Cygnett GrooveForce II

An iPod dock with a built-in FM tuner and a fully featured remote control.

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Cygnett GrooveForce II
  • Cygnett GrooveForce II
  • Cygnett GrooveForce II
  • Cygnett GrooveForce II

Pros

  • Built-in FM tuner, powerful remote, good separation

Cons

  • Mid-range is cluttered and distorted, a decent amount of sibilance, bass lacks power

Bottom Line

A decent but uninspiring iPod dock, the Cygnett GrooveForce II suffers a fair bit in the audio department but it is fine for casual listening and the FM tuner will be appealing to many.

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Taking an FM tuner and combining it with a relatively standard iPod dock, Cygnett’s latest music system, the GrooveForce II, is a fairly basic product. It does an adequate job of pumping out sound from your media player and has a pretty powerful remote control, but the audio quality is less than impressive so it won’t satisfy everyone.

The radio really is the standout feature here. As the iPod notably lacks any kind of tuner, dock users have typically been without this particular feature. The GrooveForce II’s implementation is pretty basic, with two tuner buttons and no ability to store presets. It received a fine signal in our tests and is a nifty feature, if not fully fleshed out.

Unfortunately, like the last Cygnett dock we tested, the audio is a source of disappointment. The biggest issue lies in the mid-range, which lacks proper control and is extremely gritty. In all of our rock and metal tests, passages of heavy guitar riffing sounded chunky, distorted and lacked detail. It made these genres difficult to listen to, particularly at high volumes.

We weren’t particularly happy with the bass either. It lacked punch and power, which left most songs sounding a little flat. We’d have liked it to extend more deeply and rumble a fair bit more; even in simple tunes with piano, bass guitar and drums the bass felt lacking.

There was also a fair amount of sibilance evident on cymbals and vocals which gave the sound a slightly harsh tone. That said, there was good separation across the full range of instruments and a pretty good soundstage.

The highs were also relatively good. While they weren’t as rich and lively as we would have liked, they were smooth and there wasn’t too much shrillness or harshness. We found easy listening tunes were probably best with this system, things like jazz or pop. Volume output is pretty good all up, although the higher the volume the more evident the above issues are.

We liked the fact that Cygnett is including a fully functional remote with its products now. Despite its diminutive design, the remote can not only control basic playback features but also navigate the iPod menu, which is a boon for the lazy. All the usual controls are present although there is no way to adjust bass or treble. The rear has an AC jack and an auxiliary input port for non Apple media players.

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