To say that the Hi-Fi/iPod Speaker dock market is competitive would be an understatement to say the least. Electronics manufacturers far and wide have given their all to dominate whichever particular end of the market they occupy. The devices range from portable twin speakers in a £20 package, right the way up to the offerings from the likes of BOSE in excess of £600.
Sony however, have always seemed to sit on the fence. They provide a huge range of products in this market which offer as close to the best of both worlds as you’re going to get. Good looks, reasonable and competitive price and a reputable name. So how does their new range stack up in comparison to its predecessors?
Well, this time around the Japanese giants have put out four new Sony speaker system products which I must say, provide an excellent first impression.
As ever, Sony has given us an unnecessarily complex naming system, however the first offering in the range is the CMT-MX550i. Described as a ‘micro-HIFI component system’ let’s see what it has to offer.
Aesthetically, the system is intended to compliment the new range of Sony products featuring the widely publicised (and widely admired and enjoyed) Monolithic design. The set up, following the tradition of Sony’s recent HiFi systems, is clearly separated into three parts. Two single driver speakers on either side take the bulk of the machine, and the centrepiece is the console featuring a ‘hidden’ dock for accessing your iPod/iPhone as well as an optical drive compatible with all types of CD.
In terms of functionality, the set up has 60w RMS output and a 2-way speaker system with a full S-Master digital amplifier, tuned by leading UK sound engineers. Also built in to the setup is compatibility with USB media for playback of digital files in addition to the variety of content already available in the form of iPod’s, iPhone’s, CD’s and DAB Digital Radio.
Out next month, this is certainly going to be a hit with consumers, particularly those who have perhaps invested in the latest Sony BRAVIA HDTVs or Blu-Ray players and are looking to complete their home theatre set up with a quality audio system.
The BX70DBI turned out to be a best seller in its class, so with big shoes to fill, how does the B77DBi stack up against not only its ‘father’, but also with the other latest offerings?
The 50w ‘room-filling’ sound produced from the 2-way speaker system presented in a similar fashion to the MX550i. With the centre console being taller, yet slimmer than the above, perhaps this is ideal for a bedroom audio player due to the stylish good looks, compact nature and great range of playback. Like the above, it’s compatible with CD’s and iPods as well as other personal music players through various docks and ports. In addition to that there is a supplied remote control for perfect armchair relaxation.
Undoubtedly retailing at a lower price than the MX550i, perhaps the budget buyers should keep an eye out for this stunningly good-looking player with excellent sound quality.
The first all-in-one micro HiFi system in the new range, the FX250 comes without an iPod dock, but with an altogether different styling. Whilst keeping the dual speaker look, this time they are attached to the centre console and are enveloped in a rich wooden effect fitting unobtrusively into the home environment perhaps more so than the all-black design of its companions.
The 10w RMS speakers features capabilities for DAB radio, CD and USB which for many is sufficient for many consumers who are yet to digitalise their entire music collection on to a pocket sized player.
Details here can be found above. The FX350i is much the same speaker system as found in the FX250, however with added functionality in that it can handle your iPod too, both playing back and charging the device.
Style wise, it reverts to the all black enclosure, but other than that is entirely similar to the FX250. It’s sister speaker system perhaps.
So, unfortunately there is no word on price as yet for these models, however based on my estimations you’re looking at an entry level FX250 with the MX550i heading the range somewhere in the region of £200. Not bad for an altogether great set up with a splendid design. Depending on price it’s certainly my favourite, although it would be hard to prise many away from the lure of a quality and stylish, cheaper alternative in the FX350i should the price be right.
Which of these new Sony speaker systems would you want to use in your home?