Kanto SYD5BLK Powered Speaker
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This unit gathered immediate attention as soon as I pulled it out of the box. My 17-yr old son was extremely interested, as you might imagine, and he even wondered where it would be living at our place, since his older brother took the iPod dock with him when he went away to college. My wife even took notice, and she seldom pays much attention to technology that shows up at our place.
We have had this unit for about a week now, and we are extremely impressed by its sound quality! It has two 3" full-range speakers and a 5.25" woofer. These speakers are housed in an attractive white housing and fabric-covered front panel that is held in place by magnets. The back panel has bass reflex ports. That front panel is easily removed to expose the speakers, and is easily replaced. The unit also has a wide variety of dock adapters for every type of iPod, from first generation Nanos through iTouch and iPhone units, and it charges them too.
The Kanto can fill an entire room with sound. As I mentioned above, it provides better sound than any iPod dock I've ever heard, and it even provides better sound than just about any portable stereo I've heard. Of course, this is not going to be able to go head to head with a full-blown component stereo, but it does, in fact serve as our main sound system. I think this would be a fantastic sound system for an apartment or other housing option where space is at a premium. It has a footprint larger than most iPod docks at 22" x 8". Still it will fit nicely in most shelves.
The rear panel provides multiple options for audio input including the following: a standard 4-pin S-video input, and an auxilliary input and 3.5 mm to RCA audio input for non-iPod MP3 player connection. The back also houses the power on-off toggle switch and volume knob.
I give the unit 5 stars for sound quality and 5 stars for overall design and appearance.
In my opinion the main weakness with this unit is the controls. Here is why I rate the controls at only about 3 stars. The only controls you can access without the remote are the one-off toggle switch and volume knob, which are both on the back of the unit. As such, these aren't especially convenient to manipulate. All other controls are manipulated via the small remote control unit that comes in the box. If you lose the remote or it gets broken, your ability to manipulate some of the controls for this unit will be lost.
The remote allows you to do the following:
- change the volume (remote or by hand)
- increase or decrease the bass (remote only)
- increase or decrease the treble (remote only)
- mute the sound (remote only)
- change the input selection (remote only, as far as I can tell)
- and manipulate an iPod that is seated on the dock (remote or by hand - all functions)
iPod manipulation is complete via the remote. You can turn on the iPod's backlight so you can see the screen, rewind or go to the previous selection, fast forward ro go to the next selection, change the shuffle status, manipulate the iPod menus, and it even has an option that does the same thing as the iPod's wheel. But, the remote is the only way that these controls can be accessed (of course you can always use the wheel on the iPod directly).
Surprisingly there is no power on/off button on the remote - a large oversight in my opinion. So, when you are done listening and you want to turn the unit off you have to go over to it and reach around to the back and turn it off.
All in all we are extremely pleased with this unit and it's seen lots of service at our place already. I think that it may find its best niche as a primary sound system for a small apartment, but it will be sure to find a place in any home.
Worried about the price tag? Yes, it is up there. At $300+ it is a pricey unit, but I think the price is worth it for the sound.