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Homemade iPod Hi-Fi mini 89

Simon Clement writes "Decided to add to the Apple product line with the iPod Hi-Fi mini. Here's the web page detailing its features, and there's also a link to a Flickr set showing how to build your own."
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Homemade iPod Hi-Fi mini

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  • DRM (Score:5, Funny)

    by roger6106 ( 847020 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:32AM (#15712086)
    Just what the doctor ordered
    Worried about Digital Rights Management? So are we. With the iPod Hi-Fi mini we've gone the extra mile. Although the 400k floppy disk drive has been removed we were left with the nagging feeling that someone would figure out how to slip a disk through the slot and copy at least part of a song. Have no fear. Introducing Dr Mesh(TM) a high tensile grill that neatly fits the floppy drive slot preventing even imaginary piracy, yet allowing sound through unimpeded. What about those times when you realize that the song being played may not have been legally acquired? That's why the paper-clip hole remains in place. Once you'd use it to eject a recalcitrant disk, now we've carefully angled the hole so that, with a simple lunge, you can pierce the speaker cone, stopping piracy in it's tracks.
    Digital Rights Management. It's in your hands.
  • Is it only me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vidarlo ( 134906 ) <vidarlo@bitsex.net> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:36AM (#15712105) Homepage

    ...or was the article lacking any significant text? It gave me no clue of what he have done, expcet for hollowing out a old MAC, adding an amplifier and such. What amplifier? How did he interface to the iPod? Does the thing control the iPod, or just output the sound?

    I guess the latter, that it is just a fancy set of speakers with a 3.5mm jack to connect it to any portable equipment with a headset output. It's not really innovative even. What would have been innovative was if he'd made a interface to control the iPod. As far as I know, that is not so straight forward, and you'll need a bit of electronics skills, and you'll probably have to write a program for a microcontroller to do the communication...

    But as he have done it? Worthless. And TFA gives little or no information on it.

    • Re:Is it only me... (Score:5, Informative)

      by JazzCrazed ( 862074 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:40AM (#15712126) Homepage
      It's on the right side of the page...he used a Sonic Impact digital amplifier, which uses a Tripath TA2024 chip (you can buy the chip in a DIY kit [diyaudio.com], as well).
    • Agreed. What exactly makes this so "hi-fi?" I'm tagging this slownewsday.
      • Hi-Fi? (Score:4, Informative)

        by TPJ-Basin ( 763596 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:55AM (#15712226) Homepage
        I'm not 'in the know' on the quality of his speakers, but the Sonic Impact amp alone makes this a hi-fi rig. If you haven't tried one yet, you're really missing out. I have one attached to a pair of Ascend Acoustics HTM 200s [ascendacoustics.com]. Others in the audio world have used that $20 amp to drive speakers in the $10,000 range with surperior results.
        • I wouldn't say this is hifi in any way, including the T-amp. http://www.michael.mardis.com/sonic/measure/images /5066m-freq_05.gif [mardis.com] As we see there is poor bass response, and the top end rolls off too quickly. (The green is various modifications used). There is a theory in audiophiledom that amplifiers make a lot of difference in sound. When in reality the loudspeaker itself (which converts electrical energy to acoustic, wheras an amplifier just increases the voltage of a signal and supplies current) is t
        • Well, one thing:
          Like you say: the amp will always be magnitues better than the speaker.

          And just how good can a speaker in such an aweful case be? Bad dampening, resonances en mass -> not hi-fi
    • by qw0ntum ( 831414 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:10AM (#15712310) Journal
      Yep... it looks like all he did was stick a speaker and an amp into an old Mac case. In this picture [flickr.com] you can even see the 3.5" cable attached to the iPod.

      Oh well. It is a cool looking case, but I wonder how many slashdotters would actually rip apart vintage Apple gear just to make a speaker.

      • In Austin, there's a Goodwill computer store that used to have a lot of old, non-functional Macintosh computers. I once bought a dead SE/30 for $15 with the intention of mounting a mini-ITX board and small monitor in it. I ended up being too lazy to complete the project, but I had no qualms about "rip[ping] apart vintage Apple gear", despite many years with a cherished Mac Plus.
        • That is true, I could see someone doing that. My question was more whether someone would take apart an old computer just to make a speaker, particularly if they did not have easy access to dead Mac computers.

          It would have been pretty cool to see your finished product. Old cases with new guts are generally pretty interesting.
    • or was the article lacking any significant text? - pfffffft. With a lower /.ID but with only 241 comments you must be new here. Who in the world reads TFAs? :)
    • To be fair, TFA does actually tell you what amplifier he used.
    • Actually, it is currently lacking any text what-so-ever...looks like mac.com is suffering a slashdotting :o)
    • was the article lacking any significant text? It gave me no clue of what he have done

      Allow me to elucidate the process for you:

      1) Plug iPod into powered speakers.
      2) Go get a beer while you listen to it.

      You could, of course, simply buy an iPod soundstation, but that would deprive you above hardware hacking fun.

  • A novel idea, but probably not the best-sounding things in the world. You will notice the tweeter is behind solid plastic of the faceplate. If I recall there are ventilation slots under the rim on the front, but not significant in an audio application. You could improve it by incorporating a fixed equalizer circuit to compensate for the loss of high frequency blocked by the case.
  • by FlynnMP3 ( 33498 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:44AM (#15712152)
    Speakers tend to sound better the more emotional attachment we have to them. The more reviews read finding out from somebody else how we shoudl think, our brain tells us that these speakers sound great. Well, that and pumped up bass. One of the many aspects of the psychoacoustic effect. And stereo equipment reviews know it. /offtopic

    These homemade jobbies look cool as heck. More than functional for background music. Which is all the iPod is for anyway. Def: background music. Music that is listened to while paying attention to another task, eg exercising, talking, or cleaning the house. These are obviously not suitable for critical listening, but then nearly all stereo equipement made these days are not suitable for this task. Although my brain tends to enjoy Martin Logans. :)

  • Why the haters? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:01AM (#15712261) Homepage Journal
    This is a damn neat hack. Yes, it's probably not as high-quality audio as a set of pro-grade speakers costing hundreds of dollars, but you're listening to an iPod full of compressed, lossy songs, so stop whining. This is a fun way to recycle old hardware cases (unless you have some other pressing need for a Macplus case, perhaps?) into a piece of high geek-factor functional art. It's right up there with the people fitting miniITX boxes into old NES cases and so on.

    In other words, quit hating. This took imagination and engineering, and that deserves a bit of respect in my book.
    • Re:Why the haters? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mobby_6kl ( 668092 )
      Because it's just a pair of connect-it-yourself speakers connected to a fucking ipod.

      I would probably agree with you if it was an article like this one [dansdata.com], and the whole thing wasn't called "iPod Hi-Fi mini", but as it is, it's just stupid.
    • This is a damn neat hack.
      I won't comment on the quality, but using off the shelf speakers and amplifiers in a novelty case doesn't seem like much of a hack to me. Then again I'm somewhat an electronics geek and I build my amplifiers from scratch. It seems this qualifies for Slashdot only because it has to do with Apple, and that's kind of pathetic for a geek news site.
    • What? It was posted as a do-it-yourself iPod HiFi, but what it ACTUALLY is, is a pair of cheap speakers in plastic cabinets.

      As for an iPod full of compressed, lossy songs... uh... do you have ANY CLUE how incredible my MP3s sound through my Paradigm Monitor 3's? I'll give you a hint: even with lossy MP3s, plastic-box speakers would sound like crap.
  • iPod Speaker Reviews (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mynister ( 738512 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:12AM (#15712325) Homepage
    I have been setting up a new site reviewing all of the different iPod Speaker Systems [ipodspeakerreviews.com]. We have been looking at iPod Alarm clocks, iPod Boom boxes, and portable iPod Speaker systems. All reviews and input are welcome!

    It is possible that this comment will get moded down but I am only letting people know about the site so that we can increase awareness and reach that critical mass so that the site becomes a useful resource for people. All useful and big sites started out as small sites. All comments are welcome and if you have used any of the speaker system please post your experiences and thoughts.

    http://ipodspeakerreviews.com/ [ipodspeakerreviews.com]
  • Meh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:18AM (#15712367)
    You want a real speaker system for your iPod?

    Build this portable ipod speaker [parts-express.com]

    Not including MDF for the enclosure and some of the misc electronics(who doesn't have a pile of spare LEDs), it cost about $200 to build.

    It's only a bit heavier than a boombox, lasts ~4 hours on full volume(deafening) with the specced battery, over 8 hours at a normal volume, and can charge your ipod(or anything else with a cigarette lighter charger). Unsuprisingly, it also uses a Sonic Impact t-amp, they kick ass for their size/cost.

  • ...in understanding how to turn a NES controller into an mp3 player like some guy did earlier this year. While it was cool, it too was lacking a serious walkthough in how he did it. I only mention it because here I sit with a NES controller and a screen less iPod nano.
  • What a great use for old Macs!
    Very creative.

    I would love to do this but can't bring myself to destroy my Mac Color Classics.
    I would also have put an ipod dock on top of the unit.
  • All of you whiners tell me if you went to your friends place and he had one of these you wouldn't drool over it, even if it didn't sound like a Bose.

    I'm not sure about the dimensions, or if it would fit, but if the speaker jack was set up such that you put your iPod in the disk slot it hooked it up... man, thats like pr0n.
  • It's a better iPod boom-box. I built mine in an old guitar amp cabinet. podzuma plans [partsexpress.com]
  • Not the strangest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `earthshod.co.uk'> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @11:13AM (#15712704)
    On The Register's hardware page [reghardware.co.uk] there is a review [reghardware.co.uk] of a valve amplifier for the iPod. I checked out the valve number and apparently, to those of us who grew up with Mullard (later Philips) numbers, it's an ECC88. That makes it a double triode.

    So how are they running three speakers from it? Assuming the valve is not just for show ..... I suppose they could be inverting the phase to one channel using a transformer, re-inverting it at the speaker by reversing the connections and bridging the subwoofer between the two channels to give a "sum" signal. AMI stereo juke boxes used that sort of wiring scheme {except they didn't need a transformer at the input, since the left and right coils of the pickup are electrically separate: four wires, not three}. AMI and Rockola were using valves long after Wurlitzer and Seeburg had switched to transistors.

    I personally think digital sources and valves don't play well together anyway: they make the digital artefacts sound worse. Tried it, didn't like it, back to trannies -- at least they disguise the "digitalness".

    And the ready-made amplifier module this guy used is just completely cheating! At least he could have done something like bridge together a pair of TDA2030s for each channel {they're just op-amps, except these ones will source or sink an ampere or so without batting an eyelid} and used yet another 2030 to make a self-resonant switch-mode supply for the iPod.
    • Assuming the valve is not just for show

      Ah, but if you read the complete article, you'd see that it is largely for show. The amp comes on immediately (no warm-up), and works whether the tube is installed or not. Apparently it does something, as they report that the sound changes whether it's in the socket or not, but it sounds like...err, appears that it's largely ornamental.

      Agree with you re: the ready-made amp. Bare-board amps aren't that hard to find, and would have been more in keeping with the DIY na

  • A link to a rather small scale hardware hack... When did digg start looking like slashdot?
  • Shoudl be labelled, "Homade speaker enclosure made from ancient Mac..." From the picture I don't see that he made any mods to the ipod, so, literally, this has nuthing to do with "Homemade iPod Hi-Fi mini"
    GET A CLUE!!!
    I am assuming by this precedent I can attach an ipod to a pair of wall speakers via an amp i bought and call it the same thing...
    Get me some real news!!!
  • I didn't know Slashdot covered DIY speaker projects. :)

    Really, the only thing "tech" about this project is that the enclosures are recycled macs. DIY projects for self-powered speakers that can be plugged into an MP3 player, Diskman, Gameboy, ect, are a dime a dozen. I did enjoy looking at the pictures.

    How long until my speakers [andrewrondeau.com] make it onto the front page? Perhaps I should do a write-up on my pair of subwoofers that are as a large as washing machines?

  • I'm selling this [clust.com] DIY kit for $99; my version has all white cables though. Contact me if interested.

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