Audio Stereo Tower

Leslie Ayers's picture

Audio Stereo Tower


For people who like their speakers tall, dark, and handsome.

 

You already know that you have many choices - too many, really - when it comes to speaker systems for your iPod. There are a few things you might not know about mStation Audio's Stereo Tower, a 100-watt floor-standing iPod speaker and dock with a built-in 5.25-inch dedicated subwoofer. First, it's a substantial piece of stereo equipment: It isn't overly large (43 inches high by 14 inches wide), but it seems much heavier than its 21 pounds. It will fit nicely in a corner of your living or family room, but unless your taste in interior décor runs to the bachelor-pad, black-leather, chrome-and-glass-end-tables motif, it might not exactly blend in. That said, a black iPod looks pretty sweet perched on top of the extruded aluminum and black metal Tower.

 

Aesthetics aside, the Tower produces booming sound. Individual songs, including hip-hop and alternative-rock tunes with thumping bass lines, sometimes required a bit of fiddling with the bass and treble keys on the included 10-key remote control for the deepest, best sound. In a couple of instances, we wished we could kick the bass up just a couple of extra notches. But overall, the Tower was as loud as we could handle, distortion-free, and as rich-sounding as any high-quality iPod speaker system we've tested.

 

The Tower charges your iPod when it's docked, and the USB port lets you connect the Tower to your Mac so you can sync your iPod too. You can also connect other music devices using the audio-in jack, anything from non-iPod MP3 players to a portable CD player. USB and audio-in are nice extras, but there's no video-out port, so you can't connect the Tower to your TV to display your iPod's videos and photos on a larger screen. When smaller, more compact systems such as XtremeMac's Tango ($199.95, www.xtrememac.com) and Logitech's AudioStation (4 out of 5 stars, Feb/07, p78) include this feature, it seems a bit odd that the Tower doesn't. We suspect that mStation Audio will address that in future versions of the Tower since the updated version of the Orb, its smaller iPod speaker system, due out this summer, includes video out.

 

Setting up the Tower took just a few minutes, but it would have been quicker if the included iPod cradles were labeled more clearly. (Maybe we need our eyes checked, but we didn't see the teeny-tiny labels on the underside of each cradle right away. Plus, labeling them "Dock #1" and so on wasn't all that helpful anyway.) Once perched in its respective cradle, however, the 30GB iPod we tested the Tower with fit snugly. We also tested it with a second-generation nano, but had to go cradle-less since the Tower didn't come with a cradle that exactly fit the location of the 2G nano's connector. All newer versions of the Tower will include a 2G nano cradle, and current Tower owners can request one from the company.

 

The bottom line. For powerful, nuanced stereo sound in a relatively slim package, the Tower holds its own against competing systems large and small.

 

COMPANY: mStation Audio
CONTACT: www.mstationaudio.com
PRICE: $299.95
REQUIREMENTS: iPod, iPod nano, or other audio device with a headphone jack
Delivers loud, rich sound. Easy to set up and operate. Connects to a Mac.
No video-out port.

 

 

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