Review Price £299.00
Switch to big beat specialists, The Prodigy, and bass heavy tracks like Omen and Spitfire can sound a little hollow. The near-surgical precision behind the Model S feels cold and pumping up the bass setting doesn't so much fix the problem as throw off the overall balance. Likewise heavy metal fans (like Ed!) will find the dock's lack of warmth to pull some of the emotion from classic screamers such as AC/DC and Guns N' Roses a little disappointing. None of this is to say the Model S is a bad dock, it merely has its own distinct identity which suits certain types of music better than others. Classical music, for example, sounds exhilarating and if you can tell your Bach from your Rachmaninoff there are few better docks on the market.
Given GenevaSound's sophisticated leanings it might surprise that the Model S can also crank out the decibels with the best of them. 2x 30W output means there's significantly more grunt than the excellent Bowers & Wilkins' Zeppelin Mini (2x 18W) and it is inline with the powerful - if equally dividing - Bose SoundDock Portable. The recently tested Aurb does remain top dog with a bombastic 2x 50W, but that shouldn't be a surprise given its far greater size (570 x 230 x 220mm, 5.4Kg). Make no mistake the Model S is as capable of powering a house party as providing easy listening on a Sunday afternoon.
Less commendable is the Model S remote. There is a disappointing trend of company's treating remote controls like a contemptuous afterthought (step forward Bose and - in terms of functionality, if not design - B&W) and GenevaSound is equally guilty. There is decent functionality: playback, volume, treble and bass, radio presets and alarms can all be accessed, but it feels cheaply built and cheap in hand. The kind of remote you'd buy in a pound shop. This is a shame - and a wider problem in general - because despite all the care spent on the design of today's cutting edge docks how we interact with them most is via the remote.
The Model S is too good to end on such a negative tone though so it is also worth pointing out that you'll also find an FM radio (early models had problems with the radio cutting in while the dock was idle, so watch for this and get it replaced) while you'll suffer no interference from your phone should you connect it via the Apple dock or - if not a Cupertino cult member - through the auxiliary input. Of course price may be an issue for many, but if you can identify with its musical preferences then it is worth every penny. Consequently we can't mark down the Model S on its audio quality, only its inflexibility. Know what you're buying and you can't go wrong.
The Model S is an extremely sophisticated dock full of design touches that will please owners and delight visitors. Performance will divide opinion based on your musical leanings and bass heads need not apply, but there are few sharper, more precise docks around. We'd love to give the Model S an unreserved recommendation, but its inflexibility means you must try before you buy.
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