InTempo iDS-05 Review
InTempo’s latest iPod speaker system, the iDS-05, is a well-thought-out solution for music playback around the home, though a little bulky for use as a portable system.
The box contains the speakers, a selection of interchangeable dock adapters for different iPod models, an AC adaptor to power the system from the mains, a remote control, and a 3.5mm line-in cable, so you can use it with the iPod shuffle and other devices unequipped with an iPod dock.
The black plastic system (also available in white) is moulded into one solid block, so it doesn’t fold for travel. Dimensions are 230 x 122 x 940mm and it weighs 1.2kg, making it a little bulky compared to other portable systems available, though by no means so large that it’s impossible to carry with you on your travels. But the iDS-05 isn’t really a portable solution as it’s exclusively powered by the mains.
Pumping on the stereo
At the front of the unit, the system hosts a centrally mounted iPod dock (protected by a removable cover when not in use). Volume controls are on the dock. A pair of stereo speakers sit to the left and right of the iPod when it’s slotted into place. Also at the front is an activity light. This glows blue when the system is in use, red when on standby, and flashes when it receives instructions from the supplied 12-function remote control.
The back of the device hosts the power in, line-in and USB ports and a subwoofer speaker, which does a stout job reinforcing bass.
The system benefits from the inclusion of a USB port, meaning you can use it as a dock to sync any compatible iPod. That the system works with any audio playback device using the included 3.5mm line-in port (and cable) is advantageous.
The black plastic infra-red remote control doesn’t exactly advance notions of modern aesthetic design, but does support most of the functions you want from an iPod speaker system. Larger than an iPod nano, it’s a rectangular block with rounded corners. We like its size because it means you’re unlikely to lose it under a pile of papers or down the back of the sofa with the i-XD’s remote control. When you send a command to the speaker, the front-mounted blue activity light flashes to show the instruction has been received.
The remote offers power on/standby for the speaker, skip forward and back, a play/pause button, volume up and down controls, and dedicated controls to tweak bass and treble outputs. To tweak bass or treble levels you must press the relevant control once, and then press either the volume up or down controls within two seconds; volume controls otherwise affect overall sound output levels.
The volume controls are at the centre of the remote to the right and left of a central button marked with a circle. This button lets you navigate through the album artwork, star ratings and so on of a song playing on the iPod, and also lets you select playlists or specific tracks when used in conjunction with the Menu button that’s also on the remote, and the Up/Down buttons which let you move within playlists. This means you can use the remote to find the exact track you want to play. Unlike some speaker systems, users can also navigate iPod song contents manually using the iPod Click Wheel.
We’re impressed by the quality of sound. InTempo has equipped the system with two 3W stereo speakers and a 9W subwoofer for total sound output of 15W. After using it for two days we realised it does a very capable job.
Speakers don’t suffer from tinniness, and offer good sound separation, and excellent bass. At the price, though, (£59.99), there are more powerful systems you can pick up from brands such as Logitech, Gear4, or JBL.
On the other hand, the iDS-05’s sound quality is good, with little distortion, even at high volumes. You can expect pretty decent sound, loud enough and equipped with sufficient sound quality to provide the music in any small room.
It won’t replace any dedicated entertainment system but for general use we think most users will be satisfied with the audio quality. That you can tweak bass and treble levels for better playback is a fairly unique feature – one that’s criminally rare in many competing iPod speaker systems.
This may not be the most aesthetically beautiful solution available, but it offers acceptable sound reproduction and ships with a good remote control. It’s not the toughest system available (don’t drop it), but for general use it shouldn’t disappoint any iPod user who ends up with one, though more powerful systems are widely available.