Klipsch iGroove HG Setup and Using the System
This year Klipsch celebrates its 60th anniversary. They have built a company that caters to a specific customer, and they gear their products towards this customer rather than worrying about what trend might be hot in the marketplace. The release of iGroove HG follows this philosophy. They did not rush an iPod product to market, but instead took time to develop a quality digital music player-driven speaker system that would appeal to the Klipsch fan base – a true two-way design utilizing woofers, crossovers and horn-loaded tweeters. The result is a slick little shelf system with the widest frequency response of any all-in-one system of its kind on the market today.
My review actually began months ago in the Apple Store, where I listened to several shelf systems designed for iPods. There were units from Bose and JBL set up on either side of the iGroove HG. I cued up the same song on all three products and began my own little shoot-out right there in the store. The iGroove HG was a clearly superior product, but it fell into the same price range as the others. It was then I decided I needed to get one home to listen to in an “everyday life” setting. If you have ever been into an Apple Store, you know how loud and busy they are. If this thing sounded this good in a noisy retail environment, imagine what it would sound like in my office!
Set Up & Build Quality
Unpacking the iGroove HG, I was immediately struck by how simple the product was. In the box you will find the main unit, a remote, power cord, and adaptors for different iPod models, as well as a universal J-cup adaptor. Set-up is as easy as choosing the proper iPod adaptor, inserting the iPod, and then plugging the unit into the wall.
This product looks fantastic. It has lines like a Porsche – killer design with plenty of curves. The unit is a deep glossy black – it almost looks wet, like a great wax job on a sports car. This is not something you want to hide from view – it begs to be put front and center on your shelf. People will want to touch it.
The rear of the unit is very clean. There is a small handle built into the rear of the unit, a connection for the DC-in cord, and a very small port. The substantial metal grille will not dent or ding easily. The weight of the unit combined with three wide rubber feet keep it very stable. It feels rock solid. The overall result is a very high build quality.
Using the System – Controls
Hit the power button on the iGroove HG, and then hit play on your iPod or the included remote, then adjust the volume. That’s it. It is that simple. This is a true plug-and-play product, ready to go straight out of the box. Which is exactly how a product in this category should be. The only buttons on the iGroove HG are the power and volume buttons. The power button glows red when off, green when on. At first, the system did not seem to remember the volume setting last used after powering off. Each time I turned it on, the volume returned to a default level. After speaking with Klipsch, we found that the unit does remember the volume setting last used in certain circumstances. The volume level is split into three ranges: low, medium and high. If the unit is anywhere in the middle range when turned off, it will remain at that exact level when turned back on. If the unit is anywhere in the low or high levels, the extremes, it will default to the middle range when turned on. As much as I love the simple, uncluttered design, I would like to have seen a MUTE button on both the remote and the front of the unit.
The remote is odd shaped, very small and lightweight. I would not mind the shape of the remote if it were oriented differently. It would be easier to grip if were turned around, with the wide end in your hand and the narrow end pointing towards the unit. The remote is not backlit. There are only 6 buttons: power, play/pause, volume up, volume down, track forward, track back.
Another complaint I have with the remote is that it is very limited in its ability to control the functions of the iPod. For example, when you press the power button on the remote it turns on the unit. You can then press the play/pause button and it will begin to play the first song on your iPod. Next you can use the track forward or track back button to move through songs. But you cannot, without walking over to the unit and using the controls on your iPod, navigate through your playlists, or search for a certain song by album, title or artist. My suspicion was that this functionality would add a significant cost to the unit.
I spoke with Klipsch by phone, and they confirmed that this was the case, and they opted to keep the price down by not including this functionality. For many users this will be a secondary system – for an office, bedroom, kitchen, etc. In these scenarios, you probably will not use the remote much anyway.
Although the system is clearly designed for the Apple’s iPods, it is important to note that Klipsch has provided a universal adaptor so that you can connect any source via the included J-cup and mini-plug. The adaptor slides into the unit in place of the iPod adaptors and has a short cord with a mini-plug. It is very functional and keeps the sleek look of the iGroove HG intact. Klipsch pointed out to me that most products in this category are built exclusively for the iPod, but the J-cup adaptor sets the iGroove HG apart, making it a truly universal product. And I agree that this adds flexibility that many similar products do not have. It allowed my wife to connect her iPod shuffle (which is NOT a docking iPod) to the system.