We first heard about Cambridge Audio’s micro system three or four years ago, when was known as the Integrale. Fast-forward to 2009, and it’s finally arrived – with a welcome change of name. Now it’s simply the ‘One’.

Slot’s to like

In the box you get the compact main unit itself, an iPod dock and a typically superb Cambridge remote. The system has a slot-loading CD drive, a DAB/FM tuner, SD card and USB connectors for playing MP3 and WMA music, as well as a dedicated input for non-Apple MP3 players.

The unit isn’t ugly, exactly, but it’s definitely not beautiful: all those buttons and sockets might make the functions easier to access, but we’re not fans of clutter. Still, it feels solidly made and the display is bright and clear.

The bundled dock is simple but attractive, and connected iPods can be operated using the remote. Also, although this is not officially “Made for iPhone” it will still charge, play and control one.

Sweet, balanced sound

Slide Bonnie Prince Billie’s Beware into the drive, and the Cambridge responds with a measured, balanced rendition. There’s great clarity and focus in the midrange, and the treble is sweet.

It’s such an all-round listenable sound that it can take a while to figure out why it doesn’t quite involve as much as we’d like. The answer is a slight lack of overall excitement: compared to the very best, this system is missing that last morsel of insight and attack.

And it’s not helped by a strange hole in the upper bass frequencies, which leaves the Hellboy soundtrack sounding a little lightweight, yet manages to convey all the weight of the deep bass on Jurassic 5’s Concrete Schoolyard.

If it sounds like we’ve got a downer on the One, that’s absolutely not the case. It’s a very likeable little system, but these small criticisms, taken together, rob it of that coveted fifth star.

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