As flatpanel TV audio can be a mere afterthought for many manufacturers, a decent stereo speaker set-up is a viable alternative to a true surround system. And Voix, with its pseudo 2.1 MPX/Y pair, provides a decent option. There's even a surprising addition... A flap reveals a fully-functional iPod dock.
The slim towers (the MPY lacks the iPod dock and bass driver) look sumptuous in their (surprise!) gloss black finish intended to complement your TV. The five dome drive units in each column, protected by metal grills, look like they mean business, too.
The rest of the components though, including the weighted base plates, are made of plastic rather than extruded aluminium. Very odd.
Despite the questionable build quality, I have to admit to being stunned by the rousing performance.
Instead of the reedy sound you often get from small speakers, the MPX/Y system belts out a loud and
wide-open soundstage. From its descriptive top-end to the deep and agile bass, there's little to dislike about its music or movie playback.
The ten drive units work together to form a seamless stereo image if you're sitting anywhere between the two towers.
The tall form factor helps, too – obviously you can move the left and right speakers until you get the perfect stereo image, but the drive units are also perfectly in line with your ears if you're sitting on an average height sofa.
There's no digital audio input – connection to your TV can only by analogue stereo line feeds – so there's no question of surround or pseudo surround sound, but it will seriously improve on the sound of any internal TV speakers.
Even without the optional subwoofer, which costs an extra £129, there's plenty of bass on hand from the built-in downward-firing bass driver on the MPX tower.
However, an optical in would have provided a cleaner and more convenient connection than the noisy phono inputs provided.
Slick iPod dock
It seems that iPod compatibility is fast becoming a legal requirement for consumer electronics, but this iPod dock is no afterthought. The symmetry of the elegant speaker is not quite ruined when you flip open the lid to reveal the cradle.
There's a little crackle when you slip your 'pod in, but so long as you have fitted the right adapter – there's one in the box for everything from a Shuffle to an iPhone 3G – your iPod will make a snug and clean digital connection, and hand control over to the Voix remote handset.
This system is not exactly home cinema and the lack of an optical input is distressing, but the Voix MPX/Y can seriously improve your TV's sound. And as an iPod dock, it's genius, if you're into that sort of thing.