iPod and Harman Kardon soundsticks II - what next?

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all,

New here and a bit of a technophobe so please be gentle!

I want to make my iPod my primary source for music. I have tried iPod speaker docks but I am very disappointed with the sound quality. Latest I tried was Geneva Model M, but no good for me. I recently plugged my iPod via the 3.5mm line out straight into a pair of Harman Kardon SoundSticks II with subwoofer and immediately the sound was far better than any dock. I suspect that is much to do with stereo separation so I definitely want to go this route of separate speakers. The problem is, while some songs sounded pretty good - pop and rock - anything with acoustic guitar or jazz or sensitive folk vocals really suffered, with it sounding like overdrive even at lowest levels.

Where do I go from here? I've read so many reviews and so on for different gadgets that my head is spinning and I still have no clear idea what I need. I hear some saying it would need an amplifier, others say it needs a receiver, others again say both. Then there is talk of remotes and the docks needed, and also DACs.

Can anyone please advise me on what I need to make these SoundSticks work properly with my iPod, like I'm a three year old? I can tell what is good sound from what is bad (to me) but that is where my technical know-how ends. Thanks very much.
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
KopfKaput said:
Hi all,

New here and a bit of a technophobe so please be gentle!

I want to make my iPod my primary source for music. I have tried iPod speaker docks but I am very disappointed with the sound quality. Latest I tried was Geneva Model M, but no good for me. I recently plugged my iPod via the 3.5mm line out straight into a pair of Harman Kardon SoundSticks II with subwoofer and immediately the sound was far better than any dock. I suspect that is much to do with stereo separation so I definitely want to go this route of separate speakers. The problem is, while some songs sounded pretty good - pop and rock - anything with acoustic guitar or jazz or sensitive folk vocals really suffered, with it sounding like overdrive even at lowest levels.

Where do I go from here? I've read so many reviews and so on for different gadgets that my head is spinning and I still have no clear idea what I need. I hear some saying it would need an amplifier, others say it needs a receiver, others again say both. Then there is talk of remotes and the docks needed, and also DACs.

Can anyone please advise me on what I need to make these SoundSticks work properly with my iPod, like I'm a three year old? I can tell what is good sound from what is bad (to me) but that is where my technical know-how ends. Thanks very much.
I do not know your budget, but the obvious choice if you can afford them, would be the AVI ADM9s. A smaller budget, then have a look at the Audioengine A5s. You would need some sort of basic dock to support the ipod and maybe keep it charged, but these are relatively cheap. If your iPod has wireless functionality, ie iPod touch, then maybe add an Apple Airport Expess to the package.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for your advice. Sorry, I forgot to mention my iPod is 5th gen so no wireless for me. My budget is around £600. I could perhaps push it a little if I found the really ideal solution.

I looked at both products you mention. Firstly, the AVI ADM9's look to be studio monitors and that's not really the sound I'm after. I don't really want neutral sounding monitors for studio use, I just want good sound for a living room space. Also the Audioengine A5+ have reviews that mimics the disappointment I found with the Geneva Model M; a hard and analytical sound that has little in the way of midrange.

What I'm really after is a bit of colour, something that delivers the emotion of music. This is the first I've heard of speakers with inbuilt amplifiers. Are there any others that you could point me towards please? And what kind of dock would I need for the iPod so that I could use a remote? I see there is the Pure i20 but on the whathifi review, they say that if you have money to spend there are better DACs out there. But they don't give any alternatives. Sorry for being so non-plussed.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Ideally, I do not want a dock but separates. As the title says, I have Harman Kardon SoundSticks II. What I am confused about is where to go from here. Right now I have a line in from iPod to the SoundSticks but the sound is not great. The SoundSticks are self-powered. Is that to say they already have an inbuilt amplifier?

I don't know what I need... An amplifier? A receiver? Or both? And what is the solution for connecting the iPod - through 3.5mm line in or through a universal dock? And if so, what's good?
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
You really need to listen to a variety of speakers before deciding on the sound that you like. Studio monitors won't sound bad, far from it and they make perfectly good home speakers, although can be a bit aesthetically challenged.

I wouldn't bother so much with reviews for your decision, find something that matches your own personal criteria and then demo them to see if you like the sound.

I would say that the A5s deserve a listen at least.

Active speakers would keep things minimalist and connected to something like a PURE i-10 would do the trick.

How about this...

Matrix Mini-i DAC/Preamp

PURE i-10

Yamaha HS50M or Mackie MR5Mk2

Alternatively, you could get a more traditional hifi setup of amplifier and speakers

The choices are bewildering unfortunately, but help is at hand here, particularly when you have a better idea of what you really want out of the system.
 

richardw42

New member
May 2, 2010
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The Epoz are not a dock, and are bang on budget. Sorry if my previous post led you to believe ther were just a dock.

http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Epoz-Aktimate-Maxi/
 

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