Is this iPod dock up to the job?
While Creative's own MP3 players compete with the iPod, the company is also a large contributor to the iPod accessories market. The I-Trigue 3000i, an iPod dock/speaker system, is one such accessory. Although the speakers have a clever design and a well-designed remote control, shortfalls in sound quality make for an unimpressive experience overall.
- Full integration with iPods and iPhones, bass isn’t muddy
- Lack of low mid-range, AV out requires specific unbundled cable
The I-Trigue 3000i manages to overcome some of the problems faced by both computer speakers and iPod peripherals. However, it lacks low mid-range sound.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
The I-Trigue 3000i's satellites and subwoofer are quite small, and can easily fit on a computer desk in a discrete manner. The speakers have a gloss black finish with a blue power LED. All inputs and cables feed through the subwoofer, allowing for easy cable management and minimal desk usage.
Creative have ensured that full iPod functionality is accessible through the remote control, a feature lacking in the Altec Lansing T612. Through the remote, we were able to navigate through menus on both the iPod and iPhone, changing albums, playlists and songs. Unfortunately, there is no way to project the iPod interface onto a screen larger than the device itself. This means choosing songs requires the user to remain close to the iPod, making the remote control's potential somewhat limited.
As well as connecting to an iPod, there is a 3.5mm analogue line-in plug. While the line-in input allows for an auxiliary source, the system has no option to switch between sources. Rather, both sources will play simultaneously unless the user turns one off; this is a minor nuisance but doesn't really affect the experience.
There is an AV out port but it only works with a specific cables. The ones we tried didn't work.
For their size, the satellite speakers managed to reproduce a surprising amount of high mid-range and treble. Rated at 6 Watts per channel, the speakers could easily fill a medium to large room, though we did notice some distortion when increasing the volume above normal listening levels.
The subwoofer also has some potential. A common failure of 2.1 systems in the computer speaker market is an unbalanced subwoofer, leading to muddiness in the system's overall sound. It was immediately clear that this isn't the case with the I-Trigue 3000i. Creative has tuned the subwoofer to a low frequency range in order to avoid this. This tuning makes the subwoofer suit the low drum beats common in dance and electronic music, while cutting out bass lines that might contribute to an unbalanced sound.
While this is commendable, it creates other issues. The subwoofer's cut-off range, combined with small satellite speakers, has left a large gap in frequencies between the two components. While the satellites are surprisingly good at reproducing some mid-range, there is a distinct lack of low mid-range, often a key frequency range for acoustic guitars and some bass lines. Acoustic music lacks the mid-range required for a full sound, and some bass lines tend to sound empty and slightly atonal.
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