We see iPod docks at Stuff towers with a regularity that rivals Pete Doherty’s court appearances. Some are really quite sublime and many are completely ridiculous, but this new package from audiophile KEF sits confidently at the former end of the scale.
The Picoforte Three is the more expensive of two versions on offer: it uses a pair of KEF’s KHT3005SE speakers, as opposed to the more basic KHT1005s used on the cheaper model, the Picoforte One. No, we’re not sure what happened to Two either.
In any case, the sleek, sexy, glossy-black ’3005SEs are the superior versions of KEF’s famous ‘egg’ speakers and form the basis of the gorgeous and Award-winning 3005SE 5.1 surround sound package.
Along with the two speakers, the Picoforte Three consists of a neat little two-box amplifier-charging dock, complete with remote control and all the necessary cables.
These include an S-Video cable, enabling you to hook your iPod up to your TV and watch the thousands of seconds of video content recently made available in the UK on iTunes.
You can also navigate through your iPod’s menus on the TV this way – although you won’t see your album cover art, unfortunately – and with an impressive remote that controls all the iPod’s functions, the Picoforte Three scores highly for style and ease-of-use.
Sounds of love
The KEF sounds the business, too. Okay, compared to the best docks we’ve heard recently – the Fatman iTube, iStuff Domino and Jamo i300 – it’s a little light on bass, but if that really bothers you, you can use its sub pre-out to factor in a subwoofer and boost the bass no end.
In sheer volume terms, this isn’t a solution to float your boat if you’re looking for a room-filling party animal of a system – it doesn’t go that loud. This is down to the limitations of the amp, rather than the speakers: we’ve certainly heard the KHT3005SEs sounding a hell of a lot more muscular and punchy on the end of an amp boasting more beef than is on offer here.
But the Picoforte Three has a lot to recommend it. Despite that slightly lightweight sound, it offers lots of good hi-fi qualities: timing is lively and exciting, while the integration between bass and treble is smoother and more wholesome than you might expect from a system costing £400.
If you’re really into making the most of your music, the majority of iPod docks don’t come close to sounding this grown-up.