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Christmas Gift Guide
MP3 Players

Speakers' corner: Eclipse 307s

Rugby balls or space probes? Are these small craft sent from the depths of the outer galaxies to observe and then report back to their mutant masters? We don't know, but they play music with alien excellence

Do you know how to pick a pair of good MP3 player speakers? When some mean looking day-release youth offender barely contained by his ill-fitting Dixons uniform sidles up to you and asks, "what kind of speakers are you looking for, sir?", what are you going to tell him? Bear in mind that the wrong answer will probably get you killed. He knows about flat response curves, he knows about crossovers and cabinet density, but does he know about staying absolutely faithful to the original waveform?

Our advice is: stare him right in his bloodshot eyes and say, "I'd like some speakers which eliminate undesired resonance from the cabinet itself and reproduce the precise spatial audio information contained within the original sound source."

There's no way his six years pinballing between foster homes and police custody will have prepared him for that response. Dixons don't stock the Eclipse 307BABK (pictured), so they won't have any speakers that reproduce the original waveform. He'll be stumped just long enough for you to dart out of the shop and commando roll into an open manhole.

Our pair of 307s arrived last week -- just in time for Christmas -- and we've been consistently stunned by the clarity of sound they produce, even from meagre MP3s. Eclipse claim complete transparency, and we have to agree that these are by far the most gorgeous sounding iPod accessories a girl or boy could hope to own -- but then they do cost £400. Expect a full review soon. -- CS