Sonoro cuboDock

It may have a latin-sounding name, but Sonoro is a German design company. Among its range of compact lifestyle radios and music centres is the Sonoro cuboDock, a straightforward stereo speaker for the iPod and iPhone. See: more speaker reviews.

It doesn’t break any new ground in its electronic or acoustic design; instead it can appeal with its simple aesthetics and high-quality construction – an all-plastic slope-fronted cabinet with centrally placed dock and iPod support, all in a range of colours and finishes to suit just about any taste.

There’s modern bamboo wood effect and white, a more conservative walnut and black, all black, to the truly flamboyant bright lime green or pink choices.

You can the cuboDock play music in three different ways: directly from a docked iPhone or iPod, through a line-in jack at the back from any analogue source; or over Bluetooth from a phone or PC.

Sonoro cuboDock: amp and speaker technology

Sonoro doesn’t publish many details of the amp or speaker technology inside the seam-free box, although we can see a single bass-reflex port at the rear to help reinforce bass. This let the cuboDock sound about as fulsome as anyone could wish from a small cabinet of around 5 litres volume.

At the top end, the mid-fi sound of a Class D amplifier may have been smoothed a little by ‘textile tweeters’ – which we presumed to be a fabric soft dome type, somewhat sweeter than the metal-dome alternative.

We tried the cuboDock paired by Bluetooth to first an iPhone and then a laptop, with sketchy results. To be fair, the heavy compression nearly always inherent with the low-band wireless link was the principle problem here. And that just gets compounded by cascading from already compressed AAC or MPEG tracks. Even uncompressed music gets milked down to MP3-like quality by the majority of Bluetooth connections, here evident as added mechanical artifice and graininess that made music more tiring.

Stereo spread is naturally limited by the physical size of the box, although we also did find it a little box-bound with its narrow sound.

Best sound quality was heard playing from a docked iPhone 4S using ALAC lossless music files. And the cuboDock could certainly handle bass-rich music without any creaks or distress from the cabinet, an impressive feat in itself.

Treble was a little pronounced still, just forward of the midband, a not-unusual balance for German audio kit though. Playing Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, for example, we were impressed by the tight control of this bass-heavy mix at bedroom-filling volumes, although that mild toppiness was evident again from the pronounced amount of pseudo vinyl noise in the mix.

There are no additional tone controls to tweak the sound, but the palm-sized remote control does allow you to skip and pause tracks on your docked iPhone, as well as jump straight between the music sources of Dock, BT or Aux.

With the cuboDock paired to our PC, we also found we could play and skip tracks from iTunes using the remote. And that remote feels well-made, not the usual flimsy afterthought but a solid plastic lump of some quality, even if it does use membrane buttons.

As well as the remote, you can use standby and volume up/down switches on the top of the speaker. A bright blue LED can be seen shining through the perforated front grill when Bluetooth is in use, orange for Auxiliary or green for the dock input.

Sonoro cuboDock: Specs

  • iPod speaker
  • 2-way stereo speakers
  • ‘textile tweeters’
  • single bass reflext port
  • Class D amplifier, power rating not disclosed
  • iPod/iPhone 30-pin dock connector
  • 380 x 162 x 164 mm
  • 3.05kg
  • iPod speaker
  • 2-way stereo speakers
  • ‘textile tweeters’
  • single bass reflext port
  • Class D amplifier, power rating not disclosed
  • iPod/iPhone 30-pin dock connector
  • 380 x 162 x 164 mm
  • 3.05kg

OUR VERDICT

The Sonoro cuboDock is a neatly constructed compact one-box speaker for iPods and phones, with a handy fallback to Bluetooth audio link for convenience when sound quality is less a concern. It has the sound of low-cost modern amp tech, but here augmented by a generous yet not overblown bass, and it can reasonably play loud with little strain from the amp or the cabinet. Against many such iPod speaker docks, the Sonoro cuboDock is an expensive but great-looking example of a clean and well-executed design.

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