Review: Saffire JukeBox Station with Universal Dock for iPod
[Editors' Note: On November 1, 2006, iLounge published The 2007 iPod Buyers' Guide, with more than 30 brand new, capsule-sized product reviews - only for products we considered to be amongst the very best we've seen throughout the year. The short review below is excerpted and expanded from the Guide, which you can download here.]
Featured in our Crazy Accessories section, Saffire’s JukeBox Station may appeal to certain nostalgic iPod owners. Other than the fact that it is only 3 feet tall (to a standard jukebox’s 5), doesn’t sound great, and takes up a lot of space relative to its audio performance, JukeBox Station isn’t really that crazy. The brightly lit front and wood cabinet look great, even if the cabinet’s small fonts and artwork are eyesores.
Weighing 66-pounds and developed by Saffire, the JukeBox Station with Universal Dock for iPod combines an 80-watt stereo system with a CD player, FM radio, Infrared remote control, and AV outputs for connection to a television set. Inside the plastic shielded top area is a Universal iPod Dock, aided by five included Dock Adapters and a set of keys so you can keep your iPod safely inside when you’re not around.
The system can be brightly illuminated if you desire - a large “Light” switch on the front turns the lighting system on or off without affecting the unit’s audio power status. Rather than serving as a full-sized jukebox, it measures 40” (tall) x 21” (wide) x 11” (deep), which is around two feet shorter than a traditional jukebox, and garganturan only by the standards of most iPod speakers and Herve Villechaize.
A LCD screen provides information on the left-side CD player, which has been designed to resemble an old record turntable; the iPod dock sits in the front.
Integrated controls for the iPod - including menu navigation - are built into the unit’s front, along with some tacky artwork that most North American users will wish wasn’t there.
The FM radio is classically styled but for its fontography, which looks a bit out of place. Separate dials for volume, treble, bass, tuning, and input selection are found underneath; the large power switch off to the left side.
Saffire includes the previously mentioned Adapters, audio/video cables, and the large remote control, which has 17 buttons for control over the iPod and CD functionality.
The bad news: our first review unit was damaged on arrival - its wooden casing cracked on both sides, the iPod dock not functional, and its iPod AV outputs missing from the right hand side. We’re hoping that this isn’t an issue with units received by customers. Our second review unit arrived intact, albeit hand-delivered by the manufacturer.
Pacific Rim Technologies is handling North American distribution for the JukeBox Station, where the system will apparently also be sold by Target. We’re not going to tell you that we’re big fans of this system - it looks basically identical to an iPod dock-less 1946 replica jukebox being sold elsewhere online for $200-300, and for the $700 asking price here, we would have expected much bigger, better sound and more sophisticated iPod integration, besides. The only reason it rates our limited recommendation was that it looks just interesting enough to amuse certain viewers - generally men, not women, who universally seem to dislike it - and adds a focal point to certain rooms of a house, but our strong feeling is that most people will want to pass on it.