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Reviews

Logitech AudioStation iPod Speaker System

By Legacy September 27, 2007, 12:00 am

INTRODUCTION

    iPods (and MP3 players in general) have changed the way we store, transport, share, and even listen to music. Given the falling price of memory, it is now possible to port an entire collection of music within a device that weighs only a few ounces. Being able to listen to music on the go is one advantage, however, not everybody has the opportunity to don earphones and zone out the rest of the world. Enter Logitech’s Audio Station. This device will dock your iPod, charge it, and play the contents via two 80 watt (RMS) speakers. It also displays the time, has an AM/FM radio, and can broadcast to an auxiliary source. How did this unit perform? Read on as we put the AudioStation to the test!

WHAT’S HOT

    It looks cool. The black exterior give the AudioStation a contemporary feel, and the low blue backlit display adds to the "futuristic feel". The specs speak for themselves. Here’s a summary from the Logitech site:

  • Total FTC power: 80 watts RMS    
    • Bi-amp design:
      • Woofers, Left & Right: 32 watts RMS x 2 (into 4 ohms, @ 300Hz, @ 10% THD)
      • Tweeters, Left & Right: 8 watts RMS x 2 (into 16 ohms, @ 5khz, @ 10% THD) 
  • Total Peak power:  160 watts
  • Max SPL: 110 dB
  • Frequency Response: 36Hz-23kHz +/- 3dB

SETUP

   Quick and dirty. Plug the main A/C line into the power adapter, the adapter into mains power. Next, select the correct dock adapter for your iPod, insert iPod and go. Control of the iPod is either via the the device itself, or via the AudioStation remote. This part of the setup is simple and intuitive.    

   Setting radio stations is slightly more involved, and I relied on the manual for this particular feature. The “source” button is used to select the desired band (AM, FM1, FM2). Press and hold source for 1 sec, then arrow scroll through the band to search for a particular frequency. "Select” is then pressed to set.

   Retrieving stations is a multi-tier process also: change the tuner mode to "preset" (123) then use the arrow scroll to select the station. Tuner mode is changed via pressing and hold "Select" for 1 second. One thing I noticed, I had to keep reminding myself to put the unit into preset, otherwise it would just scan rather than move to the next station. Mildly annoying.

PRODUCT FEATURES

   IPod playback and charging, digital AM/FM radio, backlit display, to name the main features. Here are some more:


  • Design

    • Tweeter amplifiers: (2) ultra-linear, Class AB
    • Woofer amplifiers: (2) high-efficiency, Class D
    • Sealed, tuned speaker enclosures
    • Adjustable sound field (bass, treble, 3D stereo)
    • Removable speaker grilles

  • Connections

    • 3.5mm aux input jack
    • Composite and S-Video output jacks
    • Universal Doc


Here’s an un-boxing shot. Included: the AudioStation, power adapter + cord, remote, multi-lingual manual, adapters, AM & FM antennae, warranty literature. Note, speaker grilles installed.

Side-long glance. Here’s a shot of the AudioStation with speaker grilles removed, and iPod installed.

Here’s a look at the depth of the unit. Not much to it, it fits comfortably on a coffee table or desk.

Here’s the rear of the AudioStation. No tangled web of wires here.

A close-up of the rear. Note antennae ports plus video out and power. Aux allows you to use an item such as an external BlueTooth receiver (not included).

Here’s a close up of the front panel. Select is used to store presets and change tuner mode, source switches between radio bands, aux and iPod.

Nice and sleek. The remote allows users to remotely control volume, change track/frequency, select source.

  Sound was fairly decent, and although no EQ is present, the following attributes can be adjusted: bass, treble, 3D Stereo. Bass and treble tailor the respective sound qualities as desired, 3D Stereo consists of a proprietary feature that widens the sound, and can be toggled via the remote. I would recommend switching this on, it makes a BIG difference.

  Other features: the backlit display brightness can be adjusted, as with the iPod backlight. Video pass-thru is also available, however, an S-video cable is not included. Purchase a cable separately and you are able to broadcast your iPod video or photos to a near-by TV screen.

 

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HELP SUPPORT

    There is a pretty solid name behind the product, Logitech have been in this business for a few years now. The site has a vast Knowledge Base, and the manual which ships with the unit has a fairly decent troubleshooting guide.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

    This device is compatible with older (2-4 gen) iPods, (5th gen) iPod Video, and aluminum iPod nanos. Adapters ship with the AudioStation to ensure a snug fit.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
My only real gripes with this otherwise great unit was the menu layout, specifically, the radio menu. I found having to change tuner mode a wee bit cumbersome, and would have preferred a three-way switch over the touchpad. I realize this would take away from the "cool factor", but functionality should always come first in my books. The other deterrent: price. It may seem expensive.

PURCHASING

   
The AudioStation retails for approximately USD$299.00 via the Logitech site. Can be found for around USD$220.00 via online resellers.

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PROS


  • Great-looking unit

  • Charges iPod while playing, plus provides video out
  • Digital AM/FM, nice big backlit display

CONS

  • Expensive

Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

OVERALL IMPRESSION

   A great addition to the coffee table if you can get past the price tag. Once the menu layout has been committed to memory, use is fairly straight forward, albeit a tad cumbersome; I found myself reaching for the manual on more than one occasion. Sound is rich and full, especially with the 3D Stereo feature on. The backlit display is easy on the eyes and rounds out the great design of this device. If you have the opportunity, check one out at a local retailer (BestBuy, Fry’s, Mirco-center, etc) to see if it’s for you.




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