Boston Acoustics Duo-I Plus iPhone/iPod Dock AM/FM Stereo Radio and Clock Functions (Gloss White) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- Works with iPhone & Made for iPod
- Integrated iPod dock with video output charges your iPod or iPhone
- Precision AM/FM stereo tuner
- Dual high performance 3½-inch full-range speakers
- BassTrac audio processing for clean bass at all listening levels
Customers also shopped for
The Duo-I Plus is an iPhone/iPod Dock with AM/FM Stereo Radio and Clock Functions. Option 1: listen to your favorite music and playlists while you charge your iPhone/iPod. Option 2: enjoy noise-free reception of even distant radio stations. The versatile Duo-i plus offers big-system sound that fits virtually anywhere — your family room, kitchen, office, or all of these and more. With dual alarms and Boston’s 360˚ S-n-o-o-o-o-o-z-e Bar, Duo-i plus also makes a great bedside radio — and you can be sure of waking up to the music that gets you going. The unique shape of Duo-i plus is one key to its exceptional performance. Left and right full-range speakers are isolated from each other in separate acoustic chambers for rich, distinct stereo sound. Another key is proprietary BassTrac audio processing for clean bass at all listening levels. The two technologies work together to deliver stunningly realistic reproduction of your favorite music — in any genre, anywhere.
Top customer reviews
The first thing I did after unpacking the Duo-I Plus was to test it out in my living room with the iPod docked. The sound is truly remarkable for such a small stereo. Nice full bass and crisp highs. As some other reviewers have noted, there is not a whole lot of mid-range but the overall sound is still very balanced and natural. When I plugged in the FM antenna wire and tried the radio, I was surprised by the clarity of reception I got. Another nice touch for radio listeners is that the antenna jack can accept a coaxial TV cable for even better reception. There is also a wire clip for an AM antenna, though I don't listen to AM radio. On the front panel, there is an 1/8-inch auxiliary input and an 1/8-inch headphone jack; on the back, there is a stereo RCA second auxiliary input, a stereo RCA subwoofer output, and a single RCA video output. Pretty flexible for a clock radio!
Aside from five small radio station preset buttons and two small buttons for setting the alarms, all the stereo's functions are controlled using three digital rotary knobs; these knobs can also be pressed like a button to make selections. The largest knob in the middle turns the power on or off with a single press and controls the volume. The small mode knob on the left selects the input, as well as other functions: iPod, FM radio 1 (presets 1-5), FM radio 2 (presets 6-10), AM radio, Auxiliary 1 (front input), Auxiliary 2 (rear input), brightness, info, sleep, bass, treble, alarm 1 set, clock set, alarm 2 set; depressing the same mode knob will also cycle through all the available inputs. The small tuning knob on the right tunes the radio, changes mode values (brightness/info/sleep/bass/treble/alarm time/clock time), and skips ipod tracks backward or forward. The ability to skip iPod tracks with the tuning knob is wonderful, since it is often inconvenient to wake an iPod Touch or iPhone when it is docked. The remote control can skip tracks as well.
The small alarm buttons provide a quick way to change alarm settings without having to use the mode knob to select from a lengthy menu; there is a separate button for both alarm 1 and 2 -- a single press sets the respective alarm to alarm mode, music mode, or off; hold the button down and you can change the respective alarm times backward or forward using the rotary controller directly below it. Changing alarm times has never been easier! Unfortunately, you can only wake to whatever music and volume level was last playing. This is a serious oversight on the part of Boston Acoustics' design team. Like many people, I go to bed with relaxing music but like to wake up to something more energetic. This is not possible with the Duo-I Plus. The alarm sound fades in after a few seconds, which is nice. I also love the snooze bar -- just touch anywhere on the metal outer rim of the radio to sleep another ten minutes; hit the snooze bar repeatedly and it adds increments of five minutes to your snooze. I have not experienced any of the bugs with the snooze bar that other reviewers have reported.
The backlit display is probably the weakest part of the design of the Duo-I Plus. I wish Boston Acoustics had chosen a color besides cool-blue. Many reviewers found the display too bright even at the lowest dimmed setting. There is however a fix for this that is not mentioned in the owner's manual. If you unplug the unit and plug it back in while holding down the alarm 2 button, you can adjust the dimming sensitivity using the tuning knob. This allows you to turn the display completely off if you wish. The down side to this is that it makes it difficult to make selections using the mode knob because you can't see what you're controlling. The auto-dimming sensor, while wonderful for sleeping, only makes this problem worse. I still have not found a happy-medium that is dim enough for sleeping yet bright enough to control easily.
The other controls are fairly self-explanatory: info mode chooses what to display when the unit is idle; sleep mode activates a sleep timer in five minute increments up to 90 minutes; bass and treble EQ's the sound, plus or minus 7 steps. It's unfortunate that there is no midrange control since the midrange could really use a boost, but overall the controls are very usable. I have to say that, while I love the concept of the simple three-dial face, in practice it is a bit cumbersome to use. There are simply too many menu items, which makes navigating through them tedious. Setting the alarms, on the other hand, couldn't be any easier.
I have to say that despite a couple nit-picks, the design team at Boston Acoustics got <almost> everything right. I absolutely love my Duo-I Plus. Unfortunately, I ended up sending it back. Why? The unit I bought was used, probably an older model, and it would play but not charge my 4th generation iPod Touch. I doubt those who buy new units will experience that problem. In any event, if you're looking for the perfect clock radio, you will not be disappointed with the Duo-I Plus.
UPDATE: After sending my unit away for repairs, it now charges my 4th Gen. iPod Touch without any problems. Unfortunately, now the snooze bar doesn't work right. Sometimes, the snooze bar doesn't respond at all when I touch it; other times, it "snoozes" itself, incrementing all the way up to an hour for no reason at all. As a result, I don't trust the alarm to get me out of bed on time. Other comments after owning this for six months... The knob controls are the most annoying part of the interface. Trying to set the sleep timer function takes several precise knob turns, and if you miss the "sleep" setting (which is easy to do in dim lighting) you end up changing the input (FM/AM/aux) inadvertently. Very annoying when you do this every single night! Also, some users have complained of a low humming when the unit is on with no music playing, and I have noticed this as well. Overall, I really wanted to like this clock radio because of the sound quality, but for day-to-day use, it really falls short.
This iPod dock / tabletop radio offers remarkably good, crisp, mellow sound for such a small device. In my view, this is the #1 consideration when buying a tabletop radio I will listen to frequently. The BA Duo has good, though not outstanding radio reception and an up-to-date iPod dock. By that I mean that my brand new Verizon iPhone works without any difficulty, as do my older generation iPod Touch and iPod Nano devices. All get charged without problem, and none of the Apple devices complains that the BA Duo radio is not compatible with all the features of the Apple device. In contrast, less than two weeks ago I purchased a Sangean WR-5 iPod dock / tabletop radio. Although my older Apple devices work with the Sangean tabletop radio without problem, my new Verizon iPhone, when inserted in the Sangean iPod dock, gives the following message: "This device is not optimized for the iPhone. You may experience a decrease in cell signal strength." In other words, I may get weaker cellphone reception when my iPhone is inserted in the dock. The iPhone gets charged when inserted in the Sangean iPod dock, and the iPhone / Sangean combination delivers fine musical sound, but I do not know whether or not I'm missing some cell calls. There are no such problems with the Boston Acoustic Duo.
Let me make some comparisons of the BA Duo and the Sangean WR-5 iPod dock / table top radios. The Boston Acoustics Duo undoubtedly delivers better sound and offers a more up-to-date interface with iPod / iPhone devices. The BA duo and Sangean WR-5 offer approximately as good radio reception. The Sangean WR-5 has a smaller footprint and, because its iPod dock is more spacious, I do not need to remove the rubberized protective bumper from my iPhone before inserting onto the dock. (In contrast, the rubberized bumper must be removed from the iPhone before it is inserted onto the dock for the BA Duo.) Both devices accept input from a standard audio jack linking the radio with, say, a portable CD player. The instructional booklet for the Sangean WR-5 was worse written (I assume because its authors were Chinese rather than Americans), but the Sangean's set-up was faster and a bit more intuitive. I find that without wearing glasses it is easier for me to read, say, the time and radio frequency on the face of the BA Duo. That information is less clearly displayed on the face of the Sangean WR-5, and this may be an important consideration if you are using the device as an alarm clock.
The biggest difference between the two iPod dock / tabletop radios is the price. As of this date (late March 2011), the Boston Acoustics Duo costs about $250 on Amazon while the Sangean WR-5 costs $100. Determining whether the better sound and more up-to-date Apple docking of the BA Duo are worth the $150 price difference is obviously a personal matter. I like both devices and give both of them equal ratings (4 stars), but that is because the price differential compensates for the somewhat worse sound and more out-of-date Apple docking interface on the Sangean WR-5. For a number of years now I have noticed that I actually listen to music much more frequently through my tabletop radios than through my far more expensive sound system. The better sounding tabletop radio -- the BA Duo -- is in my kitchen where I listen most often to music. The Sangean WR-5 is in our bedroom where it doubles as a tabletop clock and Apple iPod / iPhone charging device. I suppose other people discovered this fact long before I did: The availability of these iPod dock / tabletop radios means that you never have to worry whether your cell phone or MP3 player has a charge. If you listen to music through these docking stations for about an hour or so a day, your Apple device is substantially charged virtually all the time -- it gets a charge at the same time you are using the device for one of its main functions, namely, to play music. In addition, of course, both the iPhone and iPod Touch devices can be used to listen internet radio, Pandora, podcasts, etc., partly depending on whether you have a WiFi system in your home. This means you worry less about the quality of your local radio stations: The internet offers a huge number of attractive alternatives.
In sum: the Boston Acoustics Duo radio is a wonderful tabletop radio / docking device. The only reason I withhold a fifth star is that I anticipate the arrival someday of a similar device that is (a) a bit cheaper and (b) a bit easier to set up and use. Until that day comes, this is an excellent investment. If you're strapped for cash, the Sangean WR-5 is also a first-rate product.
Main complaints are these: (1) the Boston Acoustics control system takes some getting used to, for example, turning a dial and peering closely at the screen to track which function the highlighting is bracketing so you can adjust it; and (2) the iPod Nano (older more squarish model) doesn't quite clear the top of the unit so you can't use the touch wheel very well, and the BA remote doesn't include a way to switch among playlists. All you can do is page ahead or back to the next or previous individual selection. But we like to choose a long playlist or album and just let it play, so it doesn't bother us. If you want to be constantly browsing among your music files, you might find this irritating.
Also good FM reception. No buyer's remorse here.
Most recent customer reviews
Sound quality is very good once you turn it up loud enough to mask the buzzing noise.
1) With your alarm, you have to wake up to the last...Read more