With the popularity of the iPod, the market is awash with products to help you hook these puppies up to your car or home-entertainment center so that your iPod music collection can get maximum use. Not a bad idea, and the iPort FS-2 shows that good ideas can also deliver on quality.
The FS-2 features a docking port that accepts all sizes of iPods, including the Nano with built-in adapter; equipped with a pre-amp, the cradle also has a cable connection that can hook directly via USB to your PC or Mac for either listening to your iPod through your PC speakers or synching up to iTunes for seamless music downloads. This twoheaded cable can also connect to a BCB (Basic Connection Box, included with the FS-2) which in turn has outputs for S-video or composite-video connection to your AVR via interconnects and audio outputs (also via interconnects).
I ran the FS-2 through a Pioneer AVR in our audio lab, with the AVR set to analog bypass mode so I’d hear the FS-2 without any additional digital conversions. Thee sonic results through my cradled Nano were amazing. On “Vitamin C” from Can’s Ege Bamyasi [Mute U.S.], the center-channel-like sound was so present in the soundstage that I had to get up from my chair to make sure I hadn’t accidentally activated a surround effect. I hadn’t expected that kind of presence from an iPod source. Ry Cooder’s “Muy Fifi” from Chavez Ravine [Nonesuch] showed off my Nano’s flexibility to handle percussion, voice, and bass with excellent separation. Not surprisingly, the heavy bass parts on all of my music suffered a bit in reproduction, but not unpleasantly so for most cuts.
The iPort FS-2’s USB connection and interface with iTunes were also glitchless. I was able to play my Nano’s music via my Mac and download through iTunes with ease. In all of these cases, I used my Nano’s screen to navigate. The FS-2 doesn’t come with remote, but one is available as an option, and it would be the preferable way to go. All in all, the iPort acquitted itself admirably well and represents an easy way to make the iPod a part of your home-entertainment system. TPV