TDK Three Speaker Boombox review: TDK Three Speaker Boombox

  •  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0

Average User Rating

1 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The TDK Three Speaker Boombox delivers a finely tuned, powerful sound in a portable system with an unforgettable design. Features such as AM/FM radio, as well as RCA and instrument input, set it apart from the competition.

The Bad There's no way to secure your iPod/iPhone or other connected device; support for Bluetooth is absent; radio antennas are handled by two dangling wires; no remote; hefty weight and battery-hungry design make portability impractical.

The Bottom Line TDK's Three Speaker Boombox is as beautiful as it is powerful, but the hefty design does not travel well.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

The TDK Three Speaker Boombox is a jaw-dropping monolith of metal, leather, and glossy acrylic that is impossible to ignore. It is the Bose SoundDock's Harley-riding, chain-smoking, evil twin. As such, it's not for everyone, but this $499 speaker box is a welcome change of scenery in the otherwise dull landscape of lookalike iPod/iPhone speakers.

Design
The real show-stopper of TDK's boom box is the design, which strikes a balance between retro hi-fi, '80s nostalgia, and a Syd Mead-like futuristic look. We've seen the retro, machined knob hi-fi look done before on systems like the Soundfreaq Sound Platform , but the materials were all plastic. We've seen '80s boom box nostalgia nailed with the Lasonic i931 , but again, the materials were plastic and the sonics were awful. Even the whole daring futuristic speaker design has been trudged out before by companies such as Altec Lansing and Harman Kardon --but the TDK box raises the stakes.

Materials are a big part of the appeal. The top of the TDK boom box is framed with a wide slab of thick aluminum--not a facsimile. The back is covered by a smooth matte black plastic, broken up with three screws that conceal a compartment for 12 D-cell batteries (wall adapter also included). For the handle, the metal plank includes a cutaway for your hand and leather padding across the whole length--which you'll appreciate if you ever try to pick this behemoth off the ground.

The front is covered with a piano-black gloss acrylic that smudges easily but looks great. Not helping the smudge factor is the fact that the buttons for audio source, station preset, playback control, and other functions are accessed using illuminated capacitive touch controls located above the speaker array. To the left and right of these buttons are two gloriously oversize aluminum knobs that control volume, radio tuning, and other functions. Oh, and by the way, the volume knob goes to 11 (yes, we're serious).

In spite of our enthusiasm, there are some design disappointments on the TDK boom box. Instead of offering a proper dock or enclosure for your connected iPhone or iPod, the speaker system gives you little more than a padded indentation on the top. In fairness, TDK's design decision makes it easier to use with a broad range of audio devices (heck, you could place an old Walkman up there), and leads to a more future-proof design. Still, a secure space to dock your precious iPhone would be nice.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

TDK Three Speaker Boombox

Part Number: 77000015360 Released: Feb. 1, 2011
MSRP: $499.00 Low Price: $1,499.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Feb. 1, 2011
  • Weight 31.3 lbs
  • Tuner Bands AM/FM
  • Output Power / Total 35 Watt
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Type Boombox