There’s a bevy of options out there if you’re looking for an affordable docking speaker system for your iPod, but not all of them have the same design priorities in mind. Here’s our detailed look at XtremeMac’s Tango X2 iPod speaker system. Does the Tango X2 sound as good as it looks?
There is no shortage of iPod accessories out there. Literally thousands of manufacturers and vendors have come together under the "Made for iPod" program, and quite a few companies have managed to put out some amazing products. There are the occasional toilet paper docks and other equal oddities, but most products that are released on store shelves are decent enough to warrant a purchase. The sheer number of accessories has given Apple’s iPod a distinct advantage over other MP3 players, simply on the basis that the ecosystem virtually ensures tons of options for almost any product you may want to complement it.
One of the obvious choices that comes to mind when one thinks of an MP3 player accessory is a dedicated set of speakers. There are reasons why someone may not wish to buy one, might their reason be the fear of lock in to a certain brand or the possibility of sub-par quality. But there are fitting uses for these speakers, whether customers choose to use them for recreational listening or for outings that don’t demand a true hi-fi experience, consumers at large have proven that demand for these types of products is far from waning.
Even though the iPod-speaker market, in particular, may be saturated with all of the competition aiming for the same space, there are products that make a name for themselves and shine over the rest. Companies such as Altec Lansing, BOSE, Griffin, and Logitech, among many others, have all released similar products, and many of them in comparable price ranges. XtremeMac’s Tango X2 was a finalist of iLounge’s 2008 Mac World best-of-show award, and their $150 product certainly tries to live up to a lot.
XtremeMac differentiates itself from the larger companies mentioned above in the fact that it solely sells iPod accessories. This is nothing unique to the company itself, but one would hope their experience in dealing with Apple’s MP3 player can outweigh the larger companies’ offerings who delve into other markets and have to effectively balance their efforts.
The Tango X2 is an upgrade to the company’s original Tango that was released in 2006, which supports every iPod with a dock connector. Over the original, the newer version boasts an integrated AM/FM tuner, preset controls, and a front volume control, and also retains all of the features that made the first Tango as promising as it was with its treble and bass control and included remote. The simple, pleasing aesthetics have also stuck around, but this time the design has been updated to further match Apple’s current approach to form.
Although XtremeMac’s press photo may not totally relate the proper scale, the Tango has one important feature over Apple’s now-discontinued Hi-Fi, and many other companys’ products: portability. The small footprint and carrying handles serve as an important piece to its practicality and use. But as is common with audio, there is a trade-off. What benefits it gains in portability, it will potentially sacrifice in quality.