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The mini Hifi market has been getting pretty swamped the last 5 years or so with many manufacturers from the Hi End- for example, Bang and Olufson and Bose to the lower end like Bush and I thought, Gear 4.
I saw this speaker to buy in HMV as they stock allot of Gear4 stuff of various spec and price, but this seemed to be very popular as a teenager was buying one just as I was looking at them on the shelf and I asked him if he knew if they we any good, he siad that his mate had had one at a house party and he was impressed with the level of the base able to hold the heavier stuff and not get all fuzzy like the cheaper products tend to do, and he said it was not very tinny either with a high treble level set or complete lack of base in the speakers.
At that point I decided to get one for my kitchen. I wanted to get a cheapy speaker for my kitchen come dance area when I have the occasional house party. I had previously bought a very neat B&O Zeppelin and I had found some of my friends playing with it and trying to put in their Ipod whilst holding drinks dangerously close to it, I didnt want any drink going over my £500 stereo system!
So I wanted something, cheap, sturdy and good enough to create a good noise at all levels of volume. I bought the Gear4 House Party 4.
From what I understand, Gear4 have been making these unit sfor sometime, I remember seeing past Gear4`s in HMV or catelogues and I thought previous models looked a bit cheap and nasty and I wondered at the sound quality.
This speaker is pretty robust and I was surprised at how heavy and well built it felt in the hand. It weighs 1.3 Kgs. I have had cheaper speakers in the past like Bush and they were frankly, crap. I was hoping this speaker would not turn out to be the same.
The speaker is black in colour on the plastic resin and has a black mesh on the front to protect the speakers. The speaker has a silver resin trim which I think cheaper companies use silver to attain a modern look but I sometimes think it just makes it look cheaper and if you actually rub the silver off harshly you can actually see the black plastic underneath, it is a great indicator of quality. Although I have not tried to do this with this speaker. It has a curvature design with a high gloss plastic resin finish.
You can combine any Ipod, Ipad or Iphone to the speaker at the bottom of the speaker and it will click on easily and stay on. You have to apply some pressure to take it off of the speaker so you do not have to worry about it falling off by mistake. You do have to make sure tht the Ipod is on straight and true otherwise it will either feel wobbly as all the pins are not in properly or the music is muffled. The main button control is behind the mesh on the top of the speaker, the buttons helpfully light up blue so if you have the lights off you can still see what you are hitting and the main LED read out is red and glows up so you know the volume which is operated by a standard rotary dial, which I prefer to constantly pressing buttons all the time. When an Ipod is attached or when you are listening to the radio - oh yes it picks up FM too ! There is a small pink cable at the back that acts as an antenna as you would find with any radio- shame is doesnt pick up digital though, but I suppose that would increase the cost. You can also connect a 3.5 mm audio line, or headphones into the unit.
You get a neat little remote control with it, its pretty small and flat and I find it a bit hard to press the right button as it is so small my fingers are a little to big for it. Again I think they tried to make the speaker look more expensive than it is and failed a bit on the design front. You also have a mains adapter the cable is pretty robust at either end, this is sometimes a problem with cheaper makes in that the cable seperates from the plug at the connection end because the plastic is too frail to be wrapped up. The Ipod dock als acts as a charger, once you plug the radio in it will play the music and charge your Ipod or Iphone as well which is a neat little extra, but to be expected I think. You also have a 12/24 hr LED clock on the unit which has a settable buzzer alarm or you can have the rado come on at that point, its up to you.
I payed £40 for this House Party 4 unit in HMV. I think this is a fair prce for what you are getting.
I bought these speakers as i had heard great reviews about how loud these speakers are, and they certainly live up to their "house party" name. I have quite a few different ipod speakers round the house and these are by far the loudest and most powerful.
The sound quality is very good and does not muffle even on the highest setting. There are various setting you can turn on and off depending on what you wish to enhance, i personally find turning the bass on makes the sound a lot better.
They are very easy to use you just plug your ipod straight in and turn them on. You can either use the remote control or the buttons on top of the speakers to change song or turn it up. I have had a few problems with my remote control not working but Gear 4 have been very helpful and sent me out a new remote control free of charge.
The design is nice. It is a good size, not too big that you can not put it anywhere convenient, nor is it too small hindering the sound quality. The silver plastic round the edge gives it a nice extra finishing touch. The mesh material on the front can be a little annoying though, i have found the mine is beginning to come away from the speakers so i have to get a pin occasionally and push the edges back in. It is not very noticeable to others, but because i know its there it gets quite annoying.
There are two different features which you can use: 1. the ipod feature and 2. the radio options. I also use mine as an alarm by setting it on my ipod and leaving them plugged in so music will wake me up in the morning.
They are very durable and have dropped them on a few occasions and they still work perfectly fine and i have done no damage to the outside. The only thing that can be temperamental is the remote but as i mentioned previously, gear 4 were only too happy to help.
Overall i would say these are fantastic value for money, they give you everything you need and sound levels which go beyond expectations. I would definitely recommend them.
After being given my other halfs iphone when he upgraded I soon got fed up either misplacing the plug or the charger cable so asked for a dock for xmas a few years ago . And this is what I got :) and I love it
I'm not even slightly up on anything technical and so please excuse this review in plain simple jargon free English .
I wanted these as a simple charging station and maybe listen to a few tracks from my phone if I ever got round to working out how to download things onto it in the first place.. I wouldn't be without this now and it is used almost all day every day / night .
The speaker itself is very sturdy and there is a bit of weight to it . It is primarily black in colour and the front is a fine black mesh . The surround is a nice silver trim giving it a modern look and one that fits nicely with most decor ..The dock is positioned at the center bottom of the speaker and looks quite smart when your iphone/ipod etc is docked .
It comes with a little remote control which is about credit card size and quite flat . I cant say I use it via the remote much as its so small I tend to misplace it for days on end so when I do come across it I put it in a drawer for safe keeping .
There are operating buttons on the speaker itself along the top behind the main mesh panel . These glow blue when the dock is on . There is also a red light display which comes on to show volume level / radio ch / ipod / time etc which is centered on the front panel at the top . You can just make it out in the picture above .
It is mains only operated and the cable is not the longest in the world but its adequate at approx 1.5 meters . It also has an extra length of cable coiled up in the back which is the FM radio antenna . I've not had a problem ever picking up signal so mine is still tucked away unused.
I forgot to mention the charging side of the dock . Once you dock your device it automatically turns itself on and will begin to charge . This is not a bad thing and ensures your always at full battery life :) if you don't wish to charge and like me have got in the habit of chucking my phone in the dock to save forgetting where I left it then simply press the power button located on the top of the speaker .
It goes incredibly loud :) and there is no distortion in sound whatsoever and every note is as clear and crisp as you'd expect and want it to be .. I like to set the alarm on my phone for the mornings , set the volume on the dock to max and I dock my phone when I go to bed .. 6:30 am weekdays and the whole house is awake , no more sleeping through alarms . The kids hate it but mwahaha till they get up on their own they have to put up with it ..
I'm lucky that I don't have neighbours to worry about because I think they would soon have something to say about the noise this little thing produces ..
There are a few things I must mention about my use of this dock
1 . Be careful when docking your iphone etc , make sure to put it on the socket straight and when you remove be sure to pull it upwards instead of up and towards you .. The dock socket is not overly sturdy and over the years mine has become a little wobbly .
2 . There is not a great range on the remote
3 . The mains cable could be a little longer in my opinion
4 . If you find you have a bit of crackle to any music via your docked device be sure to check you have docked it properly . If its not straight down on the pins I have found sound to crackle / hiss a little
I want to give it 5 stars but I think it will have to settle for 4 due to the above reasons .. Its a great piece of kit and as it was a gift I have no idea the cost but I'd happily have another .
Thanks for reading :)
I got given these speakers as a birthday present as my laptop sound is terrible for music, and I prefer to listen to music loudly and not on my headphones.
The speakers are about 30cm x 20cm x 10cm (not measured, sorry if my estimations are off). They are mostly completely black with a silver rim around the edge. It has a tray sticking out of the front where the ipod is plugged in which has a plastic tool you can clip in to protect the connection from too much pressure - it provides you with one for ipod nano, touch and (when I bought it) and iphone 3 though this may have been updated. It also comes with a very small remote control.
The sound is very good quality for the price of speaker and goes plenty loud enough for my uses. If you want any fancy functions such as extra bass though you are out of luck. It has a radio function as well, which I have used in the past however, it is a little tricky to tune and temperamental when you actually want it to play the same station consistently.
One problem I have found is that it is constantly charging your ipod - this is very bad for an ipod's battey and my ipod has been pretty ruined due to this. If there was a function where you could choose whether to be charging your ipod or not it would be much better. This isn't such a big problem if you don't leave your ipod plugged in all day, but it is just something to watch out for.
Also, the control buttons are hard to reach, so sometimes it is hard to turn the music off (though you can do it on your actual ipod or the remote control - though the batteries to that run out quite fast). The system needs to be permanently plugged in which is a problem if you want to play music somewhere in your house/at a party where there is no plug.
Overall, I think these speakers are very aesthetically pleasing, they have a good sound quality and I would recommend it to anyone who just wants to listen to music - however anyone looking for something more hi-tech should probably shop around for something else.
=== The product ===
This is a Gear Houseparty 4 Speaker Dock with built in FM Radio designed for use with iPods and iPhones.
=== How to use ===
Simply plug your iPod or iPhone in to the dock and then there are buttons on the top that can control the power, change the mode and allow you to skip forwards and backwards in songs. The buttons are illuminated which makes for easy use when my kitchen is dark and I can see at a glance if I have switched off all of the plugs before I go to bed.
=== Price ===
This can be purchased for around £45.00 - £50.00 but mine was completely free of charge about 2 years ago when I purchased a new iPod. I'd be happy to pay the price though as I am very happy with this.
=== Overall opinion ===
As this was a freebie this was the main reason why we have one of these and where I was usually not that interested in one of these I would not want to be without one now!
I have this speaker located in my kitchen so I can use my iPhone or iPod in there when cooking and I absolutely love the design of this speaker. The design is lovely and goes very well in my black and silver kitchen. The speakers are an oblong shape and look very sleek indeed with their nice angles. The black speaker with silver edging is a look that is not going to go out of fashion and I love that I can use different Apple products with this whether they were purchased this year or 4 years ago.
This speaker has a display that shows the volume when you adjust it as well as the mode that you are currently using. The display is easy to read, even if I am across the room, and if I am using the built in radio it shows me the frequency of station I am listening to.
There were several different adaptors with this dock which I am sure I still have somewhere. I mainly use an iPod Nano (older style one) and my iPhone with this dock and have never added another piece of plastic to use this since I received this so I don't really have any need for the different adaptors. The adaptors are not the strongest ever but I just be careful when using mine as I don't want it to break.
There is even a remote control with this so that I can control it from across the room but I usually just change the song and the volume on the main controls that are on the speaker as I always forget about the remote. There is not a particularly long range on the remote control and I have an open plan kitchen and lounge area but I am not able to work this from my balcony which is a little disappointing. The flex on this is not particularly long either but I have lots of plugs in my home so this is not really a problem for me like it may be for other people.
The sound quality with this is quite impressive. When I am in another room I can still hear the music clearly and there is a reasonable amount of bass without being over the top. I do not find the sound too tinny and there is no echoing on this at all either. My music sounds good when being played through this and I would definitely recommend this.
Overall I would give this 4/5. The flex is not very long and the range on the remote is not long either, both of which are disappointing factors, the rest of the features work well, this looks nice and as I am careful when docking my iPod or iPhone this has lasted me a couple of years already and I am sure it will last a few more too.
I bought an iPod touch as a replacement for our previous hi-fi, as we thought how good it would be to miniaturize the sound equipment, as who uses cds any more.
the iPod touch is a superb mp3 player and so we felt we needed as an impressive set of speakers to both justify the ipod's capabilities, but also to replace the previous sound of our hi-fi.
WE started our research and these Gear4 speakers kept coming up the best and many people compared the output to Bose.
At high level the sound is simply not distorted, with a tremendous deep base, not tinny at all with so many other docking stations.
Ok there is also a clock and a radio, but both are superfluous.
The remote is a nice touch but it is as easy to walk over to increase sound as it is to find the remote, as you are never sitting next to it.
The sound is deafeningly loud in a living room so perfect for most homes.
It is only mains powered but the lead hangs away without noticing it.
The look of the dock is modern, solid and a nice black body with silver trim.
The iPod dock nice and snug, although as per usual, you cannot easily have a case on it or else it wont charge properly, so we kept the case on and remove the adapter at the point it connects to the iPod. That leaves a lot of stress on the dock adapter point though.
Yes, it e dock charges and plays at the same time, and I have not yet found an iPod or iPhone that does not charge.
I was looking for an inexpensive but good quality set of speakers for my iPod touch and found these at the excellent price of £44.99 thanks to discount code for Currys. I had read plenty of reviews for the speakers and felt confident that I was buying the right product for me. One review had a negative point which I will come to later.
The speakers are as pictured above; very sleek and compact, they have a large oblong shaped frontage and the iPod/iPhone dock sits at the bottom of the speakers in the middle. There is a digital display beneath the mesh which covers the front of the speakers and it displays the mode that the speaker is in and when you alter the volume of the speakers, a number is shown to help you see just how loud or quiet the volume is. The speakers are black in colour with a smart looking silver surround. I have my set sitting on a drawer unit in the living room and they are quite unobtrusive and look smart sitting there. On the very top of the speakers are the control buttons. These allow you to switch the power on and off, select the mode and choose the next or previous track on your iPod/iPhone. These light up blue when the power is on; a handy feature which allows you to see if you've left the speakers on or not.
One particularly nice feature is that there is also a radio built in to the speakers and the digital display also shows the frequency of the radio station being listened to.
The speakers came with adaptors to help any iPod be docked onto them. It is recommended that the adaptors be used because the part which plugs into the iPod/iPhone feels quite flimsy and in one review I read, it had snapped off when the owner had tried to dock his iPod. Now, I found it very difficult to get my iPod Touch onto the dock with the adaptor in place so I have not been using it but I have been very careful how I dock and remove my iPod so as not to cause any damage to the connector.
Once connected, the speakers recognise the iPod and the word iPod is shown on the digital display. The speakers will charge your iPod once it is plugged in - something which my previous set of speakers did not do so I was pleased to find that the Gear 4 Houseparty has this function.
The speakers come with a remote control, allowing you to choose the track, shuffle, repeat and change the volume of the music. I have found that you need to be quite close to the speakers in order for the remote control to be effective but this is not a huge problem in my opinion.
So, how do the speakers sound? Depending how securely you have connected your iPod/iPhone, you may experience some crackling, something which can be remedied by making sure that the iPod is very well attached to the docking connector. In doing this however, take care not to put undue pressure onto the connector to prevent any damage. I have played a variety of styles of music through the speakers and I have been very pleased with the quality of sound. The bass is rich and full without being boomy, and the treble is clear and not at all tinny. The volume can be turned up really quite loudly and there is no distortion in the sound at all. The balance is excellent and I can easily see these speakers being used for a houseparty (as the name suggests) as the high volume would be heard well over a roomful of chatting, noisy partygoers.
I have been very pleased with the purchase of these speakers as they have every feature I wanted: fantastic sound which can be turned up nice and loudly if desired, the function of charging my iPod touch, a remote control, an FM radio and a sleek, contemporary design. Definitely worth a look if you're looking for a good but inexpensive set of mp3 speakers.
HouseParty 4 has been used for many things since I bought it, and yes even for a few house parties. My main use however has been for teaching dance lessons, in a studio. I find the remote is completely essential for this and the product would be a lot less useful without it.
The sound quality is beautiful, I heard things in songs I've never even noticed when listening from my laptop, or even iPod, which was a pleasant surprise! I also found that I began to prefer listening to music out loud, rather than from head phones. I found that headphones are quite constricting, and that listening to music out loud offers a completely different experience.
The station charges your iPod, has several different iPod attachments, supports radio (I have never managed to make the radio option work, although I'm sure a quick look in the manual would sort it out, should I ever feel the desire) and also looks like a great product. As weird as it sounds it also looks like a meaty speaker, so you feel like you're buying a 'big boy' product!
My only grumbles for this docking station are that although music can be heard throughout the house at full volume easily, it could do with being able to go a little louder. As well as this it doesn't support batteries. When I bought this product I chose it over the battery supporting version, and have only regretted this decision once. This product is meatier and bigger than the battery supporting version, which was my main persuader!
Gear 4 is a brand that comes to mind when thinking of iPod accessories, i think most that own iPod's or know anything about them or even keeps up to date with technology will know of them, and for the benefit of those who don't gear 4 is a trusted and usually very good quality brand. Initial thoughts when i used this dock were that it'd be pretty good and quite honestly i was not far off when i did use it, although i was dissapointed at the quality for the money ( forty quid )
The sound quality itself isn't bad and is loudish, however when you compared it to over iPod docks and I'm sure most people do have experience with several different iPod docks you realise that for the money it isn't actually that good value. I mean if you are just wanting a smallish iPod dock that plays average music then this is for you, but it is expensive for what you're getting. Aesthetically it is a very nice looking iPod dock as some of them to tend to be a bit ugly i do like the look of this one and it does seem to just blend in nicely.
The gear 4 dock also sits quite nicely in most places as it is very flat it can be perched in obscure places such as on the mantle piece above the fire place or on the edge of a shelf in front of some books, making this a good choice for those short of positioning space and those wanting to move it around easily, which can be done due to it's small size. The iPod itself places quite nicely on, the iPod charger line thing ( that plugs in to the bottom ) is along the bottom so the iPod is placed on that and is supported from the back to ensure that nothing bends or breaks. As far as it goes for plugging other devices in I don't think its possible as i don't remember seeing a cable that could be plugged in, however that part I am unsure so sorry for not knowing.
In summary I do believe this is a good iPod dock for a low to medium entry level docking station however i do feel the pricing does not reflect the quality in this product and that it should be priced lower or improved. I hope this review helped :)
I purchased this device from Tesco a few months ago; it was around £40 (on offer at the time). Having a look online I can see them for around £45 at the moment (Amazon).
The system seems to be aimed at people that own iPods, I use mine with my iPhone4, but it comes with interchangeable adapters so that you can use different models of iPod. I am not sure what other devices it will be compatible for as the adapter socket only seems to fit iPod products.
It has 30W total speaker output from two 3" drivers, I have no idea how that compares to other products as I am pretty much a casual tech user. The device also charges your ipod whilst playing the music, a big plus point!
It looks pretty sleek, the main body of the device is a black speaker, and the iPod docking station is located at the front, behind the rectangular speaker. The buttons are located on the top, just behind the speaker edge. The power lead is removable, and located at the back. I've noticed that over time it has been difficult to keep the speaker dust free, it sometimes takes a slightly damp cloth to completely clean it. When on the product has a little display screen located on the speaker itself, this usually just displays the track number or the volume level.
The device comes with a mini remote control; it's a bit too small for my liking as I am constantly losing it. However it has all the functions you would expect from it.
The device comes with seven settings (Off, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Flat, Classic, Bass, Acoustic bass) these obviously adapt the sound quality to suit the style of music, I have this set to Off as the basic sound is good enough for all the styles of music that I listen to.
The volume that the device can reach is pretty impressive, it can go up to volume level 40 but I have yet to go above 35 due to the sheer oomph that it has! Even on the higher levels though the sound is of a good quality, I've never noticed any distortion or 'booming'.
It comes with a built-in FM radio which I haven't really used very much but when I have its had a great reception.
I've used this device all around the house, it's probably a little bit on the heavy side to take on holiday with you but if you're looking for a house system for your iPod then you really can't go far wrong with this one! It has all the charm of a Bose system, minus the price tag!
If you want a good looking device with clear crisp sound perfect for a party or just a boogie around the house then this is the product for you!
The only speakers that I have used or purchased before this iPod dock were battery operated for generally under a fiver that I didn't mind losing in the sea or leaving behind if my suitcase was full, so my review is in comparison to friends speakers, their comments on mine and of course the difference between this and the cheap nasty ones.
The 'Gear4 HouseParty4' speaker system was not totally chosen by me, for my last birthday I asked for a dock that could go in the kitchen to brighten up cooking and washing up times. My partner is the tech geek and he chose this for me after doing some testing, research online and reading customer reviews. On looks I would give this 9/10, it looks sleek and modern being all black and there are no visible butt
ons on the front of the appliance. I have a thing about buttons, especially cheap looking ones that detract from the overall equipment's quality and completely ruin the look. The Gear4's buttons are behind the speaker front hidden behind the top ledge and are very simply play, skip, and shutdown etc, the quality of these I would rate as 7/10 on looks and quality, but as you can't see them it isn't too bad.
This is a very powerful speaker; I find the volume at anything over 20 to be pretty loud and would worry about annoying the neighbours. However for sound quality check purposes it has to go above this every once in a while and there is very little distortion or crackling audible in the music to my ears. When we have friends over this often goes on as the chatty and dancing room music and the lounge is used for movies/Xbox. This speaker would work well in any room of the house not just as a background piece for use every other day as I do; its performance really is good.
Price wise my partner bought this in December 2010 and it was just over £50, there wasn't a particular budget he went for, more the best speakers available for a reasonable price (around £100), the fact he went for these at half of what he expected/would have paid for the quality he was after speaks volumes to me. I think these are still around the same price now and are great value for the quality and performance you get. Gear4 have a large range of speakers out and a newer version of the HouseParty4 model was available when we were looking but from what we have tried in shops and read this model seems to be the better of the two.
In addition to the performance you also get included in the package three iPod dock holders for the different models such as 'nano' and 'touch', an input/output cable for other mp3' players to be connected, so this is not restrictive to the iPod only. Finally the best feature...a remote control, which enables full control of your iPod from a pretty good distance and has more options available than the 7 buttons on the actual speaker system. This is easy to use but does seem a little fragile for my liking.
Overall for my first iPod speakers I do not think we could have got a better appliance, great performance and very much value for money.
This is my first ipod speaker and all in all I am more than happy with it.
Firstly, the sound that this speaker produces is of a very good quality. You are able to choose from a number of pre-set EQ settings depending on what music you are listening to, these include Rock, Bass, Pop, Jazz etc. I find that although these are quite handy I would personally prefer to EQ it myself therefore in the future I would probably look into a different speaker that would allow me to do this. Saying that, it shouldn't be a problem if you're not as fussy about how your music sounds as I am.
The volume goes up to 40 which is very loud however the quality of the sound of the sound is not affected by the volume which is a good thing. The only problem with the volume is that once you turn the system off it doesn't remember what level you had it at previously so you find yourself having to turn it up every time you switch it on because it starts at a very low volume.
You also get a small remote control with the speaker. The control is easy to use which is an advantage yet I find that it isn't very responsive and will probably only work if you are pointing it directly at the speaker, which for me can become a nuisance since the speaker is situated higher than me so I end up having to wave my hand up in the air to get it to change to the next song.
There are also 3 different attachments so that you can fit your ipod into the dock, one for the ipod nano, another for the touch and the last for an iphone. These are very easy to insert but it took me awhile to figure out how to remove it to replace with a different one, nevertheless once you know what you're doing there won't be any problems.
I do think that this speaker looks very stylish and would not look out of place anywhere in your home. The colours are black and silver, and it has a red LED display that is hidden by the black material so that you can just see the LED lights through the material which I think looks very professional.
Overall, I think that this is a great product due to the good sound quality and stylish looks, there are a couple of minor problems but you can get past these easily therefore I would definitely recommend this speaker.
I have had ipod's for a few years now and I keep on upgrading to a larger memory as my music collection grows. This is where I decided it was about time to invest in a decent set of speakers to be able to listen to my music.
I purchased a set of speakers a while back for £20 they were great for taking away on holiday, but the playback was not wonderful. So I started looking around I came across the Gear 4 houseparty 4 I thought that spending £60 was enough as there were units that were priced well over £100, but I thought that these were a little pricey and had a range of mixed reviews. This unit is now available for under £50 on Amazon.
Not only does the houseparty 4 play and charge your ipod it also has a radio, which you can preset with ten of your favourite stations. This speaker system is easy to use as you plug in your ipod and it plays automatically.
This is a small unit and it comes with a small remote control, the remote control easily navigates through the ipod menu's so you can pick any song, album or playlist you want to listen to.
When you are setting up the unit there are adapters that you put onto the systems, so that the unit can support a range of various pods.
Overall a good speaker system that works really well on low and high volume, I though that the sound would have been distorted when you had the unit on high volume, but I was wrong. The radio on the other hand is alright, but it is not a radio that you can use day in and day out as there is bad interference at times.
I also have an iphone as well as the ipod and when you are using it you need to make sure that your iphone is on aeroplane mode so that you do not get interference when you receive a phone call or text message. The only disadvantage is that you could miss an important call, whist your phone is on aeroplane mode.
This is a great small unit that is good value for money, but once my sound system finally dies, I will be investing in a new one with the capabilities of housing and charging my ipod as well as playing, CD's and the radio.
First off, what a great name 'Gear4's House Party 4.' It might sound like a film starring Martin Lawrence, but this is one mean little Ipod docking bay. By a docking bay, I mean an all encompassed speaker system that you plug the Ipod into.
I have had a few models of Ipod speakers in my time now and continue to vary between the different speakers depending on the occasion. We also have a few different Ipod speakers and bays in different rooms of the house. This one is designed for bedroom use or for parties, though I do not throw many house parties! The model will cost somewhere between forty and fifty pounds and can be bought from online stores and also from larger electrical retailers on the highstreet.
I was initially dubious about Gear4, but they had good write ups and so I took the plunge and tried them out. This model delivers 30 watts of music power, which is pretty darned powerful, more than you will ever need before having neighbours coming to bang on your doors.
It is very straight forward to use, I just take my Ipod, clip it onto the docking pouch at the front of the station and plug the system in at the mains. It boots up instantly and you are away. You can adjust the volume with the system itself or use the remote control that comes with the bay. The remote is dead handy for when you're lying on your bed and want to flick through. The remote allows for easy Ipod menu access and scrolling. Occasionally mine needs precise pointing to get it to search but this is the only pitfall with the remote.
The Ipod sits snugly and unless you run into the system, it won't be knocked out by a passing breeze or a cat. The design of the system is very sleek, minimal and ideal for sticking in a corner of a room, so it should blend in with most hi fi equipment.
The sound quality can be enhanced depending on where you put the docking bay. I put mine on a carpet, so the bass cuts through better. The bass on this is fine for bedroom use, without being overly boomy. Pleasing mid and hi end cut through with dynamic aplomb and the crispness of music can be heard with clarity from near and far away. If I could change anything I guess I would have a better range of lo end here.
There is not much to not like, the price is in line with other competitors, the look is smart and the sound is very good. Not the best sound on the market by a long shot, but if you want a mid priced Ipod speaker that goes quite loud and is reliable then this is worth considering.
As I had received an iPod Nano for my birthday this year (see my iPod Nano review on my profile page), I also received this gear4 Houseparty 4 dock/player from my brother as a gift. We usually struggle each year to buy each other presents for our respective birthdays (as we are men LOL!) but this was an easy gift for him as I had expressed a desire for both a dock and a iPod player for my flat that could work like a hi-fi. This combines both so it had an instant thumbs up from me before I even opened the packaging!!
So now to the actual review of the product. On receiving the gift, I immediately opened up the packaging and all the stuff, as expected, was all there - the product itself, all the product information, the iPod connector pieces for all the different types of iPod (Nano, Classic, iPhone etc), the remote control and all of the electrical leads for plugging it in. There is also a space in the back of the machine for batteries if that was the way you wanted to power it (it does, however, use those massive batteries so I can't imagine it being very cost effective to use them!)
It was fairly easy to install and once you have your iPod the way you like it with all your music on it, you just simply 'dock it' into your Houseparty 4 and away you go! You can control the iPod from its screen or by remote control. One minor drawback is that because you are so far away from the screen, it is very hard to control what music you want remotely unless you are choosing a pre-made playlist as you can't possibly see what your flicking through from the distance that you would be using a remote control from. However, the trick here would be to select some Houseparty 4 playlists and control them remotely......so much easier!!
The sound quality really is excellent. My brother had stated that he had gone into the stores to sample all the different players and that this was streets ahead of the competition. Once he had sampled this player, he said he went straight ahead and purchased it. You can also adjust the volume remotely using your handheld control which is a nice touch....if the phone rings or something in your flat it means you don't have to run over to the dock and manually turn it off. Bonus. The sound quality doesn't get compromised when you turn it up quite high, as is the case with some of the poorer quality machines.
Gear4 seem to a fairly reputable brand for iPod accessories. They have a wide range of stuff (I also have a gear4 leather Nano cover-case) and I would recommend their stuff to anyone. The quality of this piece is undeniable, and I think they have a really good niche in the market as most people look for an alternative to Apple for iPod and iPhone accessories due to their ridiculous prices (£34.99 for a pair of standard iPod earphones is pretty steep, for example) I am not sure of the price of this piece of equipment as it was a gift but I would say it retails in at well under £100. If this was an official Apple product it would £150ish. However, there would be no difference in quality in my opinion. This is a huge plus for gear4.
Overall, I would highly recommend this product. The only thing I could not give high marks for would be reliability as I have only owned the product for 4 months. Hopefully there will be no problems there in the future!!