Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Apple A1121 iPod Hi-fi


Today we are looking at a product that did not do well for Apple – the iPod Hi-fi. These were introduced in February of 2006 and were discontinued in September of 2007. They were priced at $349, no matter where you went. Typical Apple price-fixing, if you ask me.

But I digress. These are slick-looking products that do what a lot of other things out there do: provide a docking station and speakers to play your iPod through.

But this one does a very good job of it. It has two 80mm midrange drivers and a 130mm dual voice-coil woofer. They are in a ported, tuned, and double-walled enclosure, with separate cabinets for each driver. These speakers sound great, and you can gaze lovingly at them if you set aside the easily-removable grill.

The inputs and outputs are simple. There is a slot on the top to set your iPod in, as well as an 1/8-inch input jack on the back. As far as outputs go: there aren’t any. Hah!

The controls are extra-simple. There are touch-sensitive volume and track controls on top of the unit. Also, the Hi-fi comes with a remote that allows you to control the same things.

The chassis is uber-durable. It has the usual Apple quality dripping from every gently-radiused shiny surface. It measures about a 1 & ½ feet long by ½ fot by ½ foot. It has a supple rubber footing along the bottom that prevents it from marring your Chippendale table, or Ikea PS cabinet.

The iPod Hi-fi draws its precious electricity through a whopping 9 ½-foot AC cable, or through 6 ecologically-evil D cell batteries. With the batteries, it weighs in at an astounding 16.7 pounds. That is a lot of quality!

Well, internet pundits thought otherwise. Criticisms included:

It was too expensive.

It did not have an AM/FM radio tuner.

The iPod stuck out the top and was too vulnerable.

The remote did not support all of the normal iPod functions.

Most ridiculously, I have seen reviewers complain that there is no headphone output on the Hi-fi. There is already one on the iPod, you mouth-breathing egg timers. Get a clue.

But, despite the criticisms, it turns out that this is still a popular item. In good condition, these sell for at least $200 on eBay, and new in the box models go for over $500. Try to get that kind of resale value on other old electronics.

Why is this? I think it is because the Hi-fi is simple to use, provides plenty of volume with good quality sound, and it looks neat.

I still use mine regularly, and am super-happy that I picked one up when they were being closed out at Mac Mall. If you see one for a deal at a garage sale, you might consider snagging it.



  1. I never got a chance to try one of these, but they sure are lovely on the eyes. Since they apparently sound as good as they look, it's little wonder they still fetch a decent price.

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  2. Hi! I may be categorized as one of the mouth breathing retards, but I'm gonna ask anyway. Can you hook this up to an I Mac for better sound from the desktop?



    1. You can hook it up with any standard 1/8" to 1/8" male/male stereo audio cable. You can get some on Amazon for a couple bucks, at Radio Shack for $15.

  3. Hi Melissa!

    I am not going to shoehorn you into that category, because that is a good question. Yes, you can hook it up to the headphone out on your computer, and I have used it with my netbook before with no problems.

    Have a great day!


  4. Yeah they were great when they work, but Apple don't fix them, no one else touches them either, and Apple discontinued all spares, so when your power supply unit decides to die, you have no way of replacing it and thus the HiFi is DEAD


  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Hi All. I have just purchased one up in denver for $185.00. It plays very loud and clear at a good loud volume too! My question is in regards to the echo sound I get while using my Nano 5th generation. Wondering where that echo came from. Can't find any adjustment on my Ipod for 3D or any other feature that would cause this. I do use the loudness on the EQ but when off I think it still echos. Thanks, LBG

  7. i'm wandering whats the model of the remote control for this device... since i love mine but i lost the remote...

  8. Dear god, can I please find a new power plug for this monster!!

    1. I'm also looking for one if you find a source please call843-208-2676 ask for Jerry or e-mail jkobermeyer@hargray.com

  9. I want one or at least a spare central speaker. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

  10. still got mine! only just rediscovered it the sound is better than anything else I have in my house. couldnt believe that it was still worth so much aswell

  11. Hi

    I think it is a standard IEC C7 cable, which is the same one that is used for all kinds of things, including the PS3...


  12. I just scored bigtime at Goodwill in Palo Alto, CA -- got one for $40. $40! Totally amazing. It sounds amazing at low volume, high volume, anywhere in between. One interesting observation different from most other speakers I've listened to: the uber-optimal "viewing angle", so to speak, is almost directly in front of the speakers. I mean it sounds great anywhere, but if you happen to be anywhere in the room within 10 degrees on either side of center, you are really in for a treat. It's hypnotic. Often when walking from one side of the room to the other across the path of the music, I find myself standing still, entranced, when I cross center, because the audio stream is so enchanting. Ha, sort of reminds me of the sort of reverence one would expect from their peers at a church or temple when crossing the center aisle! (as well as the fact that you've got to feel it to believe it!)

    One last note, on battery power, so far I've been able to crank for six hours running with only sliiiight reduction in max power vs AC with nary a sacrificed vibration otherwise. Amazing product -- if it were to get stolen I would consider paying $200 for another one.

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  21. We use ours for output from MacBook Air. It has taken to blowing the fuse when we plug it in. Has this anything to do with the TRS or TRRS 1/8 in jack input? We have a TRS lead, but a TRRS extension.

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