A DIY MP3 Boom Box

By Bill Machrone  |  Posted 2006-05-03 Print this article Print

eWEEKend: We're still waiting for Hollywood to remake Say Anything, but here's our update of the classic 1980s stereo. Your iPod never looked so retro.

Youve doubtless seen the iPod Hi-Fi, Apples supposed boom box, by now, and youve probably also realized that its nothing of the sort. Its a tabletop audio system, less likely to venture outdoors than a New York City house cat. Why would Apple want to make a boom box anyway? Youll recall that in their heyday boom boxes were widely reviled, seen as an assault on the senses and a way of imposing ones musical tastes on others who likely did not share them.
Sometimes you want your music to fill a room, though, or to make it portable and listen to it in situations where earbuds just wont do.
With that in mind, I developed the iBoom Lo-Fi, a portable music player thats more boom box than hi-fi. I found an old boom box, gutted its cassette player, and adapted it to hold an iPod instead. The result is a portable music player with a stealthy secret—its high-tech payload isnt obvious unless you spy the iPod inside the cassette compartment. I designed it so that the cassette transport buttons now control the iPod. That way, you dont have to reveal your cargo to start playing or to forward to the next song.

Unlike the iPod Hi-Fi (which leaves your iPod exposed to the elements), the iBoom Lo-Fi completely encloses and protects the iPod, so you can take it to the beach, on a picnic, or just to the kitchen while you paint the trim. You too can build an iBoom; it takes a minimum of tools and a bit of ingenuity. I budgeted $50 for this project. It came in at $46. —Putting It All Together >

Read the full story on PCMag.com: A DIY MP3 Boom Box
Bill Machrone is vice president of technology at Ziff Davis Publishing and editorial director of the Interactive Media and Development Group. He joined Ziff Davis in May 1983 as technical editor of PC Magazine, became editor-in-chief in September of that year, and held that position for the next eight years, while adding the titles of publisher and publishing director. During his tenure, Machrone created the tough, labs-based comparison reviews that propelled PC Magazine to the forefront of the industry and made it the seventh-largest magazine in the United States. He pioneered numerous other innovations that have become standards in computer journalism, such as Service and Reliability Surveys, free utility software, benchmark tests, Suitability to Task ratings, and price/performance charts. Machrone also founded PC Magazine Labs and created the online service PC MagNet, which later expanded into ZDNet. In 1991, when Machrone was appointed vice president of technology, he founded ZD Labs in Foster City, California. He also worked on the launch team for Corporate Computing magazine, was the founding editor of Yahoo! Internet Life, and is working on several other development projects in conventional publishing and electronic media. Machrone has been a columnist for PC Magazine since 1983 and became a columnist for PC Week in 1993.

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