Feeds
85%

i-Steroid 2 valve amplifier and speakers

Old-style sound for your new-look iPod

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Review The i-Steroid promises the warm sound quality you only get with old-style valve amplification, and there, clear for all to see, plugged in and powered up is the speaker set's single valve, glowing with sheer thermionic joy. The question is, does it make a difference to the sound, or is it simply there for show?

Sonic Gear i-Steroid 2

The i-Steroid comprises a central unit which contains the amplifier, power transformer, controls and a sub-woofer. Round the back are RCA stereo input and output jacks. The latter go out to the two satellite speakers which, like the main unit, are done up in white with grey trim, or black with red trim, depending on which model you select. The bundled cables, for the speakers and to hook up the iPod's dock, are gold-plated.

The central unit has four buttons mounted beneath a single circle of plastic designed to ape the iPod's clickwheel. Top and bottom we have the bass adjusters - pressing left or right lowers or raises the volume. In the centre is a fifth button which mutes the system.

The unit's just under 30cm high, but the upper third is entirely empty space: if you think of the i-Steroid as an iPod, the space is where you'd expect the screen to be. In fact, it's where the single valve is mounted, tucked under a transparent tripod-mounted hood that's illuminated from underneath with a trio of white LEDs build into the casing. The hood lifts off to allow you to reach in and unplug the valve should you need to, or if your curiosity gets the better of you.

Up-end the unit, and between the four thick, long rubber feet is the reflex port that guides the woofer's output out of the box, boosting the system's bass response on the way.

The satellite speakers are small, passive units with a pair of cones, the larger of the two exposed and coloured to match the main unit's hues. The satellites can pump out 16W apiece, while the sub-woofer runs to 18W. That's the i-Steroid 2's specification - the i-Steroid 1, which is the white model, has a 16W sub-woofer and a pair of 6W satellites.

The i-Steroid comes bundled with Sonic Gear's U100 iPod universal dock, coloured to match the main unit. There are five different colour-coordinated slot adaptors but none to fit a Nano, the iPod I was using for the test. The U100 has solid, weighty feel but you still have to hold it down while you remove your iPod. The circular unit has a two volume up and down buttons just in front of the iPod. At the back you'll find an AC adaptor port, stereo RCA output jacks, an S-video port to hook up a TV, and an iPod dock pass-through port so you can dock an iPod and connect to to a host computer.

Sonic Gear i-Steroid 2

The U100 has its own remote control - one of two in the package. In addition to the expected play/pause, volume track-skip, shuffle and track-repeat control buttons, there's a handy button to quickly trigger the player's backlight. Track selection is idiosyncratic: a pair of buttons cycle through any playlists you've set up on the iPod, and a second pair of buttons can then be used to step through the albums in a given playlist. It doesn't work the other way round, and there's no way to access the player's Music menu directly.

Application security programs and practises

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.