Budget systems offer good performance, but if you want the best, check out my top picks for best iPod Music Systems. These models offer the best audio performance and some can be used as a primary music system.
The Original Bose SoundDock Series II is compatible with the Apple iPod and iPhone. New features have been added, such as an auxiliary input jack for adding a CD or DVD player or an MP3 player. The supplied remote control operates power, volume and lets you browse the playlist on your iPod. Other Bose iPod dock models are also available by clicking the 'Compare Prices' link.
Chestnut Hill Sound
The GEORGE Radio is tabletop music system with a white finish and two silver speaker grilles. The basic model can be customized with optional Cherry wood or Natural Walnut wood side panels and a variety of grille cloth colors to match almost any room decor. Between the two speakers, the GEORGE has a clock with a large, easy-to-read LCD display, eight lighted function buttons, a prominent multi-function knob and additional playback controls. When the display is detached from GEORGE it becomes an RF wireless remote to control its many features. The detachable remote control operates all of the functions of the GEORGE, including volume, tone controls, radio stations, alarm clock, and all iPod functions. Read my full review
of the GEORGE Radio.
B & W, or Bowers & Wilkins is widely known for its avant-garde high-end audio products, so it might seem a surprise that they’ve introduced a tabletop music system and docking station for Apple iPod/iPhone users. But leave it to a company like B & W with its high-end heritage to make a tabletop system worthy of audiophile praise. Pod/iPhone music systems are available in every size, shape, color and price range, but a few, such as the B & W Zeppelin Mini, stand above the rest. Its high fidelity sound, ease of use and high style should put the Mini on your short list when shopping for a player. Read my full review of the B & W Zeppelin Mini.
The AktiMate Active Speaker System is a two-way speaker system that takes iPod and MP3 sound to a new level of high fidelity. The sound qualities of the AktiMate system could easily be compared with more expensive bookshelf speakers. As I listen to the system across the room from my desk while writing this review, I find it to be a powerful, impressive system, enjoyable to listen to for long periods. It’s a very good speaker system with balanced tonal quality that casual and critical listeners will enjoy. When combined with its many other features, it’s a real winner. The AktiMate system would be a great choice for an office, bedroom, or as a main stereo system in a dorm room or apartment. Read my full review
of the Aktimate system.
5. Wadia 170i Transport iPod Dock
I subscribe to the belief that the iPod is not a source for serious music listeners when played over a high-end system. But I take it all back. I (and other audiophiles) have been proven wrong with the Wadia 170i Transport. The 170i is a unique iPod dock that plucks the iPod's digital output, bypassing the player's internal digital to analog converters (DACs). Wow, even a caveman can hear the difference! Read my full review of the Wadia 170i.