Switching to techie / audio buff mode, (buff as in enthusiast, not hunky rugby player), I felt I should provide portable gadget lovers some quick tips on high fidelity sound.
Along with text messaging (email offers all the pros and much more, for less), those speaker docks for connecting iPods, iPhones and now, Android phones to are an unnecessary invention that like text messaging does for communications, dumbs down high fidelity audio. What saddens me is that many who have never owned a real audio system and jumped direct to owning a dock may have never experienced quality audio. Even today’s headphones are biased towards bass to appeal to a specific music demographic and are not really true HiFi cans.
A good £100 ($160) amplifier connected to a pair of decent equally priced speakers provides audio quality way beyond that of even the best speaker dock – including those from my favourite vendor of computer speakers and headphones, Bose. (Like Marmite, I understand some are not so keen on the brand.) You will experience true stereo separation, increased frequency response and much more control over the tonal quality – helping you adjust the audio to the room.
Having spent years trying out my iPhone in almost every speaker dock, from those compact battery powered ones designed to travel with you, to the largest £500 dock, not one comes even close to a proper audio system, yet most cost the same or more!
Their others disadvantages: If you dock your invaluable portable always on your person device, then you’re not only unable to answer calls in the case of a phone, but due to the terrible design of the mechanism where the phone or iPod connects with the dock, it is easy to damage both the phone and dock connector if the phone is knocked – in particular in the case of those industrial design abominations where the phone is mounted on the top of the dock!
The whole speaker dock idea is stupid and I urge people NOT to buy these things, but to head to your nearest Richer Sounds (UK) or if abroad, other audio visual specialist and connect your device to the audio system using a separate dock, or to get around the problem of not being able to answer your phone, stream the audio using WiFi or NFC. Bluetooth does not offer enough bandwidth for good audio quality, although Bluetooth 4 may be better – I have yet to research this.
Another major pro of using a separates system is that you can of course connect multiple devices, such as your Computer/Set top box/Gaming console/DVD player etc.
I recently got a demo of a Sony Xperia phone streaming audio using NFC over 100 feet and was very impressed with the audio quality – even although it was emanating from a dock. In fact, I had no idea NFC was being used and assumed the connection was physical using a cable. (The phone was under the counter in the shop.)
Fight back club: Go separate and experience the recording as it was meant to be heard!