Docks for all

June 11, 2010 09:09 pm | Updated 09:15 pm IST

IF you own an ipod, your choice ofdocks is wide and varied, but other MP3 players and music phones aren?t left in the cold, although they may not dock quite so elegantly. Whether by line in or Bluetooth connection, these docks all provide a service to other music players. And they all work with iPods too, needless to say?

VITA AUDIO R2I

Best for? Sound Quality

The original Vita Audio R2 had masterful sound quality and the new R2i boasts the same well- balanced, 20W output with the added bonus of an iPod dock. It's not iPhone certified, though. 3D sound processing technology buffs lower quality MP3s to a glossy shine and gold-plated inputs at the back allow tunes from non-Apple MP3 players to enjoy the Vita Audio treatment too. The R2i also supports DAB+, ensuring you're future-proofed for the next generation of digital radio channels. The sound is the most engaging on test. Look up www.vitaaudio.com

LOVE Stunning sound and future-proof DAB+

HATE Not iPhone certified. No DAB+ broadcasts in India as yet.

Price: Rs. 24,000

B&W ZEPPELIN MINI

Best for? Style And Size

While this scaled-down Zeppelin lacks the wow factor of its epoch-making older brother, its innovation still shines through. Sound, as you'd expect from B&W, is superb ? taking a true digital signal from an iPhone in flight mode, or iPod and producing excellent clarity. Better still is its superb sound processing from a USB-connected PC, which also allows iPod/Phone syncing. The 36W output won't set your fork drawer rattling but will delight those looking to combine form and function in a kitchen-sized space. Look up www.bowers-wilkins.com

LOVE Excellent sound. USB connectivity

HATE Lacks wow factor of the original Zeppelin. Not iPhone certified

Price: Rs. 24,000

CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SONATA

Best for? Power

The Sonata separates system has serious clout, making small devices sound huge. Attach your iPod or iPhone (only in flight mode) to its dock, or other devices to the front-mounted line in socket, and you get 40W per channel, with an extra kick from the subwoofer that knocks the other systems here for a six, while clever tech polishes even lower bitrate MP3s. Compact enough to live under a TV or on a shelf flanked by its punchy Sirocco S30 speakers, the Sonata bundle also includes a DAB radio and CD player with Wolfram alpha DAC. Look up www.cambridgeaudio.com

LOVE Goliath-like power from a David-size system. Digital tech cleans up low-bitrate MP3s

HATE Not iPhone certified

Price: Rs. 60,000 for the system

PURE CHRONOS IDOCK SERIES II

Best for? Bedrooms

Pure's updated Chronos alarm clock/radio is the only officially iPhone compatible dock on test, which means no need for flight mode and no pesky audio interference. The sound quality is weak and weedy, but acceptable for bedside listening, lulling you to sleep with DAB/FM radio and waking you up with any track from your iPhone or iPod's playlist via the dock. Other MP3s attach via the front- mounted line in or 3.5mm socket. Pure has also added a powerport ? a USB port that can be used to charge mobiles or illuminate a USB reading lamp. Look up www.pure.com

LOVE iPhone support. Handy USB port

HATE Basic design and weedy sound

Price: Rs. 8,000

BOSE SOUNDDOCK 10

Best for? Versatility

This 8.5kg monster dock is no friend to the mantelpiece but, with its scary bass levels, it is Bose's best effort yet. As well as the iPod dock and line in, it takes audio via Bluetooth, offering a quick connection and solid audio. From a wired source, sound is more impressive, easily filling any room in the house. The quality can get a touch muddy when MP3s below 320Kbps are cranked up, but the subwoofer is undeniably impressive, giving lively low tones and excelling with electronic music. The price is quite mad. Look up www.boseindia.com

LOVE Great bass stereo. Bluetooth streaming

HATE High price. Fuzziness at higher volumes with lower-grade MP3s

Price: Rs. 40,388

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