It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a big part of the iPod’s popularity hinges on the fact that it let’s you take all—or nearly all— of your music along with you, whenever and wherever you wish. This is great for those times when you want to listen in private and on the go, but what about those moments when you’re at home and want to share your music with others? When those occasions arise, Monitor Audio’s gorgeous little $349 i-deck should be just what the doctor ordered.
If you’re familiar with the many, tiny, toy-like iPod-compatible powered speaker systems available in big retail chains, then you need to understand from the outset the ideck is really not very much like any of them—and that’s a good thing. The i-deck may be playful, but it is certainly no toy; instead, it’s more accurate to think of the i-deck as a miniature high-end audio system that’s been built on the compact scale of the iPod, itself. I realize it probably seems wacky to suggest that a $349 audio system has any “high-end” qualities at all, but the i-deck actually does. Permit me to explain.
Where most iPod systems provide speakers that are extremely modest— often ones that started life as add-on units intended for use with PCs, the i-deck comes with what are essentially a pair of two-way, high-performance (but low cost) mini-monitors. This isn’t too surprising, really, when you consider that Monitor Audio is a veteran British speaker manufacturer with a proud history of innovative design. Accordingly the i-deck speakers feature drive units that borrow exotic materials technologies originally developed for Monitor Audio’s much more costly high-end speakers. For example, the i-deck speakers feature 3/4" gold-coated polymer ring dome tweeters reminiscent of those used in Monitor’s big floorstanders, and 4” MMP2 mid-bass drivers. One reason the i-deck sounds better than other iPod systems is that it starts out with an inherently more sophisticated set of speakers than most competitors offer.