When you're at the track or just lounging around the house it's nice to listen to your favorite playlist on your iPod. Sure you can pick up a generic set of portable speakers, but are you really going to get the best sound possible out of those? How about the convenience of charging your iPod at the same time? The iK500 does all of that in one small package that is extremely portable measuring in at 8.5 inches tall, 19.2 inches wide and 8.4 inches deep. While at first there is nothing visually overwhelming about it, as soon as you dock your iPod and press the control knob in the middle of the unit you're ready to hear your favorite music. This is when you'll realize where all of Kicker's engineers spent their time in development. The dual 3/4-inch tweeters, dual 5-inch woofers and 6-inch subwoofer emit a sound that makes you feel as if you're front row at a concert. Another nice feature about the iK500 is the adjustability of bass and treble levels in the unit and how easy everything is to operate. The convenience of changing the volume level or music track you want to hear from a wireless remote is a nice feature as well. Additionally to compensate for the different style of Apple iPod types on the market, the iK500 comes with a handful of adapters so your player will rest comfortably in the docking station. For those who have an MP3 player that is not an iPod brand, there is an auxiliary input that works with any conventional headphone jack. On a recent trip to a race, I had trouble hearing the audio out of the elevated and surrounded television set when watching a movie in our RV, so I ran the audio output to the RCA-style jacks on the backside of the unit and discovered I could now hear the audio easily and clear but also make it sound like it was a home theater system.
The only immediate downside I felt was that it only came with an A/C power supply. Since then Kicker has also released a cigarette lighter adapter so you can run it off of a 12-volt source. Our iK500 has traveled with us many miles, and even when not in the trailer I've been running it as an auxiliary speaker to my computer so I can listen to music when I'm at home and it hasn't missed a beat. While I don't try to blow the roof off of the house, the speaker system still sounds as good as it did the day I took it out of the box. Overall, there were only two things that really kept me from giving it 10s across the board. The first is when using my iPhone, it is subject to data transmission interference, though in all fairness a newly released model claims to be iPhone compatible to eliminate this problem. The second was the MSRP of $350. While that price is still competitive in the high-end iPod-friendly docking stations, it is still a hard hit to anyone's wallet. -Eli Madero
Bottom Line: A great way to listen to your favorite tunes at home or when working out of your trailer. So long as you have access to AC power, you're good to party all day long.