TwinMOS Boom China Review
It’s simple really. The market is saturated with futuristic-looking iPod speaker systems, so how do you create a product that stands out? Imagine the board meeting – ‘what the world needs is a sub-woofer that looks like a vase’. It must have happened, because that’s what we’ve got – in the form of the Boom China from TwinMOS.
Up close, it’s pure pound-shop chic. According to the TwinMOS website: “it has been designed to blend effortlessly into your home interior.” We’ll judge that for ourselves, thank you. The calligraphy on the side is supposedly a poem, the English translation of which is printed on the box lid – something about dragonflies and summertime…
The vase has a small opening at the top – where you could add some plastic flowers, perhaps – while below we have the downwards-firing 25W bass speaker, and a cable for connection to the other iPod dock and small stereo speakers (8W per channel), as well as a USB port for connecting older iPod shuffles, and volume controls. At the rear, there’s an input for the AC power supply, the on-off switch, an audio input minijack, RCA video input, and a phono connection.
No effort’s been made to integrate the dock section into the Chinese vibe – it’s strictly generic, and is used in other TwinMOS speaker packages. Same goes for the remote control – it’s generic to the point of featuring a Bluetooth button, which doesn’t work at all with this product. Thoughtfully, the remote features separate volume controls for the stereo and bass speakers, which is useful when setting the system up.
On a more positive note, the box includes a stereo extension cable and a RCA (composite) video cable. The iPod will go into play mode as soon as you dock it. Sound quality is quite average – the small speakers on their own are clock-radio standard, with very little in the way of stereo imaging. The vasewoofer does its job of boosting the bottom end while remaining quite woolly. As always you have a lot of freedom when it comes to positioning subwoofers – they’re not really directional, and they can go under a desk, but this vase design looks out of place on the floor. It’s a shame that this isn’t a wireless system like Griffin Technology’s Evolve – then the vase could be stowed on a shelf without trailing cables giving the game away.
By way of contrast, we compared the Boom China with Harman-Kardon’s Soundstick II speakers, a system that features two satellite speakers and a subwoofer (with a very different transparent sci-fi look), and goes for around £130 – though it doesn’t include any kind of iPod dock. The Harmans sound a lot more expansive, thanks to the movable satellite speakers – there’s a lot more definition to the sound.
We hooked the Boom China up to a TV, and the composite video-out worked adequately, but the speakers don’t add much to the viewing experience – though the vase gave us some extra low-end thump.
Despite what you might think from our complaints, we do like the Boom China, and we applaud the audacity of the design. We just wish it sounded better, and it had a more suitably themed docking station and remote – maybe something in a little bamboo box next time? And of course we want a wireless connection to the subwoofer – imagine a totally stand-alone Chinese vase emitting low bass tones from a shelf… We should have been in that board meeting.
We enjoyed having the Boom China around, but maybe it’s something that should be admired from afar. The next version should include wireless connectivity and better sound. The Boom China is fun, but at this price, and in such a competitive market, we can’t really recommend it as a sensible purchase.