It’s an iPod world.
Since its arrival in the world in 2001 the diminutive player has not only become the device of choice for people in the market for an MP3 player but it has also played a part in changing the way we actually purchase music such is its relationship with the iTunes Music Store. Of course whenever something takes on the status of a social phenomenon there is always going to be a market for aftermarket paraphernalia and accessories.
The iPod doesn’t fall short in this department either. Look in any vaguely tech related magazine and you will find a wide range of external speakers, docking stations, cases and radio tuners all waiting to mate with the player itself. So just when you think you’ve tricked out your iPod with every available bit of bling on the market along comes a certain something that moves the goal posts…and then some.
Sound Leisure has long been the doyen of the jukebox world. If you’ve selected music in a pub jukebox whether that be recently or back in the venerable days of vinyl then the odds are at some point one of the models was from the Sound Leisure stable.
The company has long been established in the home as well with jukeboxes created for the home market allowing you to play your records and CD’s without having to dig for loose change on your way back from the bar.
Now Sound Leisure has incorporated the design ethic of the jukebox and interspersed it with one of the most identifiable brands of the digital generation. If you’ve got an iPod here is an item that could quite honestly be the ultimate accessory.
Stylised in the much copied Wurlitzer ‘bubbler’ form, with its swooping glass and dayglo colour, this little extravagance is one that is instantly recognisable. However in its latest incarnation rather than loading up your favourite CD’s this time you simply slot in your iPod and your music collection immediately becomes part of the ‘juke box’ experience. Its not just the audio experience either, built into this model is an LCD screen for the benefit of those with video capable models.
The sound is piped into an amplifier of Sound Leisure’s own design and is tailored to work with the iPod’s own system so when it comes to sound quality you’re going to be looking at a punchy performer in the audio stakes. In turn the amp drops your tunes into a three way speaker system much like the traditional juke box setup (powerful). Your selections can then be chosen via remote and all models of iPod apart from the Nano are supported (almost revenge for the rest of the iPod world not being supported with the recent Nike sports gadget).
Visually the Xi (its official title) is a looker, taking its cues from one of the most distinctive designs of the 20th Century and incorporating Sound Leisure’s known robust build quality. A showcase at Apple’s store on Oxford Street proved hugely successful with its looks and sound bringing the store to a standstill. However as is always the case, with new toys for the boys (and girls) there is alas a catch. It ain’t a cheap prospect. If you fancy kitting out your home with one of these then don’t expect anything in the way of change from four grand. Technically that’s more than a traditional jukebox from the same manufacturer (and for some models they actually provide an iPod integration kit). However you have to remember in terms of the eye candy and audio this time they’ve gone the extra mile.
This of course leaves me with one question, could this be the ultimate stocking filler for the audiophile in your life this Christmas?