With seemingly everyone these days owning an iPod personal music player, a booming cottage industry has sprung up providing a variety of accessories. Among these are speaker systems that allow you to enjoy the music stored on your iPod without the headphones. I had the opportunity to review one of these systems, the Klipsch iGroove SXT iPod speaker.
Despite its diminutive size, the iGroove’s sound is anything but small. The first thing that struck me when I took the iGroove SXT out of its box is its size. Weighing in at just over three pounds, the iGroove is only 12 inches long and less than five inches wide and tall. That means it fits perfectly on my office desktop without taking up too much precious real estate. Given its size, it is also very easy to relocate the iGroove whenever you want.
The iGroove will appeal to those who believe that “less is more.” You aren’t overwhelmed by an array of buttons or flashing lights; the top of the unit has three buttons—volume up, volume down, and power. The speakers are covered with a black cloth grille, with the iPod dock centered in the lower middle.
After undergoing an upgrade in 2009, the iGroove SXT dock can handle any iPod with the standard 30-pin connection. The speaker system ships with a set of tray adapters so you will find a snug fit for your model of iPod. If you have an iPod shuffle or non-iPod audio device, you can still play them through the iGroove via a rear auxiliary input. You can even display video from a docked device via an S-video output. A convenient feature is the new rapid charge circuit, which allows you to quickly recharge your iPod, iPod touch or iPhone.
I was very impressed with the sound the iGroove generates, even from such a small package. Touting a true two-way design with “horn-loaded” tweeters and a pair of woofers, the iGroove delivers “big” sound that doesn’t become distorted at high volumes. This is due to the fact that the redesigned iGroove SXT is bi-amplified to reduce distortion and improve sonic performance. Klipsch has also retuned the bass ports on the iGroove SXT to remove “port noise.”
The iGroove was a welcome addition to my office and filled it quality sound. At home, I tried the iGroove in my living room, kitchen and bedroom. In more wide-open spaces, the iGroove’s sound was more-than acceptable. However, it is definitely better suited for more “intimate” surroundings.
While the iGroove itself does not offer an alarm, you can use it along with your iPod’s alarm function. All you need to do is set the alarm on your iPod, dock it with the iGroove SXT, and turn it off. The speaker system will then automatically turn on when the iPod’s alarm goes off.
The iGroove SXT comes with a credit-card-style remote control that is equally as Spartan as the speaker system itself. With it you can control the volume (up, down and mute), play or pause, and track forward or backward. You cannot operate iPod functions via the remote; these require hands-on operation.
The Final Verdict
If you are looking for an iPod speaker system for a small(er) space, the iGroove SXT is an excellent option. Its small size and full sound should satisfy all but the most discriminating audiophiles. While some may balk at the $150 price tag, the sound quality you get makes the premium you are paying over many of the cut-rate speaker systems available more than worth it.
Klipsch iGroove SXT iPod Speaker System
- Small footprint
- Quality sound, even at high volume
- Rapid charging feature
- Sound quality suffers in more open spaces
- Hands-on operation of iPod controls
- No radio, clock, or built-in alarm
Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is the author of "Gadget Corner." All reviews are based on firsthand experience of the product or service. No third-party compensation is received for opinions on products, services, websites or topics. However, sometimes the author is not required by the manufacturer or their PR firm to return the product under review. In such instances, it is our policy to convey this within the review. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are strictly those of the author. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.