Product: Kicker iK500 iPod Speaker System
Price and Availability: Currently available and retailing for $299.99
Pros: Simple, easy to set up and use
Cons: Docked iPod sits a little “off”
Overall: Solid sound with a great overall look
While we were able to review the iK500, which is made for the iPod, Kicker also offers the ZK500 for the Microsoft Zune, which also retails for $299.99.
The iK500, after first getting it out of the box has a nice look to it.
The iK500 ships with a remote control that offers a full range of options along with eight dock inserts that should allow for just about any iPod to sit snugly in place. It has two 5-inch woofers, two 3/4-inch tweeters, one 6-inch square reflex subwoofer that are powered by a 40-watt stereo amplifier. In addition it has a 1/8-inch stereo aux-in jack and stereo RCA out. The speaker system measure in at 8.5 x 19.2 x 8.4-inches and weigh 9.2-pounds, which basically means that the system itself is a little on the larger side, so this may affect where you choose to keep it. The unit we had was moved from room to room, as we needed or wanted it as opposed to having a home spot to call its own.
The controls are about as simple as they come, the dial next to the display offers the ability to adjust the volume, bass, treble and aux-in settings as well as turn the unit off and on. The remote is equally as easy and yet still offers a great deal of control, with the ability to not only to skip songs and adjust the volume but also control the playlists.
Like we first mentioned the iK500 has a really nice look to it, which makes it even nicer once turned on, because it has a sound to match. With a wide range of music selection, everything from grungy live rock to nicely produced audio to home crafted podcasts we had a similar enjoyment while listening. The iK500 worked and sounded well in the kitchen, bedroom, living room and even while forced out in the (2 car) garage to do some spring cleaning.
I was able to test this using a 2nd generation iPod nano, iPhone (even though there is not a dock connector that fits) and even a 1st and 2nd generation Shuffle via the aux-in jack and was equally happy with the sound. The only real con we had was that the iPod sits straight up and down and it was at times hard to read the display, but overall that is a small issue, after all this is a music player and not a video player.
Bottom Line: Kicker has made great products and has been a great brand for a while. After all they have been the envy of my eyes from years back when I was more into having the loudest car in the neighborhood, and after playing around with the iK500 I can say that I am still just as happy with the quality of their product. Having recently also purchased a Zune, we may have to grab the ZK500 for that also.
Check out our earlier Peep Show for some “real-world” pics of the Kicker iK500.