What is an iPod Dock?

We frequently get asked “What’s the difference between all these iPod docks?” as they do come in different sizes, shapes and configurations for different applications. Some are small, like this unit right here, perfect for low level listening in a desktop environment, others are a little bit larger like this unit here, which is available in either AC powered only, or battery powered for portability. This unit here adds an AM/FM clock radio, perfect for the night stand. These are all self contained, just add the iPod, plug it in and away you go.

These docks are designed as add on components for your home audio component system, some are proprietary and will only plug into the same manufacturer’s equipment, others are universal and can plug into anything with the same input configurations.

The most affordable iPod docks simply reroute the analog signal from the headphone jack to the 25-pin connector on the bottom of the iPod, while others pull a pure digital signal from your iPod, routing that to the 25-pin connector so you can then send that to the digital analog converter built into your surround sound receiver or the outboard digital analog converter you may have for the best sound possible.
For those of you looking for a little bit more integrated approach to building an iPod based music system in your home, there are integrated amplifiers with an iPod dock built in available. Just hook up your favorite speakers and away you go. Or another solution is a self-powered pair of speakers like these with an iPod dock built in.

Many iPod docks will also allow you to stream your favorite photos or even video from your iPod to your television set, always remember though to use the appropriate docking adapter in your iPod docks as to not damage the connections.