June 9, 2005

Cold Playback: One Dad's Delivery Room Portable Audio Solution

tivoli_ipal.jpgSure, you could make your delivery room playlist together, but I pity the fool who's rocking, oblivious in his white iPod headphones while someone is screaming at him, justifiably incensed, begging for some ice chips.

No, the delivery room is a time to share in the miracle--the iPod miracle, by hooking the iPod up to some external speakers somewhere. DT reader Michael shares his L&D audio setup in his comment on the "Paltrow/Martin delivery room playlist" post:

I can also say that the Tivoli Audio iPAL I picked up to go along with us to the L&D room performed amirably. After testing out all the different external speaker options at the local Apple Store, the iPAL offered the best mix of sound quality, portability, and price. I've always wanted a Tivoli Audio system, and after my experience with the iPAL, I will definitely purchase a more extensive Tivoli system.
One benefit Michael doesn't mention: the battery. In our L&D, we were told we weren't allowed to plug anything in (I'd imagined we'd just run iTunes off the laptop, but on our tour, they said the hospital'd have to pre-approve any radio or hairdryer we wanted to plug in, and that laptops usually didn't make the cut. [I know, go figure.] Well, we plugged it in anyway, just to charge it, and no one noticed or cared, but just to be safe, a battery-powered option is probably best.

Check out the compact retro sweetness of the Tivoli iPal at Amazon, where it's $129 [amazon]


My wife will be delivering in days and our delivery room audio setup is a little low-tech. I am reusing our setup with our first kidlette: the Sony Discman which is MP3 compatible and some early 90's portable speakers to play a MP# only CD with such classics as:
Ray Lynch "Cosmic Sodapop"
Enya "Orinoco Flow"

and other New Age/relaxation music to create a peaceful and serene audio landscape as my wife strains, scrunches and spits out our bundle of joy. What would be cool would to play the 1812 Overture and have her push in cadence with the music. DA-NANANA

I HAD wanted to get a new MP3 player for this event... a legit way of replacing the piece O'crap player that I have now that only holds (gasps)64 MB.

Oops, I should have gone into more detail about the battery...the iPAL has a rechargable, replaceable, NiMH battery. I thought I was covering that with my "portability" comment. The Bose SoundDock ($300) and the JBL On Stage ($160) are nice units, but they run only on AC power. JBL's On Tour ($100) runs on AA batteries, which gave me pause when considering we might be in the L&D room for some time. I'm sure there are other good units out there, but I was only comparing what was in stock at the local Apple Store.

I also opted for the Tivoli carry bag for the iPAL ($30), which has two side pockets, one designed to hold an iPod, but unfortunately without giving access to the controls. The iPAL connects to the iPod with a standard stereo mini-plug, so it's also compatible with my iPod shuffle, iBook, and anything else I want to plug in.

I went to the hospital with the iPAL fully charged, and I didn't have to plug it in during the three days we stayed (though not playing continuously). I didn't, however, make sure the iPod was charged, so I ended up plugging my iBook into the wall, then the iPod into the iBook via a PocketDock and FireWire cable to charge it, since I of course did not bring the iPod charger. No one in the hospital complained about plugging things in (Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia), and in fact, we were encouraged to bring a radio of some sort in our birthing class.

I did put the laptop away before the action started, by which time the iPod was charged enough to last through the night, and into much of the next day.

The doctors and nurses all commented on how nice it was to work with the music playing. Of course, our choice in music probably had a lot to do with that--I imagine that if we had chosen an aggressive playlist, the staff would have been less thrilled!

One last thing...the tuner of the Tivoli Audio radios is really quite good. Even with the antenna collapsed, it gets better reception than my Sony receiver at home.

Geez, we just used the boombox provided by the Birth Center--they supplied a drawerful of CDs too.

Hubby chose the music, as I was 9cm when we got there and was in no mood to mull over my music options. He picked a Hildegard Von Bingen CD from the box o' relaxation goodies that we had thrown together just a few short hourts before getting in the car.

Tivoli makes some cool stuff. I had the laptop out during my wife's delivery for music, and to make little notes as things happened to keep things clear in my memories. The taking notes thing ended after about 12 hours with several more to go...

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