One of the most challenging issues for any iPod speaker dock is this: how do you get a big sound from something small enough to sit on the average sideboard or bookshelf? The likes of BOSE, Klipsch and JBL manage it through careful acoustic engineering, squeezing some kind of warmth and bass response out of a box that's seemingly too small for any such thing. Other systems, like the Fatman iTube or the Altec Lansing Octiv Air, get around it by splitting the dock from the speaker, meaning you can place the dock somewhere convenient and have larger speakers wherever you want them.
Our jolly German chums at Teufel, however, have taken the third route, putting a standard-sized speaker dock together with an outboard subwoofer to make a speaker dock that - at its best - sounds a lot larger than it looks. Hide the sub away and choose your music carefully, and friends and family members simply won't believe that something as small as the iTeufel can dish out such a hale and hearty noise.
I know from reading Danny's reviews of Teufel's home cinema equipment that the company puts a great deal of effort into stylish design, but I'm not sure the iTeufel is one of the company's most successful endeavours. The dock itself is crafted from high-gloss plastic with a metallic mesh over the drivers.
The distinctive Teufel logo looms a little too large, distracting attention from what should be the focal point: a swish metallic volume knob surrounded by a glowing volume indicator. And while it has been the fashion with recent docks to cradle your iPod securely within the body of the case, the iTeufel leaves it sticking out of the top by an inch or two. Nor is that iPod held in place by any fancy-pants mechanism, just a standard-issue iPod dock adaptor.