Mondo Mint

Mondo Mint

The Mint comes with a wireless dock that transmits your iPod music to the Mint digital amplifier.

 

For anyone whose music entertainment revolves around the iPod, Mondo’s Mint is a great way to get your iPod tunes up front and center. It’s far from perfect - its audio quality could benefit from some fine-tuning, and its lack of controls can be frustrating. But the Mint has some unique design highlights and comes very close to producing ideal sound.

 

The digital amplifier, which is the base of the system, measures 8.23 by 5.32 by 2.05 inches and resembles a rectangular Mac mini. The amp has an iPod dock; a USB port, line-in, and two sets of speaker connectors on the rear; a wireless antenna; and buttons for power, volume, and switching audio sources. With the iPod docked, you use the iPod’s clickwheel for track controls. Inside, the amp is based on Texas Instruments’ PurePath digital audio technology, which, according to TI’s website, creates “lifelike audio” (more on this in a bit). The amplifier boasts 70 watts per channels, and in our testing, the Mint definitely flexes its muscle, filling a large 300-square-foot room easily and without distortion.

 

Each wooden speaker measures 5.6 by 6.97 by 8.9 inches. Behind the removable gray fabric screen you’ll find a 1-inch tweeter and a 4-inch woofer. We were impressed that Mondo included a pair of 4.5-foot speaker cables that use elegant banana plugs to connect the speakers and the amplifier - no frayed cable ends and clip connectors here.

 

The wireless dock is meant to sit on an end table near your couch or chair (it requires a power connection) so you can have your iPod controls at arm’s length while the amp rests happily in your entertainment center. The wireless dock uses the ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical) radio band to transmit its signal to the amplifier, and Mondo claims a range of 100 feet. We were able to move the wireless dock between rooms, and we used our 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz wireless phones and our Mac’s Wi-Fi connection without hearing any interference on the Mint.

 

It didn’t take long for us to realize that the remote is meant to be used in tandem with the wireless iPod dock. The remote has controls for power, volume, and audio source, but it offers nothing in the way of track controls - you use your iPod in the wireless dock for that. In that sense, the Mint’s remote is a wasted opportunity for true wireless control. Putting track controls on the remote would give you a little bit more freedom than using the wireless iPod dock - we say a little bit because the remote uses an infrared signal that requires a line of sight, so it doesn’t let you roam that far in the first place.

 

Now, back to PurePath’s claim of “lifelike audio.” Apparently, someone’s definition of “lifelike” is quite bass heavy, because the Mint’s audio is off the deep end. If you focus, you can hear the clear mid- and high-range tones trying to break through the low-end sounds. Every song we listened to (pop, jazz, rock, hip-hop, opera, and classical) sounded as if it had the potential to sound great, if only for a minor bass and treble adjustments.

 

But the Mint lacks bass and treble controls - a confounding omission, especially at this price. Mondo seems to be relying on the “lifelike audio” claim: If it sounds lifelike, there’s no need to tweak. As we know, however, rooms vary in acoustics (we tested it in different rooms), and since the Mint has no way of analyzing a room’s acoustics, bass and treble controls would let you fine-tune for the best sound.

 

The bottom line. We’re impressed. Despite the bass-heavy audio, we quite enjoyed its music reproduction.

 

COMPANY: Mondo

CONTACT: www.mondo-usa.com

PRICE: $349.99

REQUIREMENTS: Dockable iPod

Almost-ideal sound quality. Nicely designed. Good power.

A bit too heavy on the low-end sound range. Remote lacks track controls. No bass and treble controls.

 

 

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