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Boston Acoustics Duo-i plus AM/FM Stereo Tabletop Radio with iPhone/iPod Dock

Introduction

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Boston Acoustics Duo-i plus AM/FM Stereo Tabletop Radio with iPhone/iPod Dock
Boston Acoustics got its start in the 1970s with great sounding loudspeakers and has since expanded its lineup to include mobile audio, tabletop radios, iPod speaker systems and accessories. Boston has been on a roll lately, offering some very cool products such as the Boston iDS3 Plus iPod speaker system and subwoofer. I gave the iDS3 system very high marks for style, simplicity and sound in my recent review and in this review I put the Duo-i plus to the test to see how it stacks up as an AM/FM tabletop/clock radio and iPod/iPhone dock.

Features

The Duo-i plus is made for a bedroom, den, office or kitchen and has a rich sound quality and a nice selection of features. As a clock radio, the 'sleep timer' can lull you to sleep for up to 90 minutes and its twin alarms will gently awaken you to an alarm tone and/or iPhone or iPod tunes, AM/FM radio, or an MP3 player connected to one of the two AUX inputs. The Duo-i plus stores 10 FM and 5 AM stations.

Grab up to 60 minutes of snooze time by touching the 360-degree snooze bar around the edge of the radio instead of fumbling for a 'Snooze' button. With all sources, the volume gradually increases so you're not jolted out of deep sleep.

I like the large, easy to read display that adjusts brightness based on ambient room light and can be manually adjusted.

The BassTrac audio feature puts out plenty of mid-bass, but for truly deep bass response, connect a subwoofer to the Duo's sub output. A front panel headphone jack is included for private listening.

The remote controls power, source selection, volume/mute, five station presets and iPhone/iPod track functions. The remote control will stick to any magnetic surface making it easy to store and less likely to be misplaced.

The Duo-i plus has a composite video output for viewing photos or videos stored on your iPod or iPhone. The Duo-i plus is compatible with most iPod models and comes with several docking adapters.

The Duo-i is well-built with a quality look and feel and is available in a high gloss black or white finish. The radio can be customized with nine grille colors available for $14.99 on the Boston Acoustics website.

Performance

The Duo-i plus sounds more like a good mini stereo system than a typical clock radio. With its two rear bass ports and dual 3 ½" full-range speakers, the Duo-i plus has full, robust bass that belies its small size, even without a subwoofer. Some listeners might even want to dial-back the bass a bit depending on the source and where the system is placed, but the Duo-i plus is a great way to listen to or wake up to your favorite iPod tunes.

The Duo-i plus retains its time settings when unplugged or in the event of a power failure, a handy feature.

I found the AM tuner to be average but not great, although an external antenna helped improve AM reception a bit. AM radio is highly dependent upon atmospheric conditions and proximity to the broadcast antenna and the reception in the AM tuner in my review sample varied significantly depending on where it was placed.

FM reception was very good and the tuner had no difficulty in receiving almost all of the many stations in my area.

Conclusion

Clock radios with annoying buzzers are a thing of the past. The Boston Acoustics Duo-i plus gently awakens you to your favorite sounds and adds a bit of civility to the irritation of being awakened by an alarm. Its clock display is easy to read in the middle of the night when you open one eye to see how many precious minutes of sleep remain.

As a tabletop radio/docking station, the Duo-i plus offers good full range audio performance for iPod/iPhone music and FM radio. Like the Boston iDS3 system, it's easy to use, nicely styled and makes a great tabletop system for a bedroom, den, office or kitchen. I was a bit disappointed with AM radio reception, but your experience will likely depend on location and proximity to large metropolitan areas.

The Duo-i plus is reasonably priced and available on the Boston Acoustics website, through Boston dealers, or click on the Compare Prices link to find the best price. Suggested retail price of the Duo-i plus is $249.95. Boston also makes a variety of other tabletop and clock radio systems. Check them out at www.bostonacoustics.com.

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