We heard about the i-Station8 a week or so ago, and now have one of these super-shiny bits of kit in our decidedly grubby mits.
As they promised, it’s got the eight specially calibrated, Vertical-Line-Array speakers combined with active subwoofer and bass radiator. This produces superb sound, even at the highest volume level. They’ve dealt with the problem many speakers suffer from – the prospect of having to deal with maximum volume on the iPod and on the speakers – by simply disengaging the iPod volume control whilst it’s in the dock.
Uniquely, it also has an LCD panel which displays the song title. However, it only does so up to a limit of 30 characters, and you’d be surprised how many song titles exceed this (Morrissey is a big offender here). It also suffers from a bit of light confusion when you try to change the display, disconnecting the iPod on a whim.
The 3.5mm input allows you to use it with audio players other than iPods, such as CD players or Minidiscs, but in truth, it looks a bit odd with a gaping hole in the middle.
Overall, it’s nice to look at, and there is a great satisfaction in being able to see the bass speaker vibrate when you’ve got it cranked up. The interface isn’t the easiest in the world – you’ll find yourself accidentally disconnecting, and you have to specify ‘shuffle’ every time you connect your iPod (despite it being set on the iPod itself) but for £99.99, it is worth a look.