When I first hooked up the iLive IT319B 3.1 Channel Home Music System, plugged in my iPod and turned up the volume a bit, I was literally floored at how LOUD it was! Event at 1/3 volume (does it go up to 11?) it was shaking the room with thunderous bass and crisp and clean highs. Turning it up a bit more to almost painful volumes produced barely any distortion (that I could measure with my untrained ear), yet still had more power ready to throw out into the environment. Instantly, my kitchen table (where I do many video product reviews and testing) became a disco as my kids rushed in from their rooms to find out where the party was.
Seriously though, I have tested a variety of iPod sound systems, most of them the shelf top type, and the iLive was probably the loudest and most powerful one of them all. And it’s not just a speaker for an iPod. It has a built-in DVD play and many connectivity options to make it potentially your primary speaker system (plus DVD player) for any home entertainment system.
Highlights of Features
While I only tested the IT319B for a few hours and did not run it through all of the options under the hood, I did perform a fairly close inspection and some rudimentary iPod connectivity tests. Some highlights of its capabilities that I found important are:
- Motorized iPod dock that plays and charges your iPod
- HDMI DVD player that is capable of upconverting to 1080p
- A booming built-in subwoofer built into the 3.1 channel setup
- AM/FM radio with digital tuning
- Wall mountable
- Multiple inputs/outputs including
- HDMI OUT
- RCA stereo & Video IN
- Component OUT
- S-Video OUT
- Video OUT
- Subwoofer OUT
I briefly go over some of these features in the video below:
Comments after Testing
I must admit, I did not fully test the IT319B with all of it’s capabilities. I had wanted to connect a Pico projector to see if I could set up a nice (heavy – it weighs 35 pounds) but somewhat portable & mobile entertainment system using an iPod, the Pico projector and the iLive speaker system but unfortunately did not have time to do so. Probably with the proper cables and/or using the internal DVD player, I could have created quite a nice indoor/outdoor (good weather only and at night with no moon) mobile A/V system.
Regardless, I did give the iLive a good sturdy test using simple music playback from an iPod source. I particularly liked the motorized iPod drawer that docks back into the system when not in use. You have the ability to connect a variety of video and audio sources like a game console or other playback device like a camcorder. There really is no need to connect a portable DVD player since there is a nice DVD player built right in. The internal DVD player is compatible with the following formats: DVD, DVD±R/RW, CD, CD-R/RW and JPEG.
Another nice thing is that the IT319B is wall mountable which makes it a great option in conjunction with an HD flatscreen TV. Essentially, with minimal wall space (the dimensions of the IT319B are 10″ x 7.99″ x 35.50″), you can have a full rich, immersive sound experience, all elegantly displayed on your wall (you just have to hide some cables of course). And if you use the built in equalizer settings and SRS TruSurround XT sound, you get almost a 5.1 surround sound experience without having speakers mounted around your room (the way I do).
In my testing, I did have a few things that bothered me a bit about the IT319B, specifically:
- No HD radio tuner – It would have been nice to compliment the digital sound qualities of the system, stations with static really don’t make any speakers sound good.
- Scrolling through iTunes – I’m not sure if the batteries in the remote were old but I would have liked to have had a page up/down or the ability to hold the up/down arrows to scroll though the iPod music lists. As it exists currently, I had to click the up/down buttons repeatedly to move through songs, artists, albums, etc.
- iPod video playback – In order to play back video from an iPod, you are required to use component out or S-video connector, no composite or HDMI out.
- Cryptic Product name – Even after writing this review, I had to look up the name to remember it!
Note: I did not test the HDMI out nor the DVD player so cannot comment on how well the upsampling/upconverting worked, nor DVD playback.
Pricing and Related Products
The IT319B retails for $199.99 and even includes the wall mounting kit. Note, there does appear to be the same device but under a different name (called the “GPX 3.1-Channel Home Music System with Dock for iPod“) on Amazon which retails currently for $188.19. I’m not sure if this is exactly the same device or not though but it does look similar with the same features.
There is a slightly less expensive version (the IT188B) that does not have the DVD player nor an HDMI out which retails for $99. (Note: I didn’t test the IT188B so I don’t know if it has the same music strength as the IT319B does.) Also, the IT188b is a 2.1 channel speaker system. You can find this on Amazon currently for $71.86.
There is also another version of the 3.1 channel bar released where the iPod doc is on the side called the IT209B but it too doesn’t have the upconverting DVD nor the HDMI output (but DOES have a DVD player) and it goes for about $150.
Overall, I was honestly impressed with this speaker system. It is very solid (and quite heavy – 35 lbs – due to its strong construction), the black metallic look gives the impression of modernity, and the sound quality is superior to many similarly priced speaker systems I have tested. Did I say yet that you can really CRANK this thing up? I’m thinking that if this was in a dorm room, all of the parties would be there! And it won’t break your budget either. It’s great for students or people interested in setting up an inexpensive secondary entertainment environment without compromising sound quality. And it feels built to last.
Disclosure Text : I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein. More information can be found in my About page as well as here. I received this product for review purposes only and it has been subsequently returned.
HTD says: The iLive IT319B really moves some sound waves and does it without distortion or crushing your budget! It will crush your ears though!