CES 2009: Hi-fi mini-amp for iPods

Tangent's U.S. debut at the 2008 CEDIA Expo focused primarily on table radios, but at CES the company is bringing out the big guns: gorgeous high-end speakers and electronics designed to compete with some of the elite brands in audio. What I liked best, though, was its $299 Amp-30, a product designed expressly not to compete with the elite brands in audio.

The Amp-30 is a tiny integrated amplifier designed for use with iPods, iPhones, other MP3 players, and really anything with audio output jacks. It has but a single volume control on the front, RCA and 3.5mm input jacks on the back, outputs for stereo speakers, and a non-data USB jack for charging a portable audio player. The rated power output is 20 watts per channel, but a company representative assured me that "it's real ballsy."

In a colorful and inventive twist, Tangent does not supply an iPod dock. Instead, it includes an orange bean bag that holds your iPod upright.

Among other new (to the U.S.) items the company showed was the $279 Uno 2 Go, a stylish, retro portable radio that tunes AM and FM and is designed to deliver sound comparable to that of the Tangent Uno table radio.--Brent Butterworth