The Alto iPA is a PA speaker that works with an iPad to provide an awesome karaoke experience. The iPA speaker/dock/karaoke machine is available from Alto for $299.99. Let’s see if this is the speaker to sing on.
Alto advertises the speaker as being a portable speaker. Since it has a handle, it technically is portable. But then again, the original iMac had a handle too and nobody carried that around. It isn’t the lightest speaker either, weighing in at 23 pounds. However, this is not bad at all. First, consider that you probably won’t move it a whole bunch and even if you do, it’s capabilities make up for that weight. It will fit in any normal sized cars so you DJs out there that will take it to and from “work” won’t have much of an issue. Looking at it closely, you can tell that it is in great shape and that it was made well. The part that holds the iPad in and charges it is well made and not made of cheap plastic. The speaker itself is made out of good, hard-cased but well-made material that provides great acoustics for the speaker. The microphone doesn’t appear to be the best made microphone but it isn’t terrible. It isn’t as well made as the speaker itself but it does the job. The front of the speaker is a grill that protects the internals that emits the sound, just like any other speaker. On that at the bottom is the logo for the product which is simple but professional. The ports are located at the back with the iPad dock above that. Even the port area is well made and I wouldn’t predict that the ports will bend or break ever. In all, aesthetically it is a bit bulky but it holds a lot of power and it still looks solid and professional.
The speakers are very, very loud. I don’t even have it a quarter the way up and I already am fearing that the neighbors will call the police for disturbing the peace. Therefore, while full volume won’t be acceptable in the house, it will be acceptable for a large-sized place. This speaker would still be heard by people in the back of a very crowded, very loud place. In fact, the power if the sound the speaker emits could probably allow people to hear the music clearly a half mile away if put on full blast. That may be exaggerating a little bit, but it is very very loud. Because it can get loud, it can get soft too. If you need it as a PA to announce to a few people than it is still great. The sound sounds as great whether it is down low or up high. There are two volume controls. One for sound coming from the dock and one for sound coming from the microphone. This is great since if people want to be louder than the music, they can or they can make the music louder than them so they don’t have to hear the voice that everyone but them thinks is great. In addition, you can add plug in an additional speaker into the speaker so that you can share the sound with two speakers. Again, the microphone is not the greatest but it does the job and the speaker works with all microphones. The possibilities of this speaker are endless. Give a presentation behind the speaker with the iPad there so that you can read off of the notes on it. Or you can sing from behind the speaker. Or you can just talk out of the speaker. The speaker’s added iPad feature is wonderful. The only thing that I wish the speaker came with was a stand for it. You have to buy it. Therefore, if you don’t buy it, you can stick it on a stand you already own, if it fits or you just put it on a table or on the floor. The stand, I think, should be included. All in all, it is a great PA/karaoke system.
-Sound can get very loud or soft
-The sound sounds great!
-No interference from the mic, no audible static or annoying sounds
-iPad compatible, use of many different karaoke apps (YouTube still is one of the better ways of getting karaoke)
-Not the best microphone
-No stand, sold separately
Ways to improve
The only way to improve is to add a stand to the purchase even if they need to increase the price a bit more. After all, people did just spend over $300 for a speaker. If production costs don’t allow for it, that I can understand. It is really up to the company if they wanted to do this but I think they would see more sales if they did.
This speaker is a powerful one, perhaps one of the most powerful consumer PAs on the market. It is loud and it is durable. It may be heavy but that little extra exercise carrying it from your DJ-mobile is all worth it. Despite the lack of a stand, the speaker easily gets 5 stars from me!
Thanks for reading,
Images Courtesy: Alto