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It's not often the most intriguing feature of a product is its name. Sure, something like the EeePC has a fairly distinct name but at least it seems to fit the product. MPX&MPY, though, is just plain weird. However, there is at least some logic to it.
The left tower (in the picture below, which has them the wrong way round) contains an iPod dock, a downward facing sub-woofer, and amplifier circuitry, as well as the five speakers that run down its front. The left tower, on the other hand, consists of only what you can see; a tower with five speakers. Thus the French company, Voix, thought it would be a good idea to call them different names; the MPX and MPY, despite the fact you can't actually buy them separately. There's got to be a Franco-Anglo joke about the idiosyncrasies of this decision in there somewhere but for the sake of international relations I'll let it be - especially as I've already incorrectly pronounced the company's name in the video review.
Getting back on track, the Voix MPX&MPY, is essentially an iPod speaker dock but rather than going for the traditional compact, semi-portable design of many rivals, Voix has taken a very different approach. The two slender black towers are more akin to a pair of Hi-Fi speakers or to the many designer home cinema surround sound systems we see these days. In fact, pop an MPX and an MPY either side of your glossy black TV and you have a seriously nice looking setup that sounds decent, is simple to use and, considering the MPX&MPY only cost around £260, is cheap as well.
Of course, if you want the true home cinema experience you'll want to get a proper AV receiver/amplifier with a full surround setup but if all you currently have is the sound from your TV's speakers, you'll find just plugging the MPX&MPY into the line-out of your TV makes for a huge improvement. Then, of course, if you just want to listen to your iPod you don't need any other equipment. Just flip open the top of the MPX and away you go. It really is a great idea.
You don't have to use the MPX&MPY alongside a TV but we fail to see what the appeal of such a large and unwieldy setup would be when there are many more-compact and elegant alternatives that sound better.
The tall and thin stance and glossy black finish looks great from a distance or in the gloom of a dimly-lit TV watching environment. Up close and in the cold light of day, though, the origins of their relatively budget price is clear to see. While the main stems are made from a tough extruded plastic that does a good job of pretending to be aluminium, the glossy black sections that surround the speakers lack a quality feel and the iPod dock in particular looks messy. We also think the speaker grills look a little cheap.
The iPod dock uses a simple universal design that doesn't require replacement plastic inserts for each different iPod, so we definitely approve of that. However, the solution is by no means perfect. For a start, as mentioned, it looks rather cluttered but more worryingly is its complete lack of support for the iPhone. Not that official support for the iPhone is common - most docks require you to turn the iPhone to Airplane mode to prevent those annoying occasional squeaks and clicks that mobile phones can cause in audio equipment.
However, the MPX&MPY actually emits a loud and regular clicking sound as soon as you plug the iPhone in and this can't even be stopped by turning on Airplane mode. Considering the rapid uptake of iPhones amongst iPod users, this is obviously a huge oversight and is something that Voix needs to sort pronto - we'll keep you posted if a new version of the MPX&MPY that fixes this comes out.