- Good value, attractive design
- Sound quality is not especially impressive
If you're not overly worried about audio quality, and are looking for a simple and attractive way to play your iPod on speakers, then the Philips MCM108D provides a very affordable answer.
Price$ 209.95 (AUD)
Philips has released its new MCM108D Mini Hi-Fi with the hope of riding the success of Apple's iPod series, by designing a unit specifically to interface with the iPod, as well as the range of Philips GoGear audio players. While most audiophiles will probably want to give this product a miss, it's a cheap and easy way to play an iPod on a HiFi system. With AM/FM radio, CD support and the standard range of Hi-Fi sleep, clock and timer functions, Philips has really packed a lot into a unit that comes in at just over $200 RRP.
Audio quality on the player is quite reasonable considering the price bracket, but is by no means impressive. High and mid ranges are relatively clear, with minimal distortion and fuzziness, although this increased at higher volumes. The lack of a subwoofer means that low frequency bass sounds are barely noticeable; this is definitely not a floor shaking unit.
The unit's real selling point is its support for the iPod and GoGear mp3 players. A dock, along with eight adaptors (enough to fit any iPod or GoGear on the market, save the shuffle) comes included, and plugs directly into the back of the unit. Connecting your mp3 player to the HiFi is as simple as plugging it into the dock, and then hitting play to listen to your music. The included remote control allows cycling through both albums and tracks, making song selection quite easy, even if a little time-consuming for those with large music libraries. However, it should be noted that the remote control doesn't control CD playback functions, and that the front panel must be used to play, pause, stop or skip CD tracks.
One of the more pleasing aspects of the system is its design. The central unit, along with two speakers, are all encased in white plastic, with simple controls. The entire ensemble resembles the iPod, and would look quite attractive in most lounge rooms or bedrooms. Although black iPods don't exactly match the all-white colour scheme, we still found the end result to be quite aesthetically pleasing. The three sections of the unit have a good height to width ratio, at 15cm x 15cm each, allowing the whole package to fit easily in the average bookshelf. Users planning to use the CD tray, however, should note that it adds another 10 to 11 centimetres of height when fully opened, so make sure to allow for this when deciding its placement.
The controls are fairly easy to master, with the exception of the radio tuning dial, which is hard to control. After selecting our radio station the dial would often settle itself, shifting the tuning one or two points up or down. While this is nothing major, it did end up degrading the reception slightly, bringing annoying static into radio broadcasts about twenty seconds after we switched to them. Buttons would have been a more practical method of cycling through radio bands.
In the end, the MCM108D is great value for its price, and is a good option for anyone who wants to listen to their iPod on big speakers without spending too much money. Essentially, if you're happy with the sound reproduction on your regular iPod earphones, you won't have too many beefs with this product.
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