Question: I am looking for a speaker dock sound system for my iPhone that will charge it and play music too. I would prefer something that can fill a 15 foot by 20 foot space with sound, but does not cost too much, perhaps around $100. A remote control would be handy, too.
CLAIRE M., Castle Shannon
Answer: If the price is right, why not get something special rather than a simple speaker dock?
Regular readers of my column know about the Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz, a great-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker that proved to be one of my top recommendations last year and a big hit with readers. Cambridge SoundWorks also makes premium table radios and for many years I have recommended them as a better-sounding, less expensive alternative to the Bose Wave radios.
Cambridge SoundWorks is having a clearance sale for the Ambiance 2 WiFi Music System. The Ambiance 2 is a premium table radio modeled after the ubiquitous (and expensive) Bose Wave radio. The Ambiance 2 looks great, sounds great, has a colorful touchscreen interface and includes a remote control. It does not have Bluetooth, but it does have an iPod/iPhone dock and WiFi so you can play Pandora and tune Internet Radio.
You also can stream music from your PC, iPad, or iPhone using an app called SyncStream. It is optimized for Internet use and has a circuit called the X-Fi crystallizer to enhance the sound from online sources.
The sound settings require of tweaking to bring out its best. I published my own settings at http://tinyurl.com/psqsxqn so you can try them. Apply them to your radio and I think you will be extremely happy with the sound.
The Ambiance 2 WiFi Music System originally sold for $349. The clearance price is $149, and you can save another 20 percent by using the coupon code WOW20OFF. This brings the cost down to $119, which is a steal. It's a wonderful bargain for anyone looking for a premium table radio or portable sound system, or an amazing upgrade for someone who had just planned on buying an iPod speaker dock.
The Bluetooth model is only $40 more with the coupon if you think Bluetooth is necessary, but at $119 this is by far the best deal I have ever seen on a product of this type, ever.
I think $119 is close enough to your $100 price point, but if you want to get even closer to $100, you can get the i755 Classic Table Radio using the same coupon code and pay $109. The i755 is based on the previous generation of radios and while it lacks the high tech of the Ambiance series, it has wonderful, warm sound and deep bass from its built-in subwoofer. I have owned both and came to prefer the Ambiance for the ease of tuning radio stations from all over the world and the easy integration with my Pandora account.
I imagine they will sell out quickly when word gets around, so if you are interested I would act sooner rather than later. You can learn more at: http://store.cambridgesoundworks.com/info/Model_Clearance_Sale
Please note that both of these radios have a 30-pin connector. If you have an iPhone 5, you will need a 30 pin-to-Lightning adapter or cable to use the dock.
Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.