Cambridge Audio iD100 review
Cambridge Audio iD100 reviewT3
Exclusive: Audiophile-grade docking for iPhones and iPads
We all know the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are powerful media playback devices. Not only are they backed by the digital content behemoth that is iTunes, but there’s the endless possibilities to turn them into anything from an internet radio to a TV streamer via apps. As portable entertainment-givers, few rival their flexibility. However, getting iContent off and onto your AV kit can be fiddlier - we've seen plenty of crumby examples. Apple TV (£101) is the most slick, offering a closed-wall wireless solution, but Cambridge Audio has risen to the challenge and attacked the audiophile end of the market with its iD100 dock that can house iPhones and iPads.
Cambridge Audio iD100: Performance and features
Designed to connect to your AV receiver, this £150 digital dock will accept any audio and video file format that your iWhatever can play (including lossless), iron out any jitter, clean up any nasties and spit it out sweeter than a freshly baked morning loaf.
For added sonic buffing, we hooked up the iD100 to Cambridge Audio's DacMagic (winner of T3's Music Gadget of the Year 2010) and tested a multitude of tracks with varying bit-rates through Spotify, iTunes, Last.FM, TuneIn radio and SoundCloud. Everything sounded superb and while lower-grade MP3s and streams are always going to sound flat, the dock/DAC combo did a remarkable job of eliminating the crunch factor.
Alongside optical, co-axial and single XLR outputs (the latter for connecting to high end or pro-audio gear), is a USB for connecting to a computer for iTunes syncing, a component video out (cable supplied) and a small switch for flicking between component, composite and S-video outputs.
We tested content from YouTube, BBC iPlayer, iTunes and the each devices' internal storage and, providing the source is of decent enough quality, found video playback mightily impressive -even on our massive 55in widescreen TV. HD content looks superb and syncs perfectly with the audio. Again, the DacMagic does a fine job of cleaning up the audio signal. We did notice a slight drop in audio quality without it, but it's more than listenable.
Cambridge Audio iD100: What's in the box
Bundled with the iD100 is a remote that controls basic playback features (including playlist shuffle) and allows you to deactivate charging – supposedly eliminating any chance of electrical interference.
There's also a button to sync with iTunes and the remote can be synced with Cambridge Audio AV receivers to control volume. Apple's own remote will also work with the dock, once paired.
Also in the box are four rubber docking adaptors (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod Nano). They're not exactly elegant, but practical and imperceptible once your device is docked.
Cambridge Audio iD100: Overall
The best bit is how everything just works. We're used to Apple products being so straightforward, but the iD100 is a true 'out-of-the-box' product. Just plug it in, connect your iJobby and you're away.
Nicely packaged, too. Epic win, as the kids say.
Cambridge Audio iD100: £150
Link: Cambridge Audio
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