The i300 was crafted by the cultured hands of Danish manufacturer Jamo, whose stylish speaker systems are the visual equivalent of Danish bacon -- tasty. With a powerful 150W sub and two weighty 75W satellite speakers, this iPod-ready £250 sound system looks the business, but will it remain standing throughout our rigorous testing?
The well-built, seamless and satisfyingly heavy sub unit handles the i300's power supply and all ins and outputs. Two satellite speakers connect to the sub with heavy-gauge speaker wire -- not often seen in a consumer level hi-fi at this price -- and are weighty in themselves. They each separately boast their own single 76mm (3-inch) bass woofer and a 19mm (3/4-inch) tweeter.
The iPod docking unit is connected to the main sub swith a thin cable and also houses volume and performance controls. It also charges the iPod as it plays. Docking has been separated from the main system in this way to allow you to connect, for example, both a PC and an iPod at the same time, to provide an all-in-one audio solution for a bedroom or office.
The ability to position the satellite speakers around the room allowed us to get a more studio-like feel when listening to certain tracks -- something not generally possible with docks or mini hi-fi systems.
We pumped a variety of lossless-format audio into the system from the docked iPod. The sound quality from the i300 was generally very good. We noticed a slight muddiness in the mid range, however, and despite its wide response range, the sub didn't reproduce more melodic bass tones as well as we'd hoped. Aside from this, the results were excellent. Bass is deep and loud; high frequencies are accurate and clear.
First up for testing was Slam by Pendulum. This is a bass-driven club favourite with various simultaneous bass frequencies. The powerful bass lines boomed from the i300's sub, but they came with some slight muffling of melody. The kick drum pounded confidently though, without interfering with the array of low-range sounds present in this track. Higher frequency cymbals and snares were concurrently well defined and undisturbed by the presence of so much bass output.
Next up was KT Tunstall's Black Horse and The Cherry Tree. This poptastic folk-rock track has plenty of subtle mid-range frequencies and quiet sounds, accompanying bright acoustic guitars and strong female vocals, of which all were crystal clear. The many subtleties of this track were well reproduced and Tunstall's powerful voice was superbly defined, without any noticeable peaks to speak of.
We would have liked more control over the tones produced by the i300. Having control over the general loudness of the sub is nice, but not enough to help custom-tune a sound that you'd actually like to create. This is a real disappointment considering the £250 price tag.
Also included with the system is a small remote control that operates via radio frequency -- this allows you to control the system even from different rooms.
As iPod docking systems go, Jamo's i300 sits right up at the top. For most people, the sound quality will be excellent and the build quality of the sub and satellites is superb. We liked the general clarity of the sound produced, but for £250 this expensive system would've benefited from a more capable sub and the option of controlling both bass and treble levels. Generally though, this is a terrific system that will be a treat to the ears, though not your wallet.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide