What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 3 Jun 2008, 5:00pm

Griffin Evolve

Tested at £250
60100
3

It gets the second-most important aspect of its performance – wireless music – spot on. The most important aspect is a little less successful

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For

  • Nicely made
  • very effective over long distances
  • can sound punchy and solid

Against

  • Can sound clamorous
  • not the most explicit music-maker

If ever a  product represented the triumph of convenience, it's the iPod. So it's only fitting that someone should create a wireless iPod docking system – after all, what could be more convenient than picking up your loudspeakers and carrying them to whatever part of the house (or garden) you wanted them in, without being encumbered by cable?

The Griffin Evolve can make your wireless dreams a reality, and without inconveniencing your wallet too badly. Your iPod (any one bar the Shuffle) docks into the middle of the steel-and-plastic plinth, where it's flanked by a pair of almost-perfectly cuboid loudspeakers.

The speakers connect to the plinth through three recessed pins – that's how they charge their batteries. So with your iPod in place and playing, you simply pick up a speaker or two and put them where you fancy.

Griffin claims a range of 150 feet, and we believe it – we carried our speakers right through our suite of listening rooms (and therefore through the sort of radio interference more common at international airports) and out into the car park without losing sound.

Safety first
When we first listened to the Griffin Evolve in June, we observed that its sound was bettered by similarly priced rivals with less exciting specifications.

But despite the Griffin still being the best wireless iPod system we've heard, its shortcomings are thrown into sharper relief in a Group Test.

Receiving a 320kbps file of Dr John's Can't Git Enuff, the Evolve plays things safe through the midrange – the voice lacks a little detail and character.

This reticence is accentuated by the somewhat brash top end – cymbal sounds and the like are too splashy, and the midrange cowers as a result.

Switching to Chuck Carbo's Can I Be Your Squeeze? allows the Griffin to show off its bottom-end prowess: it's deep and solid, but isn't as overblown or ponderous as other, less capable systems.

As you'd expect, positionable speakers allow the Evolve to do good work where stereo imaging is concerned, but the system has a relatively confined ‘sweet spot' beyond which music loses focus.

The Griffin has a lot to recommend it as a wireless iPod solution – but where out-and-out sound quality is concerned, it can't worry the best here.  

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