iPod Pit Stop

Fatman iTube ($650; www.fat-man.co.uk, distributed in the U.S. via bluebirdmusic.com). So it's the holidays, and you want to get something that will truly impress your iPod pal. Well, what could be more appropriate for that ultramodern device than a tube amplifier! According to Fatman, its iTube Valve Amp with Docking Station and Remote allows you to get that "richer, warmer, 'more analog-like'" sound from the gadget that "can sometimes sound cold, flat, and metallic" (brrrrr). You also get a cleaning brush and gloves - so you can keep your grimy hands off that retro-gizmo power supply.

Excalibur iBlaster Music System ($150; excaliburelectronics.net). Look, the CBS eye is breeding like rabbits! Those speakers also remind us of the TiVo logo - or maybe (here's an obscure reference) Huey and Dewey, the drones from the 1972 film Silent Running. Excalibur's 5.1 system (with a 5.25-inch powered woofer) will likely remind you that you can get big sound from a little iPod or other MP3 player. It's also available in CBS black eye.

Atech iCarta ($75; atechflash.com). Okay, let the jokes begin! But seriously ... if your iPod must go everywhere with you (even when you have to go), you might want to replace your bathroom-tissue holder with this stereo dock. Says Atech: "Now you can Enhance your Experience in any room." An AC adapter is provided (bathroom tissue is not), and the iCarta will charge your iPod while you're ... Experiencing. The unit has four speakers - two tweeters, two woofers - and all are, ahem, "moisture-free." (Geez, don't go there!)

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