Sound quality and bass output, video output to TV, can use 4 "C" batteries, knapsack carrying case, rugged housing
Audible "hiss" during silent portions of songs. A remote would have been nice. A bit heavy probably due to large speaker magnets and D-class amplifier.
This speaker is ALMOST perfect! It has 90% of the bass response that the iM7 has but it is in a much more portable/packable housing. High's are crystal clear. And you can raise the volume fairly high before distortion starts to set in. Music is rich, warm with ... Read full review
This speaker is ALMOST perfect! It has 90% of the bass response that the iM7 has but it is in a much more portable/packable housing. High's are crystal clear. And you can raise the volume fairly high before distortion starts to set in. Music is rich, warm with some surprising punch. I was blown away when I first heard it live in an Apple store. It's amazing how much sound this thing puts out from a fairly small, flat package.
The housing has a semi-soft, rubber feel to it that should absorb bumps without showing bruises. And the buttons (except the power button) are behind a rubber face. The covers for the battery compartment and connections are also rubber. The intention may have been for the speaker to be splash proof but that would be impossible with an exposed iPod (and clickwheel) on the front. They market the speaker as "shock resistant" without any mention of water.
Being able to use standard "C" batteries is a big plus as speakers with built-in rechargeable batteries are dead in the water if you are away from an outlet for any extended period of time (like camping). Altec claims 24 hours of use on 4 batteries and should they die, it's easy to have an extra set kept in the knapsack. Yes, it comes with it's own single shoulder-strap knapsack that has an additional pocket, bottle holder, and cell phone pocket on the strap. Pretty handy indeed.
I have one complaint and it's pretty significant but not a deal breaker to me. During silent parts of tracks there is an audible hiss coming throught the speakers. It doesn't seem to be there once there is music playing and under normal conditions or outdoors you won't even know it's there. Music playback itself was crystal clear so it wasn't a deal breaker for me. If you plan to use this speaker mostly in a quiet room with soft music that contains lots of silent portions, it may be an issue for you. Your best bet is to try to hear it live before purchasing it to see if the hiss bothers you.
But in the end, to get this much portable bass and battery use, the only other option on the market is the iM7. It was too big for me and it used "D" batteries instead of "C", making it a huge brick to carry just like back in the 80's with old fashion boom-boxes. The iM9 was just the right size with just the right sound quality and bass.
(Note that Buy.com has it significantly cheaper at $165 than other places but who knows if they may raise that price.)
That it does charge your iPod, whether in use or not in use. In addition to the composite video out (NOT S-video), it also has a headphone out, AUX in, and a connector to sync with a PC (USB/Firewire cable not included.)