Random Access   chris, kp & rob
Tech Take-Apart
JBL On Stage
by kp

Landing at your local Micro Center store - the JBL On Stage. This innovatively designed speaker system looks like a UFO, but instead of transporting little green aliens, it carries extraordinary sound. The On Stage works as a compact audio system for CD players, MP3 players, or computer speakers. At first glance, it's hard to believe that this one-pound unit can deliver such superior quality sound, but its creatively-engineered Odyssey™ speakers have a powerful kick. The On Stage's portable design is small enough to squeeze into a laptop bag.

JBL On Stage
JBL On Stage

Besides being a speaker system, the On Stage also works as a docking station for your iPod. Equipped with interchangeable adapters, it accommodates most iPod models (except iPod shuffle) and synchronizes with iTunes. Even when the On Stage is turned off, it charges up your iPod using your existing iPod cables. You can even use the iTunes equalizer to change the On Stage sound effects.

In addition, the On Stage features "Touch Volume Control" which recalls your last settings after its shut down. The four Odyssey™ speakers are equipped with Neodymium magnets below the aluminum transducers. This combination expands the sound range and delivers a frequency response of 80Hz-20KHz. The On Stage also has a mini stereo jack connection that can be used to plug into a CD player or a computer.

So the question is, "What does it sound like?" For this review, I put the On Stage through its paces. I connected an iPod mini to the On Stage and experimented with playing several music genres through the system. With a some adjustments to the equalizer, I tested the On Stage's limits, and was surprised at how easily it handled extreme frequencies from window-shaking low bass to high-pitch guitar. The sound quality was so crystal clear that it sounded like I was at a concert. In fact, the bass was so powerful that it shook everything on the desk, but the On Stage remained anchored by its rubber grip base.

Next, I plugged the On Stage to an iBook using the iPod FireWire cable. Working through iTunes, I easily synced the iPod and changed the iTunes equalizer settings. The On Stage docking system operated seamlessly between the iPod and iTunes.

Whether you are looking for iPod speakers or a computer audio system, the JBL On Stage has all the features you'll need for sound. It can be modified to integrate with PC or Mac, and looks stylish on any desktop. The On Stage offers first-rate sound quality in an efficient, compact package. Don't hesitate— make sure you grab one before it soars away.

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