As you can see from the pictures, the Mini's iPod connector is raised above the upper edge of the speaker unit. B&W supplies a range of clip-on sleeves to fit a number of iPod and iPhone models that help you connect your player smoothly. They're not essential, but they do give the player more support when it's rotated through 90° to activate Apple's CoverFlow feature - the pivot is a nice touch for which B&W should be commended.
Keep it in its comfort zone
We tried the Mini with an iPhone 3GS, from which it won't amplify and relay radio noise as some, cheaper speakers do. It'll also work with dockable iPods from the Classic onwards - Nanos have to be generation two or later. Other models - and other brands - can be connected through a 3.5mm jack. The Mini also has a USB 2.0 port so you can sync in situ.
Whatever musical genres float your boat, the Mini will deliver them to you with aplomb. At any volume level, the speakers' output is clear and crisp, without distortion. The bass comes out best when the volume is in the middle: there's not quite enough of it at the very low or very high settings.
The Mini has the volume to fill a big room, but it doesn't feel comfortable doing so. It's at its happiest pumping out tunes into a bedroom, study or small living room, somewhere where you'll want the volume at listening rather than hoofing level.
Keep the Zeppelin Mini in its comfort zone - not too loud, not too quiet - and out of cavernous rooms and you'll thrill to its lively presentation. Two speakers set so close are never going to give you spacey stereo, but the Mini more than compensates with clarity and volume. Our only real concern is the price: £299 isn't unreasonable, but Bose's equally impressive SoundDock II is £50 cheaper. ®
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Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Mini
Nul points, certainly...
Would it be too big a leap of imagination to consider that, if someone is the sort of person willing to drop that much money on an iPod accessory (*), they might also be the sort of person who loads up their iPod with high-bitrate files they've ripped themselves because they value quality over quantity?
* not that the Zeppelin Mini is just a somewhat beautifully engineered but wallet-bashingly expensive iPod dock - it's really more of a high quality external speaker/amp combo which just happens to provide iPod support in addition to the variety of other audio sources it can be driven from.
Bose 302s & 802s
I used to use a pair of Bose 302s plus 2 to 4 pairs of 802s. You need to run the active EQ with them. I thought that they were not too bad, especially for the size / weight to carry around.
The 802s also did a reasonable job by themselves in the bay window of my student house, hidding behind the curtains :)
I've not been impressed with some of their most recent stuff, but then I've also heard great and bad things from many other middle range brands (wharfedale, mission, KEF, Junk But Loud...)
yeah i know....
but you cant deny the improvement. plus on the denon you have 3 'restore' settings that you can pick and choose from. i know its fake, but its a bloody good fake lol.