Audio performance

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR
Monitor Audio i-deck 200


Our Score:


Further adding to the Monitor Audio i-deck 200's prowess is the inclusion of an in-built DAC (digital to analogue converter), something that only the upper echelons of the iPod dock competition include. This bypasses the circuitry of the iPhone/iPod/iPad (deemed substandard for audiophiles) and takes the digital signal directly, using its own 28/56 bit dual precision processing to do the heavy lifting.

Also, an innovative Automatic Position Correction (APC) system configures the output of the i-deck 200 depending on where it is positioned. In the rear of the i-deck 200 is a mic which produces three frequencies pulses (70, 85 and 100 hertz) and their reverberations help the dock determine if it is near a wall or corner. If the power button flashes once no correction is added, twice shows it is compensating for being placed near a wall and three times if placed near a corner. APC only kicks in if the i-deck 200 has been disconnected from the mains as this leads it to assume it has been moved.

All of which suggests Monitor Audio should have created a superb sounding premium dock, and thankfully it has.

In creating the i-deck 200 Monitor Audio has shot for a highly detailed, yet powerful dock with a very flat response. The outcome is just that. The role of the onboard DAC cannot be stressed enough as the i-deck 200 takes even low bitrate music and polishes it to produce outstanding results. Playback is precise yet powerful with the 2.2 configuration ensuring sound holds together even at its window shaking maximum volume. Feed the i-deck 200 320kbps or lossless audio and obviously results leap forward again. In particular acoustic and classical music spring to life, though it handles rock, dance and 'big beats' with equal ease.

Key to this is the APC, a godsend for casual audiophiles, as it does succeed in adjusting output no matter where we move the i-deck 200. From living room table to bedroom corner to bookshelf, we were unable to fool the APC and this will be a real boon for listeners who prefer to arrange their audio around their furniture than vice versa.

If there is a snag it is that the i-deck 200 uses a Bass Level Management (BLM) system to optimise sound balance at lower listening volumes. This can be slightly crude at times, essentially working like a bass boost system, but only the pickiest will notice - and most will appreciate that music still has oomph even when listening at low volume level. Happily Monitor Audio avoids the trap we spotted with the Soundfreaq 2.2 Sound Stack, which chased accuracy and control at the expense of emotion. The Sound Stack remains a fine dock, but the i-deck 200 will do an equally fine job of keeping its composure yet at the same time raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

The smaller i-deck 100 offers similar levels of detail and openness but falls down when it comes to bass delivery, making it sound a bit weedy for hard hitting music such as rock and dance. The i-deck 200, though, fills these gaps nicely, making it suitable for all music types.


February 14, 2012, 2:32 am

I have to disagree a little with your assessment right now that there is nothing on the market to touch the i-deck 200.
The Audyssey South of Market dock is available for £250 in Ireland (not sure about UK) which I think would give some pretty stiff competition to this dock.


February 14, 2012, 3:16 am

@Shaggy, I don't believe that dock is available in England right now, but I shall do my best to track it down. Very little information is provided on the website itself to be able to make a judgement (have you heard the two side by side?). That said in weighing just 2.3Kg it would be a remarkable achievement if it competes with docks that are twice its size and weight.


February 14, 2012, 4:18 pm

@Gordon394 meant to say very interesting review of the i-deck. Audyssey dock is available on amazon uk and apple uk stores (@ £300 though!). The Audyssey weighs 4.1Kg (, just under the i-deck 200. I haven't heard them side by side but would be great if you could do a comparison of them.


August 14, 2012, 7:53 pm

You asked, here it is! A review of the Audyssey South of Market dock and compared to all rivals including the i-deck 200 :)


December 2, 2012, 12:25 am

Interesting review, but it should be noted that whilst the Audyssey dock is still around the £250 mark on Amazon, the iDeck 200 is now down to £149 which I'd imagine now settles the question of which is the one to go for.

It also raises the questions of whether the iDeck 200 was a £400 product reduced to £250, was an overpriced £250 product reduced to it's real worth, or an overpriced £400 product reduced to £150, or a £250 product reduced to a bargain price of £150, or an over priced £250 product reduced to it's real value of £150!

While anyone else tries figuring this out, I'm off to order one, or maybe an iDeck 100 now at £80?

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