November 8, 2013

Rockler Koostik Kit - Review

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Couple weeks ago, we mentioned the Rockler Koostik kit. It looked like a cool little diy project for just about anyone. Rocker was kind enough to send us one to check out so we took a little time from the schedule and assembled it and this is what we think.

The Koostik is an amplification system for the iPhone made entirely out of wood. It channels the sound through these two ear canal looking tunnels and into two bowl shaped areas where it is sent out into the room. The concept is great and we're big fans of anything that we don't have to plug in (we're loyal Chemex coffee brewers). There are enough cords in our life and if we can remove one and, better yet, replace it with something made out of wood, well...sign us up.

The kit comes as two pieces; the faceplate and the body. Assembly basically just means gluing these together. From there, it's up to you. We're down with the Shaker aesthetic, so we did the standard assembly (beveling the edges back), but there's no reason you couldn't go bonkers with router bits and add all kinds of profiles to the edges.

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Putting the basic kit together is really easy, but we like the fact that if you have some woodworking experience under your belt, you can take it a little further and add some flourish. To recreate the standard Koostik (like we did), you really need at least a table saw and it's best if you have a miter saw too (beveling the side edges would be pretty difficult without these tools). But if you'd be happy with square edges then you really only need some sandpaper, glue and a couple heavy books to use for clamping. Oh, and whatever finish you want too.

We chose Waterlox as our finish because we have some left over from our floor refinishing. It's a nice look and we have no complaints on how the project turned out. At first, we were wishing that Rocker included at least one scrap piece of cherry so we could experiment with a couple different finishes, but then we realized that in cutting the side bevels, we'd have some pieces left over for that.

As for the Koostik itself, the fidelity is just OK. It's not fantastic and it's pretty tinny. It basically just amplifies the onboard speakers of the iPhone, so it takes those characteristics and just makes them louder. This isn't a set of speakers that you can use for serious music appreciation. But for us, it's a nice little thing to have on the desk while we write. The tinny sounds actually compliments old scratchy blues recordings pretty nicely, but we're going to stay away from Beethoven's 9th.

The Koostick Kit is about $45, compared to almost $100 for the pre-assembled version. $100 is a lot to pay for these speakers, given the fidelity. But if you know what you're going to get as far as sound quality (so-so) and if you're willing to invest an hour or two into putting the thing together, getting the un-assembled version is a great bargain.

So we think that this would make a nice xmas gift for any level of woodworker. It's a very basic project, but like we said, you can take it as far as you want. Just don't expect these speakers to replace your Bose.

At Rocker

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 8, 2013 8:02 AM

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