True professional sound quality always comes at a price, but sometimes it’s worth it if only to experience your favourite songs in a way you’ve never heard before.
Decked out in glossy black, the i30 from Tannoy offers a minimalist design in the hope that you will be blown away by the quality of the sound it reproduces. Out of the box experience Tannoy was careful to ensure that the ‘unboxing’ experience, made ever so famous by various tech sites photographing every step of the unboxing process. It’s always a nice extra touch when a manufacturer puts a little extra care in the packaging of their product and ensuring that the owner is delighted at how easy it was to set the whole thing up. Tannoy have done this with the i30 by organising the bits and pieces in a box within the main packaging and adding friendly labels such as ‘the kit’ and ‘the bits’.
Inside the ‘bits’ box, you will find the various iPod docking plates to fit the various iPod sizes of past and present. Included in the box is a USB cable for connecting this speaker system straight in to you PC or Mac and using it as an iPod dock, a composite video cable and 3.5 – 3.5mm audio jack for feeding audio in to the system from an external device.You will also find a couple of novelty pin badges so you can walk the streets and proudly say you’re the owner of a Tannoy product.DesignWith no buttons on the actual speaker system itself and all the connections hidden at the back, the i30 achieves a clean look with a flat front and oval back, making it look deceptively thinner than it actually is when viewed from the front.
You also wont find any LEDs on this system, not a single status indicator is available to let you know if this system is on or off.Tannoy has designed the i30 to power down when the iPod is removed from the system or if you manually shut it down using the infrared remote.The remote that comes in the package offers basic controls like skip, volume, mute and power functionality. Some infrared remotes do require good direct line of sight, however the one that comes bundled with this speaker system, which is always a bonus because it’s one of the most annoying things that can happen when the remote doesn’t respond to the first touch.
With the i30 I can have my back turned to the speaker system and still be able to use the remote even though it’s pointing in the opposite direction.At the rear you will also find a couple of screw holes for wall mounting the entire system to the wall. This makes sense since the flat front design would easily blend in to the walls and although I’m not about to get the tool kit out, I think it would look quite good ‘floating’ against the wall.
Sound qualityI’ve played everything from Snow Patrol to Usher on this speaker system plus more. Music wise the Tannoy rocks out with a good level of bass and the right level of treble. The i30 also supports a line in powered connection, which is good news for those who want to use this for more than just an iPod speaker dock.I have been using the i30 as a speaker system for my XBOX 360 and have played games like Bioshock, Halo 3 and Project Gotham Racing 4. The impressive flexibility in these speaker systems meant that I was able to enjoy these games using the i30 as opposed to the speakers built in to the screen I’m using, which are terrible.
For those who love to blast audio until the neighbours complain, the i30 is more than capable of satisfying those needs with an impressive level of volume using the two four-inch drive units operating at 88dB. Running the i30 at the most absolute top level does distort the sound however you reach impressive levels before it gets even close to this point.ConclusionImpressive. The i30 fits the needs for my current living arrangements so it’s earned a place in the tiny room I’m renting.The smart but neat design, excellent sound quality and support for powered line-in has won me over, however with a price tag of around £250 it’s a hard sum to swallow since similar systems can be found at a cheaper price.
So many of these iPod speaker systems lack the ability for any control over the equaliser. It would have been nice if Tannoy gave us the option to customise the settings to suit the type of audio being played, however I do understand that specialist speaker manufacturers have their own processes for fine tuning their speakers to give the best all round sound and would rather you didn’t mess with such a delicate process.