Logic3 i-Station Rotate

Looking for a speaker system that matches the capabilities of your iPod Touch/iPhone? Logic3 may have the answer. I’ve spent the last few weeks using the i-Station Rotate to see if it can be meet my variety of music, podcasts and moods.

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With a compact design that sits nicely in the TechCast Bookcase, the i-Station Rotate offers a unique spin on the many speaker systems that have literally flooded the market since the iPod arrived several years ago.

The unique feature of the i-Station Rotate is that it makes use of Cover Flow, a feature built in to all iPod Touch and iPhone products. This gives you a nice integrated view of your music collection in an album art format. So you can easily flick through your music using the touchscreen whilst the media player is docked or for watching movies. But that’s not the only thing it does. Having your Touch/iPhone in this mode isn’t always going to be practical, as you may want to access other parts of your media player without interrupting your music.

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Normally, you would have to take the iPod off the dock if you didn’t want it in the horizontal format, thus interrupting your music. Not so with the i-Station Rotate. A built-in mechanism allows you to physically rotate the iPod from a horizontal position to the upright position. When I was testing this feature, I just thought to myself that this was an ‘aha’ moment. It’s simple, effective and useful and yet I hadn’t seen it done any of the other speaker systems.

The front of the i-Station Rotate features a metal grille and buttons for the power and volume and the overall feel of the build quality is solid and well-built. One nice element to note is that the design doesn’t encompass the use of any glossy plastic – which would be a big no-no for a product like this if it’s going to be used whilst travelling. It would be ruined before you even arrived at the airport.

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Sound quality from the i-Station Rotate is clear and crisp with a hint of bass. The clarity comes courtesy of the speaker separation, which is key to delivering good sound reproduction. There’s no distortion in the audio even at the higher volumes, and vocal chords in the high range is where the i-Station Rotate excels. The net result of the design is that this is one of the best sounding compact speaker systems I’ve reviewed so far.

Not everyone listens to their music in the same as I do, but on occasion I do like to pump up the volume and just listen to the music as loud as my ears can take. The i-Station Rotate isn’t so good for that kind of listening mood, but that’s not to say it can’t provide volume for when you need it. If you’re lucky enough to be hitting the beach this Summer and you want to take the i-Station Rotate with you, then you’ll be glad to know that it can power itself from 4 AA batteries.

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For iPhone 3G owners, the i-Station Rotate carries the Works with iPhone badge. This means that the speakers are shielded from radio interference that come from mobile phones. The reason why I say it works for 3G iPhone owners is because the shielding works best for them with virtually no interference audible. First generation iPhone owners aren’t so lucky, but you will still benefit from the shielding but it’s not completely removed from the background. However, if you’ve ever listened to music using your iPhone on a speaker system without the shielding, you’ll appreciate any reduction in interference from the radio signals.

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Around the back of the speaker are a couple of extra ports that you may find handy to have. The i-Station Rotate comes with a line-in audio and video out ports for feeding audio in from other devices and sending video out. Great if you’re in a hotel room and you brought some movies with you on your Touch/iPhone.

Included in the box is a collection of dock holders, line-in cable, carrying case, mains power and infra-red remote control. The remote provides basic playback and volume controls as well as menu functionality.

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Overall, the Logic3 i-Station Rotate delivers a surprisingly good listening experience despite its compact design. The price might be an issue for some as it’s in the upper-end of the spectrum for speaker dock systems of this size and capability. However considering its feature set, the quality of audio reproduction and its Works for iPhone certification, I believe the price can be justified if you’re looking for a decent compact speaker system.

2009-04-29 Onwah Tsang

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