It’s no longer enough for an iPod speaker dock to just be an iPod speaker dock. To satisfy the more discerning digital muso, manufacturers have started loading their ‘Pod-pals with more and more bells and whistles.
Take this LG PC12DAB. It bolsters its iPod talents with a slot-loading CD spinner, MP3-friendly USB port and DAB and FM radio tuners. Phew. It also has a certain oval charm that separates it from its boxy brethren.
A USB port allows you to hook up a memory key or even an external hard drive in order to listen to MP3 and WMA tunes, and it can also shoot music in the opposite direction - yep, you can even record from the radio onto a USB storage device.
It’s an impressive feature line-up given the low-ish price tag, and even more so considering LG has packed it into package small enough to perch on your kitchen worktop or bedside table.
Sure, the glossy black plastic finish isn’t exactly inspired, the large red LED display and twin power lights should draw the odd admiring glance from your mates.
A sound investment?
Sadly, the PC12DAB’s audio quality isn’t likely to attract as much praise. Whatever you listen to, the sound seems rather flat and undynamic. Bass lacks real low-end oomph, the mid-range struggles to make itself apparent at all and treble is so bright it’s slightly harsh on the ears.
To be fair, the performance isn’t really any worse than most of the cheaper iPod speaker docks, but face it off against the likes of the B&W Zeppelin, Vita Audio R4 and the similarly priced Boston Acoustics Duo-i and there’s a gaping gulf in quality.
We also struggled to get a pristine DAB signal using the supplied antenna, with the likes of BBC 6 Music and TalkSport suffering intermittent popping or just disappearing completely for a few moments.
On the plus side, the remote control is a nifty little number that lets you browse your iPod’s menus to select tracks and playlists, making it a nice step up from the usual basic dock clicker that offers nothing more than track skip and volume tweaking. But it’s not quite enough to compensate for the lacklustre audio performance or patchy radio reception.