Teac Aurb Mini SR-80iDAB review
Teac's SR-80iDAB - also known as the Aurb Mini - is the follow-up to the audio company's larger Aurb dock of last year. It has a pair of stereo speakers built into its streamlined form, each with 15W RMS power and its own dedicated woofer and tweeter.
The dock's design is reminiscent of Bowers & Wilkins' Zeppelin Mini; the Aurb Mini sounds good enough to compete with B&W's dock, even though it's £100 cheaper. The dock is a swept-back oval with a chrome bezel that looks like it belongs on a car from the 1930s. It's a lot easier to justify spending money on an iPod dock for everyday listening if it looks better in your living room than a chunky desktop with PC speakers hooked up to it.
The SR-80iDAB's audio sweet spot is fairly broad, but if you stand so that the dock is significantly below ear level, the bass drops off conspicuously. Even more of the sound is lost if you're behind the dock. As long as you're sitting within the broad arc in front of the dock's swept-back speakers, its sound quality is magnificent, particularly given the Aurb Mini's small size. The full vocal and instrumental range of our choral and orchestral test tracks emerged with great richness and clarity, while blistering guitar solos and pounding bass beats were reproduced with precision and warmth.
The bass is surprisingly powerful for a dock speaker, but is sufficiently well balanced to make its presence felt without negating the neutral, flat characterises that allow you to hear your music as it's intended. There are also treble and bass settings if you want to tweak things a little yourself. We were, however, surprised to find that - when listening to a docked iPod - volumes below 10 were virtually inaudible. The bass on our loudest tracks only began to distort very slightly at the maximum volume of 40, but our chosen listening volume - between the two, in the mid-twenties - comfortably filled a small room.
The Aurb Mini is more than just a speaker dock. It has the usual sleep timer and alarm clock functions - built into the dock itself rather than the iPhone apps we've seen from rival manufacturers such as Philips - and an auxiliary audio input and FM radio. It also has a DAB digital radio, can output composite video from your iPod to your TV and play WMA and MP3 files from a USB stick. We would have liked a USB port to sync a docked iPod with the music on your PC, but that's all that's missing.
The remote control is the best designed we've yet seen with an iPod dock. It's big enough not to get lost easily, has clearly labelled and well laid-out buttons and can be used to navigate both your iPod's menus and dock's integrated features, although you can only scroll through tracks one at a time.
The Aurb Mini is among the best docks you can find in this price range. We'd have liked less-directional sound and the option of app control for the alarm features, but the dock sounds great and is good value.
Find a review