Tannoy's WWII-era PA systems are so famous that many people aren't aware it's a brand name, but the British company has been making high-end speakers for many years. As with audio makers, it's bringing its knowhow to the masses with an dock. The new i30 has an RRP of £229 but can be found online for between £100 and £200, potentially making it very good value indeed.
Being immediately impressed with packaging is an unusual experience, but from the moment we cracked open the thick black packaging of the i30 we knew we were going to see something special. True to its suggestive presentation, the i30 is indeed worth a look. Its solid and glossy black enclosure is not only astoundingly professional, but (at 3.6kg) monumentally heavy.
A bass-reflex port doubles up as a handle at the rear, above line-in, USB and composite video-out sockets, and screw holes for a wall-mounting bracket (sold separately). Non-removable speaker grilles are acceptable because they look lovely, complementing the jet-black enclosure with a dark, moody grey. They sit either side of the standard iPod dock, for which many adaptors are supplied.
Importantly, though, sound quality is impressive overall. It's not without its faults -- and we'll come to these shortly -- but we were impressed on several occasions, firstly with Porchrail by Jenny Owen Youngs. The funky acoustic guitar-driven folk rock exploded with warmth, and the clarity of her guitar strings were unrivalled in the world of iPod docks. Beneath them pumped a deep and beautifully reproduced double bass line, never distorting and powerful enough to shake the floor.