November 1, 2005
iPod Boom Box
Josh Schoenfeld’s Amplipod
Traveling in Thailand with friends about a year ago, Josh Schoenfeld realized that there was no existing iPod sound system strong enough to match the MP3 player’s capabilities and belie its size. This led him to conceive the Amplipod, an iPod boom box with enough strength to satisfy the group and a sleek appearance that directly references Apple’s iconic player. “Home stereos are too big to travel with,” Schoenfeld says. “And smaller systems might be fine for a gathering in a hotel room, but they can’t support the after party!” With maximum volume upward of 100 decibels—the average rock concert is about 115—Amplipod is the complete package. The unit is extremely simple in terms of function, controlled by only one knob for power and a second for volume. While Schoenfeld carries his Amplipod on his shoulder, it’s not necessarily the most practical use of the product; the specs on the Web site list the weight simply as “heavy”—and it is. Here Schoenfeld explains the inner workings of the Amplipod.
The front piece is made from cell-cast acrylic. The initial model was much more durable and industrial looking, as if Amplipod would be used on a construction site, but this refined one is more marketable.
Parabolic tubes allow the bass speaker inside the unit to breathe. As the speakers contract, air wants to leak out. If you don’t allow it to do that properly, sound quality can be distorted.
The auxiliary input hooks up to anything from an electric guitar or keyboard to a laptop computer.
A FireWire iPod charger can also be used to recharge the Amplipod. In addition, the Amplipod charges your iPod continually whether or not it’s plugged into an electrical outlet.
The case is stamped raw aluminum. The rounded corners, which are extremely difficult to achieve, necessitated the stamping process. We refrained from using any coating because it would get scratched too easily, whereas with the aluminum Amplipod, you can shine it up the same way you would your silverware at home.