TunePro Flat Panel Stereo Speaker, AM/FM Clock Radio, and iPod Charger

TunePro Flat Panel Stereo Speaker, AM/FM Clock Radio, and iPod Charger
Company: MacAlly

Price: $130

MacAlly’s TunePro is as strange as it is brilliant. Once you’ve placed it into service, set its clock and radio, connected the antennas, docked your iPod, and peeled away a sheet of protective plastic, you’re looking at — yourself. The entire front panel is the mirrored surface of TunePro’s speaker, with the time of day and your audio input method displayed in discreet LEDs in the upper right corner. You can shave while listening and looking at TunePro, as it vibrates to the beat of Beethoven, Big Bill Broonzy, or Biggie Smalls.

Let’s see how accurate are this company’s promotional claims:

“The latest NXT flat panel loudspeaker technology coupled with SRS WOW technology for superior audio enhancement”

TunePro’s speaker design is a technological phenomenon, and the SRS WOW definitely enhances all audio output.

“Award winning industrial design with attractive front mirror screen and a Clock display behind”

All are correct, including an iLounge award from last January’s Macworld Expo.

“Designed for all Apple iPod devices with 30-pin dock connector, including 1st and 2nd generation iPod nano, 4th and 5th generation iPod, iPod Photo, iPod Mini, iPod nano 3G, iPod classic, and iPod touch”

Yes again, but remember that pre-4th Gen iPods may encounter problems on this and other built-in-dock players.

“Dock, listen to and charge iPod simultaneously”

No complaints here either.

“Dual independent Alarm settings with Snooze”
“Wake to your favorite tune in iPod, Radio or Buzzer”
“Sleep timer function”
“Supports 12/24 Hour time format”
“Three display dimmer levels”
“Five AM and five FM Radio memory channels”
“Additional Line-in jack for other portable audio devices”
“Easy to set up and use”
“Five AM and five FM Radio memory channels
“Additional Line-in jack for other portable audio devices”

Yes to all the above, as found in many other recent combo units.

“Gradual volume increase to Alarm”

This is a nice bonus I haven’t experienced previously.

“Slim profile and small footprint design”

Definitely correct.

Once you get past TunePro’s idiosyncratic appearance, its performance highlights and inadequacies are:

• Very bright, clear music and voice reproduction at all volume levels until distortion begins near the maximum.

• Remarkable treble and midrange, with acceptable bass for a non-woofer unit.

• Best FM antenna signal pickup we’ve experienced in typically difficult multi-path and mountainous locations.

• No remote control. I repeat, no remote control. Definitely a drawback, even though you’ll like TunePro’s looks and sound too much to be really annoyed by pushing selector buttons on both its front and rear.

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You can learn a little about NXT flat panel speaker technology from doing an online search, but the following, from here, may be sufficient:

Distributed mode loudspeakers
A newer implementation of the flat panel speaker system involves an intentionally flexible panel and an “exciter”, mounted off-center in a location such that it excites the panel to vibrate, but with minimal resonances. Speakers using NXT techniques can reproduce sound with a wide directivity pattern (paradoxically somewhat like a point source) and have been used in some computer speaker designs and a few small ‘shelf systems’ from such manufacturers as TEAC and Philips.

(We reviewed an early NXT offering from TDK here, and this discontinued product is still one of John Nemo’s personal favorites.)

* * * * *

I’ve been using TunePro as my primary computer speaker for several weeks, and you’ll have to wrestle my hands and face away from it if you want to try it on your equipment. The more I use TunePro, the more impressed I am with its fine sound.

TunePro’s $130 retail price is competitive for this class of speaker with universal dock. When flat is where its at, and reflective sonic clarity is your main consideration, you’ll be glad to look and listen to MacAlly’s ProTune, rated by MyMac.com at 4 out of 5. But why no remote control?

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