Yamaha goes wireless for its iPod speaker debut

This little unit could revolutionise the way you think about iPod speaker systems. At first glance it looks like a conventional iPod dock, and you wonder why Yamaha didn't simply build it into its new PDX-50 speaker system (below), on the way for next year.

Then it's explained to you that the wire is simply there to charge the iPod, and that the unit attached to then player is a wireless sender, using the company's AIR Wired radio technology to transmit music and control signals back to the speaker unit.

It's at that point your jaw drops a little.

Powered from the iPod, the Yamaha unit lets you play music through the system across the room, while also controlling the volume of the sound from the touch wheel on the player. You can even turn the system on and off from your iPod.

The company claims the system has a latency of just 12ms, so you can even use it when watching movies or video clips on your iPod without lips getting all out of sync.

The PDX-50 launched in Japan a week ago, and will be in the UK next year, along with three other iPod speaker systems.

There's the TSX-130 (above) which combines alarm clock, CD and radio - the UK version will come with DAB/DAB+ reception -, and the TSX-120, which is a similar model but without the CD player. Instead it gets a 3.5mm stereo input jack.

These have a unique Beep + Music alarm mode - three minutes before your chosen alarm time, the system starts playing music, fading it up until the alarm itself sounds. Hit the snooze button and the alarm stops, but the music continues.

Both models use 8cm drive units and rear ports to deliver a superior sound, and on the showing they put up in the Hamamatsu demo room could create some waves in the iPod system market.

They're joined by a simpler dock speaker system, the PDX-30, which will be available in four colours including pink and blue. All four should launch in the UK next April.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.