Customer Reviews: ION Block Rocker Battery Powered Speaker System for iPod
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on December 21, 2009
As promising as this product sounds, based on our experience it will be short-lived. Here are some facts about the unit and Ion Audio's business practices (as of 21Dec09) that you should know BEFORE PURCHASING:
1. 90 Day Warranty - that's about how long it took for our product to systematically malfunction. Our teenagers and we used the unit less than 10 times and never outdoors. You might even say it was pampered. And yet, it won't hold a charge and now emits no sound at all (regardless of the input device; in our case an iPod(G4 Nano, G1 iPod, and/or G2 iPod Video), microphone, and electric bass guitar).
2. Battery - oddly enough, according to Ion's own technical support staff (whose contact information was very difficult to find) you can NEVER overcharge the battery or allow it to drain completely, else the battery CANNOT BE REVIVED! Honestly, who builds batteries like that anymore or incorporates them into consumer electronics? We can't think of a single appliance that we own that doesn't self regulate. Furthermore, what human is so fastidious as to ever be able to monitor battery life with such expertise? Honestly, unless the device came with a meter, one would never know how close to overcharging or undercharging he actually is. And yet, one slip up and the unit is toast? That's an old-fashioned technology at best.
3. Repairability - finally, if you're going to install a battery of this sort or any other component that is likely to fail within 90 days, design and manufacture the unit in a repairman-friendly fashion(eg. easy to access compartments and swappable components). This unit required 22 wood screws to be removed for diagnostic purposes alone and nearly everything inside was soldered. As for the speaker, forget about ever getting to it without destroying the cabinet. You'll have to dissassemble the entire unit.

Take our advice, stay away from this product until the company addresses these 3 basic issues. We still love the concept, but this product is poorly executed. (Note: As far as we can tell, the: (1) Ion Audio iPA03 Portable PA System, (2) Alesis Transactive Mobile/Portable PA System and (3) PYLE PCMX240I Battery Powered Portable PA System are identical and probably manufactured by the same company, so beware. A lemon by any other name is still a lemon.)


D & H Shelley

PS: If Ion Audio LLC ever wants to contact us and make things right, we'll gladly retract this complaint...and may even consider starting a fan club instead. Until then, it's just a great idea, poorly executed, and frustrating to the consumer.
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on October 27, 2007
I was looking for a portable speaker to drive my iPod loud enough to be heard in an open hangar.
I read a review of the iPA03 in the 9/15/07 Seattle Times and it looked like this would work. I searched on line and found it listed at Best Buy. I was hoping to try it, and pick it up and go. But it had been listed out of stock for some time with no idea when they could get it.
I tried Amazon and immediately found it in stock and ordered. It arrived within 2 days and also delivered more then I expected.
* It was cheaper then at Best Buy.
* It provides a rich full sound for the iPod. I also tried a portable CD played in the RCA plugs and it sounds great.
* It also charges the iPod when it powered by AC. (it also runs on a self container battery.)
* The karaoke function is and added bonus that's a lot of fun to play with. Just que up the song and back down the volume on the iPod input crank up your volume and you are singing with the stars.
* It's fairly solid, over 40 lbs on wheels with an airport styled wheelies toater pop up handle.
* It also has a plug in to use as a guitar amp.
* The mike could be used as a PA for meetings, playing harmonica with the music or an anywhere speaker system.

On the needs improvement side the white case is almost too nice looking.
I don't know how long I can keep it looking that way in our hangar. I wish it also came in black. It wouldn't show the dirt.
The directions/instructions are worthless.
I saved the review from the Seattle Times 9/15/07 and it was more helpful exploring all the things this unit does.

Overall, I highly recommend this item. It does so many things, and does them well.
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on May 25, 2008
Overall, I'm super happy with this PA. It's really loud and the sound quality is great. I would totally recommend it. That said... I'll list of few minorcomplaints/wish list items.

#1--The side handles are almost not strong enough to support the weight of the system. Even though I carry it carefully, I can see the metal bracket bend from the weight.

#2--I wish there were a cover for the ipod dock. I worry that dust will go in that open plug.. iII'v taken to keeping a piece of duct tape covering it.

#3--The best thing about this system is that it doesn't need a power outlet nor generator. But unfortunately, I use it in conjunction with a wireless headset mic, which requires a tiny bit of power. I wish there were a way I could suck a bit of power from it to plug in my mic receiver. I've instead had to buy a rechargeable power brick for the mic. (Black & Decker rechargeable power brick, works great)

#4--I actually don't dock my ipod in the convenient ipod dock, as when I dock it there, it renders the ipod remote non-functional. Instead I lay my ipod on top and use RCA cable to plug it in to the system.
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on January 28, 2008
I am using this item as a PA system for wedding ceremonies and it had been ideal. I own a DJ service and many times I am asked to provide music for the ceremony and reception. This is perfect for ceremony and rehearsals without having to set up a complete outfit. It ran on a charge at medium volume(master and ipod vol)for nearly 48 hours. Good value
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on April 20, 2012
I've seen quite a few complains about this item with regard to the battery life. I'm going to write this review for those customers in particular.

#1 Any product that uses a battery for some function WILL have a battery failure at some point.
#2 Do not store this product in extreme temperatures to ensure longer battery life. (Dont leave it in your garage in the winter)
#3 Drain the unit down in power before recharging, this will help with maintaining the life of the battery as well.

***If you have a battery failure, you can EASILY find replacements on amazon.**

Replacements are cheap!!!

Replacements are easy to install! 4 screws on the opposite side from the power switch will remove a cover where the battery is housed. You merely need to take out the battery and disconnect the leads.

Here is the replacement battery I purchased for $9!!! Ended up being $15 shipped!! Way cheap considering how much I've spent on this product.
UB1250 Universal Sealed Lead Acid Battery, 12 Volts, 5 Ah

Battery replacement stats for this model are:
UB or RT1250, 12V 5Ah Universal Battery
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on May 18, 2009
I am extremely dissapointed at this item and surprised to see it still being purchased. I have had it for approx. 1 year and the battery will not charge anymore. I was told by the manufacturer to send it in to a local repair shop at my own expense. I called the local repair shop and was told I may end up paying more for repair charges than the original cost of the item.
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on April 8, 2011
I used one of these 3 years ago. I thought it was great back then but I couldn't afford it ($350 or so back then). I teach Zumba in many public venues, do fund raisers, participate in demos/latin festivals etc and the sound quality is amazing!!!!

The moment I took it out of the box I wanted to see if I could stream Pandora through my iPhone and viola! YES! Party on the back deck at our house!

I feel like they redesigned this system. The power supply used to plug in in the back and now it's on the side. You can choose to charge your iPod while it's on the dock, or not. You can control the volume of your mic independently of the IPod or use the master volume to turn everything down simultaneously. Also, I think the entire unit is smaller than I remember...more compact, lighter.

The only thing I can think that's missing is a remote control so you don't have to leave your spot and run over to the system to adjust, fast forward, pause...whatever. Maybe that's the next step.

I've recommended this to 75 other Zumba instructors!
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on October 24, 2010
Alesis TransActive Mobile & ION Block Rocker virtually identical @ an excellent price:

In case you have done some research and also happened to stumble on the ION Block Rocker while contrasting with the Alesis TransActive Mobile, you need not do too much comparison if you have all information available for these two units before realizing that they are both built on virtually the same housing chassis and contain virtually all of the same internal electronics and feature capabilities. As a matter of fact, they are also built at the same manufacturing plant in Cumberland, RI. Whether or not ION is some sort of subsidiary of Alesis or shares some common denominators with them on a corporate level, or if, simply, some of their gear happens to be made at the same plant, I do not know, but I do have both of these units and can tell you that they are both excellent for their intended purposes, especially for the purchase price. The Alesis can be purchased at 200.00 including shipping, and the ION for 170.00, also including shipping...both through Amazon. Considering they are both pretty much the same unit, obviously the ION is a slightly better value.

Both have a very good sound on the high and midrange levels for a PA of their size, and a somewhat limited bass due to the diaphragm size of the conventional push-pull woofer driver. Both are easy to use from a standpoint of feature accessibilities, with gain controls and line and mic inputs all on the front panel, as well as a 1/4" instrument jack and separate volume controls for each input.

Minor differences: the Alesis has the on/off, power chord outlet, stereo quarter inch speaker output for accommodating a second passive speaker for stereo sound, IPod charge switch and battery level meters on a top rear panel while the ION has them on the right side. Aside from the color differences (Alesis is black while the ION is white), other minor differences are that the ION has recessed side handles while the Alesis has metal retracting handles which, given the weight of the unit, does feel like it is under some stress while lifting. The telescoping tote-handle and rubberized castors for rolling these units are both pretty much identical. Both are good features and well-manufactured in order to make transport on smooth surfaces more manageable.

The microphones and mic chords are also identical, and are good quality considering they are included accessories. One last difference is that the Alesis also includes a quarter inch to XLR audio chord in addition to the AC power and mic chords, while the ION just includes the power and mic chords.

Considering these units were priced out with an MSRP of 400.00 - 600.00 each, they are definitely worth every penny for a portable PA with power to size output, good sound, ease of use, and additional features, especially the IPod doc. I am speculating that after observing and utilizing both of these units first hand, the only reason the ION has a lower MSRP is that it was manufactured to be a more cost-effective line in comparison the well-known and long-established Alesis brand, even though it couldn't cost any less to manufacture the ION.
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on August 28, 2010
We bought the Ion Block Rocker in June 2009 to play music from an iPod as we sat outside on our patio. We used it 3 times last summer, storing it inside in our home between uses. I pulled it out and charged it up overnight to used today (08-2010) and nothing... It works when plugged into 110, but it will not run on battery. I get a few pops and hisses. If I plug it into the wall, it works fine. In reading the Ion website, it does discuss the lead-acid battery, and it does say that if you do not use the battery for six months, it may not work again! That appears to be my circumstance. Sooo.. if you want a high maintenance/finicky product, this is the unit. If you use it every week, it may last a long time. If, as in my case, you use it seasonally, and it sits for a length of time... be aware of the consequences!!! So, I am out looking for other option to replace this lead-acisd battery door stop.
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on February 22, 2009
I bought this system new through Amazon in November 2008 and now the battery won't hold it's charge, so its no longer portable. I loved it while it worked, though... Great sound, and perfect for parties. Unfortunately, Amazon says its no longer eligible for return so I will have to call Ion and see what they can do for me.
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