iHome iP1 isn't bad for an iPod dock, packs a Bongiovi punch

We're not what you'd call audiophiles -- we've stood dangerously close to a 128kb MP3 or two in our lives, and even tried internet radio once -- but we still seem to prefer things that "sound good." That cuts out most iPod docks on the market, which due to price, size and know-how constraints tend to do few favors for the low-bitrate music they usually serve up.

Enter the new iP1 dock from iHome, which kicks off a new "Studio Series" for the manufacturer, and features "Bongiovi Digital Power Station processing" to bump up the quality. Tony Bongiovi, audio engineer and cousin to Jon Bon Jovi, developed the DPS technology to improve sound in "compromised" environments like cars (it's currently used by JVC in car stereos), planes and low-quality speakers, and is specifically tuned for its output device. The upshot is that the iP1 brings volume and clarity to the low and high end of the audio, especially in older recordings that haven't already been compressed to high heaven, where details and oomph would be absent given the limited hardware. Sure, the result isn't an "accurate" picture of what was recorded -- you still need studio monitors to do that -- but it makes most things sound "good" without adding the ruination of many digital audio enhancement techniques, and we even picked up a couple details in a favorite song of ours that's received heavy rotation on our home system. It also had the unfortunate effect of turning a Bob Marley song into a bit of a banger (a "Could You Be Loved In The Club," if you will) but can thankfully can be deactivated at the press of a button.

The dock itself packs a 100 watt amp, two 4-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters. The included remote can handle custom EQ in addition to switching Bongiovi on and off, and there's also component video out and full iPhone support. It should be hitting stores in the middle of July for about $299.