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Simpl A1 Amplifier
An economical way to increase the performance of your iPod
Date Created: 04/28/2006 Last Updated: 05/21/2006 Authors: Staff

Over the past few years I've had several iPods and they've been through the proverbial ringer. Given the innovative design and versatility of the iPod , we've used it during commutes on the noisy NYC subways, road trips in the car (power cords), the centerpiece of my home audio system or a simple way to escape into a world of music with a nice pair of headphones. BUT...some of the main problems with the versatility of the iPod is that everyone wants the most out of each and every song no matter how it's being used. The Simpl A1 iPod amplifier enhances just about every application for your iPod by improving sound, enhancing performance of high-end headphones, extends battery life, and can be used to amplify any audio device with a stereo mini jack connection, while being compatible with all full-sized iPods.

Manufacturer's Product Overview

" Simpl A1 is a high-end audio component designed to enhance the iPod experience. Simpl A1 provides the power necessary to support the performance needs of high-end headphones. Using Simpl A1 allows iPods to function at a lower volume setting which ultimately increases battery life. Simpl A1's high power amplifier prevents the iPod's internal amplifier from clipping or distorting."

First Glance

Right out of the box the Simpl A1 is a compact, clean-looking accessory with a straightforward design that's easy for anyone to immediately hook on their iPod and start enjoying its benefits. You get the amplifier, a USB charging cord and the short male/male wire that connects the amplifier to your iPod, or whatever other audio source you want to amplify.

 

Performance

Our first test was simply. Slap it on a full-sized iPod and get down to business. The Simpl A1 connects to the iPod with what the manufacturer calls "podgrip" technology. It's not really so much technology as it is a well-designed feature that securely affixes the Simpl A1 to your iPod. Basically, there's no way the Simpl A1 is coming off unless you want it off. After connecting the Simpl A1 its performance can be immediately appreciated by turning the volume down just short of not begin able to hear and then pressing the power button bringing your iPod to life. The two key aspects of its simplicity is that the volume can be turned up high enough to drown out the annoying sounds of the subway while avoiding the typical distortion and clicking that happens when the volume is close to being maxed-out. Whether you're using a pair of high-end headphones or some earbuds.

Next we decided to try the Simpl A1 with our iPod attached to our SONY DreamSystem. In this application the iPod is hooked up to our receiver and the music is channeled through to our stereo speakers. Even with a built-in amplifier the Simpl A1 improves the sound quality and minimizes distortion as we increased the volume to a point where it would be loud enough for any audiophile. We've been running our iPods through receivers for years and this without a doubt increases the sound quality.

 

For the gamers out there we decided to give the Simpl A1 a try on our PowerBook G4 while playing Call of Duty 2 with our BOSE Tri-Port Headphones . Granted, the gaming experience is enhanced every time headphones are utilized. But with the Simpl A1 the "background" sounds such as footsteps, distant airplanes and gun shots, breathing...etc, are crystal clear and come to life once again when the Simpl A1 is powered up. It really adds to the gaming experience! Even though it looks like a bulky set-up in this picture, it hides away to the side quite well during use. This picture simply demonstartes the way to hook it up.


IMPORTANT: Instructions

1. Fully charge the Simpl A1 via included USB Cable.
2. Completely lower the iPod volume.
3. To attach, firmly press the Simpl A onto the back of the iPod.
4. Attach the mini cable from the iPod headphone port to the Simpl A1 audio-in port.
5. Connect your headphones to the Simpl A1 audio-out port.
6. Press the power button on the Simpl A. 7. Press play on the iPod and SLOWLY increase the volume.

Price

Simpl Acoustics announced lower pricing on the Simpl A1 Headphone Amp for iPod in late 2005. Simpl Acoustics has lowered the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of the A1 from $149 to just $99. Increased demand has allowed production costs to drop dramatically, and Simpl Acoustics would like to pass these savings onto the consumer. The Simpl A1 allows the use of high-end headphones with the iPod and provides improved sound quality and iPod battery life. “The Simpl A1 is the perfect product for people who want the best sound quality from their iPods, and we are thrilled to provide this product to music lovers,” said Simpl Acoustics’ President, Preston Graham.

 

Final Thoughts

The Simpl A1 is hands-down one of the best headphone amps on the market. Let alone one that's designed specifically for the iPod. It delivers on its performance promises and is versatile enough to compliment stand-alone usage with an iPod, amplification for a home-audio system and enhanced game-playing. Additionally, for those of you with video iPods battery life is a big issue. Using this product will extend battery life allowing for more viewing time. The only downside, even given the sleek design, the Simpl A1 is a little bulky. It weighs next to nothing but if this was attached to a 60 gig iPod, you're going to have a device that won't easily slide into your jeans pocket.

Additional Review

You can read an additional review by Pierce Case here.



This item is available for purchase from Amazon.com

Simpl Acoustics is a small company located in the hills of beautiful Austin, Texas. With a full-time designer and electrical engineer on staff, all products are designed and engineered in house to the highest standards. Simpl Acoustics aims to create the best audio electronics for the iPod at affordable prices.

Rating:
Requirements:
iPod
Manufacturer:
Simpl

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