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  1. #1

    Question Suggestions for music dock...

    hi,

    Wife gave orders to look for a quality sound speakers\dock for our iPhones and the iPod. here is the list of what it should be\have;

    1. one piece, all in one docking\charging station and speakers for iPhone\iPod with lightning connector
    2. must have bluetooth and wifi connection
    3. must have bright\easily visible clock display
    4. preferably something stylish
    5. easy to setup and easy to use

    Wife recently upgraded to the new iPhone 6 so i guess anything that will accomodate this model is still scarce ? i mean docking\charging wise...?

    all the best,
    Marcin

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Not sure of any that have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. They tend to be one or the other.

    Bluetooth speakers tend to be smaller and portable with low(er) sound quality though perhaps not always, I'm just not aware of any that aren't.

    I recommend one that has ethernet and optical in as ports, since this way you can stream digitally using AirPlay from an Airport Express set up near the speaker without the streaming issues that seem to plague most direct wireless to speaker implementations. Note that it's super easy to choose an AirPlay speaker from the iPhone, you simply swipe up. This means your wife can actually use her phone while it's streaming audio and browse songs from her library or do anything else on the phone without having to physically connect it.

    Although direct AirPlay to speaker sounds ideal, nearly all wireless speaker reviews I've seen highlight connection and streaming reliability problems so I strongly advise streaming wireless AirPlay to an Airport Express first and then using its digital out capability to make a wired connection to your speaker. Whatever you do don't connect with the AirPort's analogue out. You don't want to use its relatively crappy DAC as all the speaker docks you'll want feature at least some form of digital input and their own superior DAC.

    The problem with using the speaker's Wi-Fi is almost certainly due to them using relatively slow and ancient 802.11g Wi-Fi chipsets, which though technically fast enough for streaming lossless audio doesn't seem to perform reliably a lot of the time. I had streaming problems with 802.11g versions of Apple's AirPort Express in the past and it's the most infuriating thing ever. Fortunately I don't get this at all now from my 802.11n AirPort Express.

    If you want to prioritise sound quality and style only three brands come to mind... Bowers & Wilkins, Bose and Bang & Olufsen.

    King of the Bowers & Wilkins "system in a box" speakers is the A7. This gets very good reviews for sound quality and it features ethernet, optical and analogue audio inputs (in addition to its Wi-Fi which I don't recommend you use). I'm very interested to purchase this myself. I have Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 computer speakers and they're fantastic. Their build and sound quality are superb. B&W have a smaller A5 version but I recommend the bigger and beefier A7 for $999 if you can afford it. I know it sounds a lot but trust me I think it's worth it. I think I paid $700 for my MM-1s and I don't regret it. I don't use a desktop any more hence them not being ideal and considering getting the A7 instead.

    Bose have their SoundTouch series which are the only ones that seem to feature a clock. Their biggest and best model is the SoundTouch 30 for $699. I've heard smaller Bose docks in the past and they sounded good though I suspect the B&W A7 will sound (much) better.

    Bang and Olufsen have the BeoPlay A8, which looks stylish and should sound nice but it's also the most expensive at $1,500 and has no clock. I saw it the other day in David Jones and I didn't think its looks justified its price (a bit over the top for me) nor do I think you'll get value for money in sound quality either. It's my least favourite pick of the three. They may have some smaller and cheaper docks also but I'm not sure.

    I think these are the only brands and choices you should consider if you want sound quality and style. Personally I don't put too much importance on a clock but if that's vital to you you're only left with the SoundTouch 30. My recommendations are in the order I've presented them. I think Bowers and Wilkins will offer you the best sound. Better than the cheaper BeoPlay and cheaper than the expensive Bang and Olufsen. Bowers and Wilkins are veteran British speaker manufacturers so they know a thing or two about audio.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by simonm; 1st February 2015 at 03:40 PM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Melbourne, Australia ;)
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    We have a pile of AirPlay speakers and they have all performed wonderfully. Anyway, Pioneer A1 and A3's. Yamaha AV receiver with airplay as well as an iHome model too (although that one sounds a little ordinary, very passable).

    Clearly I'm no audiophile, but I'm very happy!

    As for docks, I've hunted for a clock radio that does iPhone charging too. As has been said, Bluetooth + WiFi is rare and if you add in my desire for DAB+ it's impossible! As it is it's getting harder and harder to find things with even just AirPlay support as more and more makers seem to focus on Bluetooth connections. (I've also got on the the Logitech UE Boom speakers and it actually works and sounds pretty good).

    I ended up with this one:
    Buy SONY Clock Radio Dock ICFC11iP | Read Reviews | Dick Smith Online Shopping

    It's doesn't do WiFi or Bluetooth but it's cheap and it does just fit the iPhone 6 Plus (without a case) so I would guess the non plus model would work OK even with a slimline case.

    Sure it's not what you're asking for, but if you want something to stick on the bedside table with a clock, charger and ability to play music it might solve one problem and let you spend your money on something separate to do the other things you want.
    Many Shiny Toys with Apple Logos | Some Microsoft Toys too
    If it has an engine or a heartbeat it's going to cost you.
    Drive a VW?

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