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Move to the groove
As more and more MP3 players are in use all over the world, people would like to share their music with others. Instead of sharing earpieces of a headphone, or turning up the volume, you could use some external speakers. Creative have thought up just such a thing, the TravelDock 900. Granted it isnít an entirely new idea, I can remember back in the day walkman having external speakers too, but itís new to the digital arena. Letís explore the portable speaker set further and see how it performs.

The TravelDock 900 sports:

  • Power Output: 2 Watts RMS per channel.
  • Frequency Response: 150Hz ~20kHz.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): >80dB.
  • Playback duration: Up to 32 hours (at 10mW total output) with 4 AAA size alkaline batteries.
  • Weight: 9.11oz / 258g (without batteries).
  • 2-year limited hardware warranty.
The speaker box sports a clam shell design, to maximize protection of the speakers themselves or other damage. The hard plastic exterior provides excellent protection from any damage that might occur when you travel with it.

Thereís not much to the expansion; you have two small NeoTitanium micro drivers positioned in the upper part of the shell. In the lower part of the shell, the on and off button is surround by the volume increase and decrease buttons. You can see a lid in the middle that covers the audio jack connector for the MP3 players.

The backside of the clam houses some more connections, from left to right, an iPod shuffle connection, an auxiliary connector, a wide stereo effect switch and an external power supply adaptor connector.

Connectors

The power supply is not included in the box, probably because itís meant to be used on the road, and is sold separately. Strangely I would have expected some kind of car/airplane adaptor, but this is not included either.

To prevent scratches and other wear and tear of the speaker expansion, Creative has included a travel pouch. Itís a black velvet bag, into which you can slip your TravelDock in. You can see an image of the bag in the items list at the top of this page.

Click to enlarge To use it you need a MP3 player, in my case I used an older (read: larger) model, the Diamond Rio 500. This presented a small problem straight off the bat; the bulk of the player was blocking the left side of the speakers. I had to turn the player sideways to unblock the speaker, but this made the player kind of unstable or hinky, because it was out of balance.

Most people donít have such an old school player though, usually a more slick and slim player, which would fit better. As you can see the stereo jack from the TravelDock goes into the headphone socket on the player. This means that you can control the volume on both devices, on the player itself and on the TravelDock.

The TravelDock automatically turns off when you close the lid to save your batteries. On the back thereís a switch to enable the wide stereo effect, which truly does enhance the stereo effect. The small speakers produce clear and good quality sound once added with the wide effect, itís nice.

Also thereís an auxiliary connector on the back to connect CD or other MP3 players. Earlier I showed you the connector for an iPod shuffle as well; the iPod goes in that connector followed by connecting the special 'stereo to stereo' cable in the auxiliary connector to make it all work.