A straightforward, but flexible dock that gets the best out of iPods, with sound that can stand comparison with hi-fi separates
Good improvement in sound quality
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Apart from iPod-enabled products including the One and Sonata mini-systems, Cambridge makes two iPod docks, the utterly basic iD10 and the present candidate, the iD50.
It is quite comprehensively featured, but Cambridge makes particular play of its audio abilities, which rely on 'quasi differential noise cancelling' circuits and audiophile-grade output buffers.
Connections include audio output on phono sockets, composite video and S-video, and RS232 for multi-room installations.
Two modes of operation are available, Simple Mode using the iPod's display, while Advanced Mode uses an attached TV as the display device.
A remote control is supplied, which is rather larger and considerably heavier than most of its kind and we found that this makes it much nicer to use, though the feel of the buttons is a bit uncertain.
Output level is two volts, the same as most CD players.
Bucking preconceptions, this dock really brought out the best in our iPod and produced sound that we can honestly say deserves the term 'hi-fi'. More than with any other dock we've tried, the Audio iD50 can extract music from the diminutive players and make it bloom.
There's real bass extension with very impressive grip and definition too, while midrange and treble are open and detailed. Images are well spaced out and have good stability; maybe not quite on a par with a good CD player, but not so very far behind.
The overall presentation has poise, but also plenty of bite and attack when needed. Lest you think we're imagining things, we also measured the performance and got figures that wouldn't disgrace any CD player.
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