The Jamo i300 is the most like a set of PC speakers from the iPod docks available, yet is so versatile it could also be pressed into service as a stereo replacement.
Unlike the other decks we’ve seen, the i300’s dock is separate from the sub, meaning much more flexibility of placement. There is also a sub control on the dock station, but we found the default setting the best for music. One other feature we liked was that using the 3.5mm input doesn’t disable the iPod – so you can still use your computer and listen to the iPod, for example.
The satellites are the star of the show, and are surprisingly wide-ranging for such small speakers – though don’t throw out your floorstanders yet. The sound sparkles, and the amount of detail is obvious over the tweeter-less Apple iPod Hi-fi system. Stereo imaging is pinpoint-sharp, and easily the best of its competitors.
Bass is also strong, and so dance, funk and soul alike rock and rumble along. But if there’s one problem with the sound, it’s one that’s common with most sub/sat systems – a distinct hole in the lower mids. There is a slight lack of cohesion between the sub and satellites, due to a relatively low crossover at 150Hz. The satellites feature a 3in driver, and pure physics mean that these woofers won’t be able to fully reproduce such low frequencies.
These disparities were most evident on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Red Right Hand, where the musicality of the bass line was overpowered by the amount of sub-bass. However, higher up the spectrum, the same song exhibited detail that was amongst the best we’ve heard on such a system, with the tubular bell in particular sounding purer than on anything we’ve tested recently, bar a pair of $20k electrostatic speakers! Praise indeed.
But these are small niggles, and as we said, par for the course for systems like this.
The Jamo i300 is essentially a grown-up multimedia system, which isn’t such a bad thing. Computer sound has suffered too long as the poor cousin to home theatre, and we suspect units such as the i300 will help redress this balance. This is an excellent piece of kit.
Jamo i300 | $599 |
For: excellent sound; flexible; stylish
Against: Weak low-mid response
Verdict: A close contest, but this is the best system for music, and will also work as a PC or home theatre kit.