The cable guys
Admittedly, most users will plumb it all in and leave alone and the connection will be firm and secure from new. Even so, this choice of connector has revealed its shortcomings, as the slightest repositioning of the dock would traumatise the connection.
Vintage connectivity revisited: a mini DIN8 connection (right) is used to link with the dock
Talking of connections, besides the mini-DIN, the dock also has a 3.5mm jack input, for other portable audio sources, and a mini USB input to tether it to your computer, so your mounted iPod can be linked and sync'd to iTunes. The dock responds to the remote control, handy if the sub is on the floor, and features a status display with bright, segmented lettering revealing input source and the toggling to volume or bass and treble levels when tweaked from the remote.
Ixos somewhat redeems the Divo from its dock cabling issues, by including speaker cables of two different lengths: 0.5m and 4.5m. At both ends, gold-plated 3.5mm mono jacks are used to connect to satellites to the sub and having cable length alternatives keeps the desktop option tidy and gives room for manœvre when floor positioning the sub unit. However, this idea does seem rather inconsistent given that just one long dock lead is supplied.
The sub features additional connectivity having stereo phono line inputs for use with your PC’s output or AV separates. It also has a main power button that will toggle through the inputs modes with repeated presses, with its status LED changing colour for iPod (green), Aux (orange) and Phono (red). Bass output and overall volume can also be controlled from its front panel buttons.
In use, the Ixos Divo proved itself to be fairly loud but certainly not deafening. The iPod dock option was left wanting though, being a fair bit quieter than the aux and phono options. Moreover, it soon became obvious that having the sub on the desk was not only a bit of an imposition in terms of space, but it didn’t sound that great there either. Ixos describes the sub as an ‘Acoustic Air Spring passive radiator subwoofer’. Whatever the science behind that, sonically it seemed mismatched, and testing the positioning on the floor proved to be a great improvement. Presumably it projects and disperses the low frequencies better there, than when heard on a tabletop.
The remote accesses all the Divo's functions and controls iPods too
While some might opt for maximum effect, it’s really worth experimenting with the sub levels and bass and treble controls. I prefer to listen to music flat, so the mix isn’t flattered artificially, but with this sort of set-up, the sub is integral and tweaking is necessary so it sits nicely with the satellite speaker playback.
Next page: Location, location, location
They're called subs for a reason
"the capacity of the Divo’s sub to bring out the more muted resonances of an instrument. Likewise, when using the line input to listen to the The Clash’s Rock the Casbah from CD, the rubbery twang of the bassline was more evident, rather than it simply becoming a pronounced booming"
A subwoofer only deals with the very lowest bass frequencies (up to maybe 200Hz?), the ones the mid-range drivers in the main speaker arrays would struggle with without much larger cabinets. So the 'tone' of the bass you were hearing was likely much more to do with these than the sub itself. To be fair though a sub can help here by freeing the mids from having to reproduce the very lowest bass frequencies, which improves their response through the rest of their range.
We don't have an ipod. My wife has about 10gigs of mp3 files, and I thought of buying her an mp3 clock radio for Christmas, something with an SD card or USB port to plug in a thumb drive.
On amazon, everything is geared up for ipods, especially ipod touch and the iphone. I did manage to find one clock radio, a Timex that took SD and USB sticks, but it was discontinued.
Surely it is cheap enough to incorporate an SD card slot and update the firmware to play mp3s on a cheap clock radio, or even a high-end audio dock.