One for the Road...and Home

You gotta love Blaupunkt's mettle for coming out with a portable active speaker system that can shuttle between the car, the home and the street. It's a clever engineering feat, but you'll need a lot of muscle to lug it around.

Dubbed Velocity 2Go, the mobile speaker system comes in two versions differentiated by driver size (5 1/4-inch woofers and 3/4-inch tweeters for the $399 Model 5 and 6 1/2-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters for the $449 Model 6). They weigh in at 11 and 15 1/2 pounds, respectively, which is probably about 10-15 pounds heavier than most MP3 player owners are willing to schlep from the car to the house.

This boom box for the 2000's has no radio tuner or CD player--just a 3.5mm jack on top and audio inputs in back to accept the stereo output from an MP3 player or another stereo device. That's MP3 player generic-style which means there's no customized docking station to power the iPod or your player of choice.

In the car,  Velocity 2Go acts as a subwoofer only and is powered by the car's battery. At home it gets juice via a power brick that adds more bulk to the package. The optional QuickOut Dock ($119) for the car provides an instant connection and switches the unit to sub-only mode.

Power output is 40 watts per channel RMS via AC or 12V power. Go into portable mode using 8 rechargeable AA batteries and you're downsized to 15 watts a side and 1 1/2 hours of listening.

As a playback system, Velocity 2Go produces very impressive sound when connected to an AC outlet. It rivaled my dedicated iPod playback system. I didn't like the space it took up on the shelf, though--or the look of a boom box in my apartment. Velocity's weight and size--more than 15 x 4 x 8 inches for the Model 5 and 19 x 8 x 9 inches for the Model 6--require heavy lifting and that's not something you want in a portable device.

Do we really need a music system that works in the car and at home? Probably not--especially in the age of designer electronics. Velocity 2Go sounds great, but it's tough to live in two places.--Rebecca Day