Xitel movieCENTER for iPod Review
The Xitel movieCENTER for iPod offers just about everything you’d want from a docking system. The package includes the dock, a remote control, battery, mains adaptor, RCA audio cable, component and composite video cables, USB cable, and dock inserts; when you get the movieCENTER home, you probably won’t need to run back to the shops for that one essential cable. You can tell from those bundled cables that the Xitel offers audio, video, and slideshow output (with compatible iPods). The movieCENTER comes in black only, making for a cool 2001-monolith look when paired with an iPod touch or other black iPod. It’s not so good for those who have a non-black iPod and like everything to match. All dock connections are at the back, with only a small red light pointing towards the user. If connected to a wall socket, the dock will function in standalone mode, charging the iPod and providing audio/video output. If it’s connected to a computer, the dock’s powered by that instead.
The remote features volume and playback controls, but it also has two dedicated buttons for playlist navigation, and three that control the Xitel’s ‘home theater processing’. This processing is claimed to enhance iTunes music and movie audio using ‘psycho-acoustic frequency processing’, and ‘phase decoded speaker virtualization’. Goodness knows what these things mean, but we like the sound of them, and the results are great.
The manual recommends that the iPod’s equalizer should be off, as should any other processing you may have on your TV or sound system, so we began with these things off, and played some music first, pausing only to regret that the Xitel doesn’t output album artwork via video out. The processing does make a difference; presence and bass are increased, and it’s useful to be able to adjust the bass levels as required – this is especially handy for movies, as you can’t apply the iPod equalizer to them. It gives a more in-your-face sound – whether it reveals more ‘detail’ as claimed is more up for debate, though.
The movieCENTER is recommended, as long as it doesn’t duplicate functions you have elsewhere in your home-entertainment setup. Playlist browsing via remote control is a hit, as is the inclusion of all necessary cables, and the audio processing has a positive effect on most of the content you keep on your iPod.