Yamaha’s portable iPhone dock oozes street cred, but does it dish out worthy sound?Every now and then you find yourself in a store gravitating towards a product you – up until that moment – had no intention of buying. Such is the charm of Yamaha’s PDX-11, an octagonal iPhone/iPod speaker dock that exudes attitude and will no doubt pick off shopaholics.
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Its shaped like an octagonal prism, except the octagon on the back is smaller, giving it somewhat of a vertex. It makes no attempt to apologise for this shape though, choosing to yell about it through a variety of bright colours and a complementary metallic steel grill. On its back are an auxiliary (3.5mm) input and a 12V power port. On top you’ll find an Apple iDevice 30 point pin, volume keys, a power button and a stainless steel carry grip that begs to be handled.
Seeing as it weighs a feeble 1.5kgs, it’s no chore to grab it and take it with you on whichever outdoor expedition you have planned. To do so simply requires six AA batteries and the patience of onlookers seeing as it blasts enough audio to get heads turning.
This sonic frenzy comes from a 4″ speaker and a tweeter companion, which together produce startling sound. Pop it inside any room and the enthusiastic dock fills it with rich audio, perky on the bass end and potent enough in the mid-to-high range. Putting up the volume to ‘max’ will see the treble clutter up, but by then the speaker is doing so much more than its due diligence, choosing to out additional volume at the expense of clarity. It is as lively as a child, producing tasteful sound that bounces off the walls vibrantly.
Take it outside and the dock rolls with the acoustic differences, playing songs back with less offensive bass and tamed tonality. It sounds balanced, skilfully replaying music with little distortion but riddled with body. It really delivers more than sound, with cranked volume serving up contagious atmosphere.
Admittedly genres characterised by an absence of bass (we’re thinking lonely vocals) tend to suffer on the PDX-11, seeing as it lacks the kind of maturity its (significantly) more expensive counterparts have to offer. But more often than not we’d pick this jovial dock over its restrained rivals, only too happy to load it with alkaline batteries for our days at the beach until they gave way after some six or so hours.
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When it runs out of juice, simply take it home and plug the power in. It’ll charge your Apple iPhone/iPod while effortlessly replaying your tunes, which can also be managed wirelessly via the included remote control.
On its own merit, the PDX-11 is a great docking system that manages to become even more attractive with its bang-for-buck $129 price. It’s hard to think of rival docks that ooze comparable audio prowess, let alone one that looks so darn good.