Your iPOD is a fantastic device. It' is a true wonder of technology that lets you carry a whole music collection around in something not much bigger than a pack of gum. In the past it would have taken a suitcase full of CDs to give you the same music. It doesn't stop there either. With an iPOD, access is instantaneous to any track you want, and finding them is a breeze, thanks to Apple's always ingenious UI.
That's why Apple's iPOD is one of the fastest selling consumer electronics products in history. For all its wonder, there is a downside, however. To listen to your music, you're limited to those little earbud style headphones. While they sound okay given their form factor, the reality is that the sound quality out of those things really leaves something to be desired.
It's not a problem when you're on the go, or sitting in your office, but really, do you want to be limited to only listening to your music that way? Most people answer “no” to that question. Thos little headphones aren't much fun at parties, either. You'll typically want everyone to be able to enjoy the music together, maybe even dance to it.
The need to fill a house or apartment with music has given rise to a myriad of docking solutions. A dock is basically a little cradle that you drop your iPOD into that expands its' functionality. The dock will add audio outputs to either speakers or a stereo system, and charge the iPOD while it's in the cradle. Some even have video outputs for watching video content stored on the iPOD and putting a user interface onto your TV. This is nice so you aren't bending over and squinting at the small iPOD display when you're trying to choose a song or playlist.
The docks basically fall into two categories; docks for connecting an iPOD to a home stereo system, or docks with integrated speakers. If you've got a really nice home audio system the ability to connect your iPOD to it is about as good as it gets. If you go this route you'll want to start encoding or buying your music at higher bitrates to improve the sound quality. While 128MB/S isn't bad for listening on earbuds, it leaves a lot to be desired if you have real speakers.
If you go the docking station with integrated mini speakers route you'll still get the ability to listen to your music throughout the room, and share it with your friends when entertaining. As their name implies however mini speakers are not too large, so most have mediocre bass response at best. This lack of low end response points to the need to add a powered subwoofer to give some sort of low frequency response.
If you have an integrated speaker solution with detachable speakers from one of the better companies, you can get a sub with speaker level inputs. You then simply run the speaker wires from the docking station to the sub and from the subwoofers speaker outputs back to your iPOD mini speakers. You'll get 2 main advantages:
1) Much improved bass response
2) If you run the speaker wires through the sub's speaker level crossover, you'll filter out the bass from the signals going to the mini speakers. Since they can't really make any bass anyway, and sound bad trying, it makes them sound better.
Those are some quick ways to make your iPOD sound better; get some mini speakers, then add a powered subwoofer. Your ears will thank you.