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Electronics Review: Kensington’s Stereo Dock for iPod

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Kensington’s new Stereo Dock interfaces with your home audio system to play an iPod through its dock connector while charging the battery. The Stereo Dock comes with a 30 ft. infrared remote control. At an MSRP of $89.99 and street price of roughly $75.00, it’s far more expensive than just hooking an audio cable from your receiver to the headphone jack. Is it worth it?

The Look

The Stereo Dock is, like many iPod accessories, decked out in white to integrate seamlessly with iPod. It looks great with the colored Minis, too. The unit has a metal rest bar (with pads for soft contact) on the back that holds the remote in place as well as providing a place for iPod to lean as it sits cradled in the Stereo Dock. The provided cords and remote control are white as well.

The Setup

Getting the Stereo Dock put together is a snap. I had it running in less than five minutes. Now, I’m a geek, so if you’re tech impaired, add 5=five more minutes to fumble with the back of your receiver, but that’s it. The 7 ft. RCA cable connects to the back of the Stereo Dock and then plugs into one of the open component spots on your receiver. The AC adapter plugs into the back of the unit as well. Once plugged in, the front plate glows red to let you know its ready to go. Stick the iPod into Stereo Dock, switch your receiver to the component now occupied by the Stereo Dock, and you’re ready to go.

The Sound

Since the Dock Connector is used to transmit the audio, the sound is superior to that of the headphone output and the difference is noticeable. The remote control allows you to control the volume coming from the Stereo Dock. The remote is infrared, so you need to point it directly at the unit in order to get it to work. A minor nuisance, but nothing to get excited over. The remote itself is well-designed, with buttons spaced far enough apart to avoid pressing the wrong one. With appropriate tweaking of the remote and your stereo, you can gain optimal volume at whatever level you prefer.

The Verdict

At a street cost of roughly $75.00, the Stereo Dock will cost you anywhere from $35-$60 more than just getting an audio cable to go into your headphone jack. However, anyone who plans to use their iPod with their home stereo, even periodically, would benefit from this alternative. The ability to charge your iPod while getting premium sound from the Dock Connector input is well worth the cost.

The Stereo Dock is available at Macmall.

More worship of all things iPod and other stuff at The BM Rant.

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About Matt Freelove

  • jason

    does it sync to itunes ??

  • Matt

    I should have mentioned that in the review. This is not for the computer. There is no dock connector port for connecting to a computer. This is solely designed for your stereo.

  • Marshall

    Can you dock your iPod without having it charging?

  • Temple Stark

    I’m going to have to get an iPod just so I can review some of this swag :-)

    nice review.

  • Mark Sahm

    Temple, you should look into all of the advantages an iPod has for photo people, especially now that all of the displays are color.

  • Matt

    Marshall–no. If you have it in the cradle and are playing music, its charging.

  • myke

    how is the sound superior from a regular headphone jack connection to stereo input? this is what i use in my honda element
    it seems the ipod dock conector is just wired to the jack at the back of the port, so you are still using a earphone cord to transmit the music to the stereo…i cant see how this would make for better sound

  • Matt

    Myke–You are still plugging in a headphone type jack into the back of the unit, but the nexus of the sound is coming from the dock connector as opposed to the top headphone jack. For reasons that I do not fully understand, the dock connector sends the most balanced sonic quality.

    So in short, its not the type of cord you are pluggin in, but from what audio out it is coming from.

  • andre

    Awesome item!
    I was looking for an ipod dock with a remote control all in one solution (instead of having to buy a dock and remote separate and deal with the hassle of plugging it all together each time) for some time.
    I’m very happy that kensington came up with this product.
    Got it at Costco WHS for $39.99 after $10 rebate!

    Just dock your ipod, which charges as you play and use the remote control to skip, play/pause or control the volume.

    If you’re looking for a better (audiophile-wise) quality sounding solution and happen to have an ONKYO receiver – onkyo just came up with a dock that works with onkyo receivers/remotes….

    Otherwise this is the perfect solution that every iPod user with an A/V receiver should have!

  • Bob M

    Does it work with the Nano?

  • Matt

    according to Kensington, yes it does with with nano.

  • Bob M

    well, Ive got some disappointing news. I just bought one and yes, the remote does work with my nano, but apparentlay the nano does not output sound through the USB port, so I get no sound. Yes I thought of plugging into the headphone jack and feeding my stero but that doesn’t work since both the port and jack are on bottom and you can’t plug in the jack and still push the nano down to fit to USB dock.
    :-( any ideas?

  • Bob M

    Oops! It works after all. You just need to understand that the volume is controlled ONLY by the remote(not the nano wheel) and the remote volume is initially turned down to zero. Just press th ” + ” button on the kensington remote and you are good to go. Awesome toy!!

  • Widget

    Would be nice if it had an FM transmitter for that money….no?