Review Price £299.00
A further knock-on effect of this space saving tech is it allows Sony to squeeze in larger speakers and the V75 has 2x 20W drivers for a total output of 40W as opposed to the 20W Teac was able to fit inside the NS-X1. Of course this isn't remotely close to the larger premium audiophile docks like the Monitor Audio i-deck 200 (140W), Audyssey South of Market (200W), B&W Zeppelin Air (160W) and Libratone Live (150W), but they clearly aren't who Sony sees as direct rivals. The V75 is a fashion product.
The good news is the V75's audio performance isn't entirely style over substance. The bad news is it still leaves a lot to be desired. On the plus side delivery is immediately warm and bassy (the near-defacto sound signature employed these days) and 40W, while not window shaking, is loud enough for a bedroom or kitchen. The trouble is over a longer period of listening it also becomes apparent that the V75 lacks both deep lows and detailed highs with audio sounding clipped of its extremes. This impacts all genres of music and the array of equaliser options (Rock, Pop, Jazz, Classic, Vocal, Hip Hop, Flat) are hefty, stereotypical jumps when more subtle adjustment is needed.
Another concern is the stereo separation. Despite its wide form factor, the V75 has a near mono delivery. This isn't the end of the world, but it is a problem when the lows and highs leave a lot to be desired creating a muffled end result. Meanwhile Bluetooth suffers from the omission of aptX (which was so successful in the NAD Viso 1) so wireless playback is noticeably downgraded compared to direct connection to the dock or when playing a CD.
It is important to stress here that for the design the V75 sounds better than you might expect (and it is a step up on the equally gaunt NS-X1), but take that caveat out and it doesn't impress.
Here we hit the second snag of a fashion product: price. A well made, very thin dock which sounds good for its dimensions is fine at the right price, but with an official RRP of £299 that drops it into the same category of the likes of the Monitor Audio i-deck 200 (£250) and Audyssey South of Market (£299). Both docks are streets ahead of the V75 in terms of performance and while they aren't uber thin, their actual footprints aren't significantly bigger. This causes Sony a headache because while it may not consider these models as rivals, we do.
The Sony V75 is an impressive feat of engineering. The attractive ultra slim design suggests yelling into a tin can would produce better sound quality, but it is actually reasonably loud and fairly bassy. The trouble is in reality the size saving isn't huge compared to many premium docks and at £300 it is priced among a number of audiophile gems. Thin may be 'in' for many sectors of technology, but when it comes to audio no-one has yet cracked the compromise in price/performance.
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