The ongoing iPodification of audio has generated a huge number of products designed to sync up with, amplify, and otherwise expand the possibilities of Apple's ubiquitous player. Many first-wave iPod add-ons got the cosmetic part right (white plastic cabinet? check!) but failed to impress when it came to music reproduction. A few new systems attach equal importance to both the design and performance parts of the equation, however. Recently I gave one of these - Apple's own iPod HiFi - a big thumbs-up (May 2006). This time out I'm looking at another formidable arrival on the iPod audio scene, the Geneva Lab Sound System Model L iPod speaker system.
The Swiss-made Model L looks a thousand times better than all the other iPod audio systems on the market put together. With a lacquered-wood cabinet ( in white, black, or snappy red finish) housing its dual speakers and a large, red LED display flashing through the front grille, the design has "high-end" stamped all over it. Even the optional aluminum stand ($99) that Geneva Lab sent me to prop it up on showed exceptional build quality. My wife rarely comments on gear passing through our house, but she immediately took notice of this system - a good sign.
A pop-up compartment located on the L's top surface conceals an iPod dock (adapters are provided to hold a range of models) along with volume and power buttons and an analog minijack input for connecting an iPod Shuffle or other digital music player. Also located on top is a disc slot for loading CDs. On the bottom panel you'll find an input for an FM antenna and stereo line input jacks to connect a cable box, TV set, DVD player, or other audio source. The system's remote control is seriously chunky, but it has a clean layout with big buttons to select sources, control playback of CDs or a docked iPod, switch among six FM radio presets, and adjust volume, bass, and treble.
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