Where there are numerous brands of portable music players, it has to be said that it is the iPod family that has the street cred to leave the opposition trailing in its wake. The popularity of the various iPod devices can not only be seen in the impressive sales figures racked up by Apple but also the number of products that have been developed to enhance the functionality of this easily recognisable white portable player by third party companies. Joining the ranks of iPod peripherals is the CyrusLink LinkDock.
However, before getting to the actual product, let me take a few moments to wave the flag especially for those, like me, who have not heard of this particular company before. CyrusLink is a sister company of Cyrus Audio with its headquarters based near Cambridge. The company is in the business of designing audio, video and multi-room components.
The LinkDock product, as its title implies, is a docking station for the iPod and can also be used to link Apple's portable music player to an external loudspeaker or HiFi system. Measuring 11 x 21 x 10cm (H x W x D) and, not unnaturally, coloured white, this ear-shaped device has its own output capabilities using its Neodymium and alloy speaker technology and built-in amplifier. The actual speakers are covered by wired mesh.
The iPod sits in a centrally mounted docking station. Various adapters are provided for the iPod 3G, 4G, 5G, Mini and Nano but not the Shuffle (you will need to provide an appropriate adapter for the Shuffle - I would recommend the adapter developed by Belkin for this purpose). The supplied adapters are concealed within the polystyrene packaging.
Buttons for master volume up and down control decorate the front of the LinkDock along with an IR receiver window and power light indicator. Power for the LinkDock is provided from the mains using the supplied AC power adapter with its bulky and heavy brick attachment. The power on/off switch is located at the rear of the LinkDock. The rear is also where you will find the sockets for power connection and linking to external equipment. As with the Shuffle adapter, you will need to provide the leads for linking to external devices.
Earlier I mentioned that an IR receiver was positioned on the front of the LinkDock. This receiver allows you to communicate with the iPod using a supplied remote control powered by a 3V Lithium battery. The remote, yes it is white, allows you to navigate the iPod menu plus adjust volume level, bass and treble. However, due to the slightly concave nature of the LinkDock, the remote control does need to be held in a raised position in order for it to communicate with the iPod via the LinkDock. Of course you could place the LinkDock on the floor to get round this inconvenience but that might not always be practical.
Output quality from the LinkDock is reasonable within its limitation of 4W per speaker while extra output power can be achieved by connecting to a HiFi system or external amplifier. The LinkDock will also recharge the iPod while it is docked. CyrusLink has priced the LinkDock at ú70 which seems slightly high to me especially as you have to provide the leads for connecting to a HiFi system.
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