The phrase ‘iPod dock’ covers a multitude of possibilities. There are the straight-and-simple units you plonk your ’Pod on and hook into your hi-fi. Then there are the dock-and-speakers units, like this little beauty from Gear4, that also squeeze amplification and a pair of speakers into a single, compact unit. 

Loud Houseparty

The Houseparty II fits its two speakers under a single grill covering, giving the unit a sexy ‘wall-of-sound’ look. And these speakers are more than capable of pumping out a healthy swathe of sound: it goes loud, sounds punchy and exciting, and even manages to throw out a weighty amount of bass while keeping a reasonable grip on the overall tonal balance. 

Unlike some docks, the Gear4 has a remote through which you can navigate and control all your iPod’s functions, so you don’t have to get up and fiddle with the ‘Pod’s thumbwheel while it’s docked – a fiddly process which tends to reduce a dock’s cool factor by several million. 

It’s not all sonic roses

OK, it‘s not the cleanest or clearest-sounding system on the planet. Those looking for high fidelity  may find it a bit of a blunt instrument: it has a slightly muffled quality, a thickness to the sound that causes vocals in particular to lose an edge of realism. 

But this is a £70 system we’re talking about. The Houseparty II mostly comes up with the musical goods; throw in its compact dimensions and simple-yet-effective styling and it’ll become a favourite houseguest.


Stuff says... 

Gear4 HouseParty II review

The complete control via the remote will win the Houseparty II many fans, and with its loud, solid and enjoyable sound, we see no reason to argue