it is in the iGroove.

The iGroove also supports other MP3 players, including the dockless 1G iPod, by way of an auxiliary 3.5mm input, something that is not present in the SoundDock. Of course, it's hard to ignore the price as an important feature, and the iGroove is priced $50 less than the SoundDock. With slightly better sound, sturdier dock, auxiliary audio jack, and lower price, the Klipsch was the decided winner in our "Battle of the iPod Speakers" challenge.

Summary
The Klipsch iGroove is an amazing iPod speaker system made by a company that has been around since 1946 (Klipsch is a leading manufacturer of high-performance audio speakers). The iGroove sports a silver curvy design with a matching wireless remote control. The unit and dock is very sturdy, yet very portable, with an integrated carry handle. Most importantly, the iGroove provides accurate sound with rich highs and deep bass. It delivers a surprising amount of power for such a compact design, doing a spectacular job at filling a large room with music. The remote control allows you to control the iGroove power and volume, as well as changing songs on the iPod, conveniently from across the room. The iGroove dock charges your iPod even with the speaker off, and is adjustable to fit all dock iPods. It also includes an auxiliary audio jack, cord, and cradle to play other MP3 players, including the dockless first generation iPod. Compared with the Bose SoundDock, the iGroove has richer bass and cleaner sound, holds the iPod more securely, is easier to carry, and is $50 lighter on the pocket book. The Klipsch iGroove is a smart buy for anyone looking for quality, power and convenience for playing music from their iPod.


Pros

  • Rich clear sound and deep strong bass
  • Amazing sound even for large rooms
  • Remote control interacts with iGroove and iPod
  • Both securely holds and charges your iPod
  • Sleek and stylish design with integrated carry handle
  • Rugged and portable


Cons

  • J-cup cradle does not charge MP3 player
  • Remote control does not work with J-cup cradle
  • Will not hold an iPod with a protective skin on


Overall Rating

5 out of 5 Mice