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George Is An iPod's Best Friend

Face it: Earbuds suck. Especially when you're at home and want to turn it up a little. There are iPod docks that provide a little amplification, but they tend to be mediocre at best. If you want to control the way you play your music, let George do it.

George is to iPod docks as King Kong is to organ-grinders' monkeys. It looks like the familiar Bose Wave and similar audio gourmet tabletop radios, and packs a lot of audio engineering into a small case: a downward-firing subwoofer and right- and left-channel midrange and tweeter speakers with almost no separation at all.

Click image to enlarge.

Like the Bose, it sounds great, but that's just for openers. George puts you in control. You can not only set the bass and treble boost, but the frequencies they kick in on as well. While George isn't as bass-heavy as some tabletops, it can rattle the windowpanes if you push it. And while the stereo separation is nonexistent, George puts out a clean, clear sound that fills a space without overwhelming it, and travels well -- it doesn't go all tinny if you're listening from another room.

You can dock just about any recent iPod model using a set of interchangeable dock modules snap into a socket on top of the George. The control panel has a small LCD display and a big, rubbery central knob flanked by four buttons labeled (like the iPod) Menu, Play/Stop, Beginning, and End. In addition there are eight smaller buttons under the display screen that are "softkeys" -- they perform whatever function the screen assigns to them.

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