While you might be tempted to think the Wall of Sound is one of the biggest music player docks you've ever seen, it doesn't quite live up to the huge proportional potential of the iTree iPhone and iPod docking station from Austrian design house KMKG STUDIO. The dock is carved from a simple tree trunk, its rear-mounted speakers are pointed towards a wall to reflect the audio and the wood serves to resonate the sound in a similar fashion to a piano or violin.
We've seen numerous variations on the iPod dock theme grace the pages of Gizmag over the years - from the arty to the iconic to the, frankly, odd. Now it's the turn of nature to nudge her way into the arena with an expertly hollowed out tree trunk featuring mounted high-end speakers, that's said to result in optimum sound quality.
Designed and built in cooperation with speaker manufacturer Trenner & Friedl, iTree's audio technology has a frequency response of 45Hz to 40kHz, 4 Ohm impedance and a sensitivity of 88dB (2.83 V/m). The speakers are hidden from view at the rear of the unit, pointing towards a wall that's used as a reflector - which is said to offer the listener a "voluminous yet defined acoustic spatial experience."
Buyers can currently choose from either cherry, poplar or spruce (but the designers also say that they are open to customers supplying their own tree trunk), and can determine the size of the trunk to be used and even what technology is included. Carpenters in the Steirische Vulkanland region of southern Austria are employed to shape, hollow out and lovingly finish the trunk casing by hand.
In addition to docking an iDevice, the iTree is also compatible with wireless LAN streaming technology by ARCAM and/or CD player input - it can even be custom-fitted with a vinyl turntable.
Each iTree is a unique creation, and as such carries a starting price of EUR 11,000 (US$14,982) - extra options include making the device compatible with Apple's AirPlay wireless streaming technology, and a special version for the iPad.