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Hands on: Sony RDP-XA900iP – a wireless iPod dock with serious sound

High-end dock aims to deflate the B&W Zeppelin

The RDP-XA900iP was announced at CES earlier this year, but Sony had yet to finalise its tuning. During a recent trip to Japan, we were among the first western journalists to hear how the final product will sound when it goes on sale later this year.

Sony RDP-XA900iP

Equipped with an S-Master digital amp and dual passive radiators, the RDP-XA900iP is also the first iPod dock to use Sony’s proprietary Magnetic Fluid speakers. These replace the damper inside the speaker driver with a unique magnetic fluid which helps reduce distortion and increase sound pressure, as well as decrease the overall size of each driver. There are three speakers inside the RDP-XA900iP, for a total power output of 200W RMS in a 2.1 configuration.

Sony RDP-XA900iP

This equipment, combined with months of tuning by Sony’s audio technicians, certainly impressed us during the demonstration we sat in on – a new remaster of the Eagles’ Hotel California sounded incredible, with excellent highs and mid-range, as well as powerful bass. Adele’s Someone Like You sounded equally stunning, with amazing clarity from such a compact unit.

The RDP-XA900iP is also much more than a dock, with both Airplay and Bluetooth to play wireless audio from an iPhone or iPad as well as an Android device. With network support you can also add it to an existing home entertainment setup quickly and easily.

Sony RDP-XA900iP

An aluminium finsh, cloth-covered surround and LED activity light make the RDP-XA900iP stand out in any room, and its sound quality is very impressive. We’ve got no word on pricing or availability yet, but serious sound fans should start saving now if they want to add it to their collection.

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