When i was younger I worked as a house painter and had a great JVC boombox that blasted punk tunes to everyone’s annoyance.
That’s why I like Altec Lansing’s new $300 Mix iMT800, a ghettoblaster for the iPhone age.
The Mix Boombox is loud and obnoxious, like a boombox should be. It mixes old school block-rockin’ beats with new school digital connectivity. It easily fills a room with sound and can piss off the neighbors, even in the daytime.
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What it is: Shipping soon but available for pre-order, the Mix Boombox is one of the few iPhone/iPod boomboxes on the market. There are plenty of portable iPhone/iPod speakers, but larger boombox-style systems are pretty much limited to the Mix Boombox and the $170 Lasonic i93, which got a rave review from Gizmodo.
Why it’s good: The Mix Boombox is almost twice as expensive as the Lasonic i93, but based on Giz’s description, it’s twice the system. Where the Lasonic is cheap and cheerful, the Mix Boombox is solid and well built.
The Mix Boombox is hefty but portable, thanks to its sturdy carrying handles and the eight D-batteries it’s powered by. It also runs off AC, but batteries is where this boombox is at — it’s built to be lugged around.
The Mix Boombox can play for up to 30 hours on eight D-cell batteries, according to Altec Lansing. We got a day’s worth of music from a set of dying batteries pulled from a camper lamp. But the batteries can’t be recharged inside the unit, and it won’t recharge your iPod or iPhone when running on batteries — only on AC power.
It features a dock connector at front for an iPhone/iPod, and two aux-in jacks for connecting two more iPods so your friends can get in on the party. There’s plenty of room for the other iPods: they sit in the well for the top carrying handle and plug in via patch cables (which are provided).
Sound is provided by a pair of 3-inch mid-range speakers, two tweeters, and two side-firing 5.25-inch subwoofers. The audio is full and bass-heavy, especially if you crank up the lower frequencies on the built-in 7-band graphic equalizer. The sound doesn’t begin to distort until you hit four or five clicks below maximum, by which point it’s already uncomfortably loud.
My favorite feature in the little IR remote control, which has a carabiner-style clip for hooking it to your jeans or keyring. The remote controls both the boombox and iPhone/iPod, playing and pausing tracks, skipping songs and scrolling through tunes and playlists. Thoughtfully, there’s a little dock on top for the remote — one of many nice design touches that makes the Mix Boombox worth its hefty $300 price tag.
My other favorite feature is a cool protective bar that slides up and down to hold the iPhone/iPod in place when it’s sitting in the dock. It’s pretty sturdy and has a nice resistance when pulled up or down. Your precious iPhone’s not going anywhere if the Mix Boombox is drunkenly knocked over at a party.
The iPhone/iPod dock is shielded, so there’s no need to put the iPhone in airplane mode, a major annoyance on unshielded systems. It also pauses the music automatically when the phone rings.
The Mix Boombox features a built-in digital radio. Reception is pretty good even without the antenna extended, and the subwoofers give NPR a nice depth and weight missing from weedier radios.
The control buttons on top light up and have a nice tactile feel, giving a satisfying click when pressed. The front LED display is clear and easy to read, scrolling info like the radio station, input source and track playing.
Overall, the Mix Boombox is a rockin’ sound system, great for parties or Burning Man. I’ve got it set up in the bedroom to annoy the kids with the sound of punk in the morning.
Where to get it: The Mix Boombox is available for pre-order on Amazon for $300.
Rating: It rocks!