When we first had a look at Sony’s Muteki 7.2-channel home theatre hi-fi system, we were impressed with the sheer amount of audio power it could muster. See Group test: what's the best iPod and iPhone speaker dock?
The first Mini Muteki was similarly gutsy, but stuffed its speakers into a classic boombox portable design. Sony’s latest Mini Muteki looks a little more refined than its predecessor, but still packs in plenty of power. See all Audio reviews.
Sony RDHGTK11iP: Design, setup and features
The RDHGTK11iP, or the Mini Muteki to use a friendlier name, can be set up horizontally or vertically — if you don’t have enough space to put it on a tabletop, you can stand it on the floor. Visit Pure Contour 200i air review.
All the Mini Muteki’s controls are clustered to the right-hand side (when horizontal) or the top (when vertical) — central there is an iPod/iPhone dock with a 30-pin connector, although the dock doesn’t swivel to remain upright when the Mini Muteki is vertical. Take a look at our Sony Mini MUTEKI review too.
Under the dock, there's a USB input — you can connect a USB stick or hard drive full of music files, or any device that can act as a USB host. Around the back of the player, there's an antenna connector for the integrated AM/FM radio tuner, and a stereo analog audio input for connecting a PC, DVD or Blu-ray player, or portable media player.
Seven buttons for playback — folder navigation, play/pause, bass boost, function toggle and an EQ — sit above the iPod docking area, and there’s also a power switch on the top righ-hand corner next to a single-line, orange multi-function display.
The Mini Muteki’s oversized volume control can be found slightly further around the top (or side, if vertical) of the boombox — it’s a large dial that only changes the volume when the system’s turned on, so there’s no chance of someone turning it up to deafening levels accidentally.
If you’re away from the Mini Muteki, you can use the bundled remote control — a generic candy-bar model that’s easy to understand — to good effect. We used it from around ten metres away successfully, which should make the Mini Muteki more useful in larger rooms or outdoors.
The speakers of the Mini Muteki are hidden behind a strong perforated metal grill. Two 6.5in woofers sit behind two 1in tweeters, which are mounted on an arm that also shines red and blue LED lights on the speakers. These lights pulse in time with the beat of whatever music you’re listening to — it’s a novel enough effect, and can be disabled if need be.
Sony RDHGTK11iP: Sound quality and performance
The Sony Mini Muteki’s appearance gives some clue as to its audio performance. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s brash. It’s a boombox speaker for people that like strong, deep bass kicks, thrashing electric guitar or pulsing dubstep drops.
For the majority of our listening, we used the Mini Muteki in its ‘Rock’ equaliser preset with Bass Boost disabled. There’s also a swathe of other presets — flat, hip hop, jazz and so on — and the Bass Boost button does a reasonably good job of livening up the lower frequencies in rock music, especially if you’re listening at low or moderate volume levels.
At moderate and low volume levels, the Mini Muteki is a generally musical speaker — there’s an obvious emphasis to bass, and prominence for lower treble notes. It’s versatile enough to suit a wide range of musical styles, but it definitely sounds best when you’re playing bass-heavy electronic, rock or metal music.
Turn the Mini Muteki up loud, though, and it’s able to fill a large room with sound. If you’ve got a party to cater to, or if you’re in your backyard, the Mini Muteki is able to do what smaller speaker systems struggle with. It doesn’t distort at maximum volume, although bass can get a little rattly if Bass Boost is enabled and you’re playing something room-shaking.
Sony RDHGTK11iP: Conclusion
The Mini Muteki is no audiophile speaker — it doesn’t have much nuance to its sound, and there’s not a great deal of detail in treble or mid-range — but it sure is loud. It’s a suitable speaker for a house party or outdoor picnic.
It’s very reasonably priced, and if you’ve got the room for it it’s a worthwhile purchase — especially for larger living spaces.