Best iPod dock £150-£400, Awards 2011. Plenty to offer including unique streaming features, and recent price drop makes it even better valueWrite your own review
- Compact, solid build
- cohesive sound
- wireless options with multiroom potential
- more portable than most
- price cut
- Fairly lightweight
- vocals lack a touch of clarity
So confident is Arcam of its rCube iPod speaker dock that the company has been teaming up with selected dealers to offer home trials to potential customers.
It seems an eminently sensible ploy: it was our Award-winning model last year and hearing is believing.
Now there’s some fresh competition gunning for its title. And the rCube could be forgiven for feeling a little threatened. But to ward off its rivals, the price has just dropped £150 to £350.
The unit is portable in more than just size: a rechargeable battery delivers up to eight hours of sound and sets it apart in this test of mains-only devices.
Round the back you’ll find a choice of video outputs – the extravagance – with composite and component connections, though for the latter you’ll have to shell out for an Arcam adapter.
On the subject of accessories, you can also pay extra for Kleer wireless audio dongles – either a proprietary Apple-connection or USB – to stream audio from an Apple portable or your PC.
Wireless built in
There is also a neat wireless function built-in: buy two rCubes and you can stream from one to another.
One thing to consider is positioning. Arcam thinks it sounds best when placed in a corner, allowing the side-mounted mid/bass drivers to use the walls to boost bass. Used in open space, Arcam suggests you press the ‘bass’ boost button – which we found preferable.
Certainly, wherever you place it and no matter the adjustments you make, you won’t get the weight and scale of the likes of the B&W Zeppelin Air. Bass is taut and detailed however; being lighter on its feet allows for greater control and agility.
Small, but cohesive
Similarly, the compact size may mean a smaller sound than bigger docks, but the perk is an unbreakably cohesive delivery. The nuanced sound of I’ll Take Care Of U by Jamie XX and Gil Scott-Heron is delivered with subtlety and sufficient punch, even if voices aren’t quite as open and clean as the best we've heard.
The wireless connectivity between multiple rCubes and the strength of the optional Kleer dongles mean the Arcam should be on any shortlist.
At its old price of £500 we'd dropped the rCube to four stars given the strength of the competition. But that recent price cut makes it much better value, so it goes back up to the full five stars.