Creative ZiiSound D5
There are a dime a dozen iPod docks in the market, but Creative’s ZiiSound D5 has taken this product category a notch higher. Apart from being an iPod dock, the D5 can play music wirelessly as long as it is coming out of a stereo Bluetooth device like your phone or an MP3 player. For iPods and iPhones, Creative bundles in a Bluetooth transmitter which, when attached to the iPod charging slot, transmits music wirelessly to the D5. The transmitter can also be docked in the D5 and the iPod charges as it plays. It consists of the apt-X codec which compresses the audio stream as there is a limit on the maximum A2DP bandwidth. You will require a dongle which houses the encoder for the apt-X codec. It is present in the Bluetooth transmitter for the iPod.
Creative ZiiSound D5: The iPod dock doesn’t vibrate at maximum volume levels.
The ZiiSound D5 has a very sturdy build quality and comes in an all-black body. A plastic panel runs along the centre. It has volume controls on the top portion and a connectivity indicator in the front.
The D5 is quite loud and doesn’t vibrate at maximum volume levels, something we found quite prevalent in other iPod docks. Mid-frequency was the most responsive, giving crystal clear sound. Bass-heavy songs tended to skip some beats and sounded muffled. At higher frequencies too the sound separation was found to be lacking. Distortion was noted in some bass-heavy songs at maximum volume. The USP of the D5 is wireless music playback over Bluetooth, without a remote.
Operating range: 10m Dimensions: 425x110x90mm
Price: Rs 17,999
Sennheiser HD 800
The HD 800 has a brand new design —compared with the HD 650—new earcups, a much improved optical fibre cable (OFC) and new ring radiator drivers especially designed to do away with the congested sound stage that headphones are known for. They look space age too and are well built, with a lot of metal in the design. They’re a comfortable, secure fit, and while the padding on the earcup looks thin, it’s adequate.
Sennheiser HD 800 : The space age headphones.
But these headphones need serious amping. We used a Woo Audio 6SE to power it. If you listen to the HD 800 straight out of your sound card, you’ll wonder what the fuss is about. When amped, the mid-range clears up, and there is more space between each performer. While not as good as speakers at imaging, the sound stage is expansive—in fact, this would be one of the stand-out features. Bass is tight, impactful and pleasant, not boomy. The mid-range is wide and open, clear, and rather neutral. The highs are equally well represented—no hint of sibilance, but the HD 800 extends all the way to the top. If anything, the HD 800 has a bit more energy in the upper frequency range, but for all practical purposes, it is far more neutral than the HD 650 was.
Frequency response: 14-44000Hz
Impedance: 300 ohms
Max sound pressure level: 102dB
Weight (without cable): 330g
Price: Rs 74,995
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