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One of the things I like about Sony is that – most of the time – it’s realistic about conditions in the market. How else could you explain this premium PC desktop speaker set which doubles as a dock, not for Sony’s own excellent Walkman players, but Apple’s more successful iPod line? In fact, this is a fantastically sensible product all-round, combining a USB PC speaker system with an iPod charging cradle, and allowing you to output PC and iPod audio and sync your iPod with iTunes all using the same bundle.
There’s no need to have multiple speaker systems in your living room or study, and no reason to fiddle around with lightweight cradles or USB cables. Instead, there’s always somewhere to keep your iPod charged and synced, and you can use the Apple player as your main music source with your PC switched off. It makes you wonder why so few manufacturers have tried something like this before.
The SRS-GD50iP system consists of four main components; a dock/control station which connects to your PC or notebook via USB, two 10W satellite speakers and a 40W subwoofer. The satellites are compact cubes which, thanks to their simple grille and matt-black finish, are very discrete. The subwoofer, meanwhile, is a similarly understated passive effort which could easily be mistaken for an old-fashioned bookshelf Hi-Fi speaker.
The control station is the really interesting bit, with the iPod dock sitting above a large rotary volume control which sits flush with the casing, with a circular red volume indicator inching steadily around it as you push the level upwards. Call me superficial, but I think it’s the coolest iPod cradle that I’ve ever seen.
At the rear of the control station you’ll find standard 3.5mm jack outputs for the satellite speakers, and a proprietary connector for the sub. The system is powered by a 19V external brick, and there’s also a 3.5mm line-in jack for use with other media players or (with the right adaptor) a games console.