Review: NAD Viso 1 Wireless Digital Music System PDF Print E-mail

There is no lack of iPod docking stations on the market, and now high-end audio manufacturer NAD has also joined the already crowded party with an offering of its own.

A forty year veteran of sound systems, NAD’s first iPod dock is a large yet portable tubular shaped number. When I say portable, I don’t mean in the sense that you can slip it into your laptop tote/handbag and take it along on the road. But, like a larger sort of boombox, you will certainly be able to carry it from room to room in your house as and when needed.

Called the Viso 1, it is a vision of sophistication, sporting a circular silver aluminium band that circumvents it at the centre. This band, which is referred to by manufacturer NAD as having a “ring design”, is not merely for show. Although its graceful silver arc definitely does lend the Viso 1 an elegant appearance against the black of the tubular speakers it surrounds, the ring also contains the iPod/iPhone cradle with the 30-pin dock, as well as the volume and S (for Source) buttons. (The included remote control contains additional functions, such as play/pause, and track forward or back.)

The ring also allows you to properly secure your docked iPod/iPhone at the top as well, which means that you can push the necessary buttons on your handset or iPod without worrying that you’ll place stress on the connector.

One of my favourite aspects of the Viso 1 is its downright simplicity. It requires absolutely no complicated set-up or calibration, but is ready to play right out of the box. You simply plug it into your nearest electrical socket, connect your iPod/iPhone to the docking cradle, hit the on/off switch (located at the bottom of the right side of the device) and press play on your favourite album or track. The connector can rotate 90 degrees, so that you can use your iPod/iPhone in landscape mode too.

The emerging sound is crystal clear and rich with no distortion – even at higher volume levels. One of the secrets to this resounding success is that the Viso 1 was co-designed with NAD’s sister company PSB, who contributed their expertise to the Viso 1’s carefully constructed subwoofer.

Another great aspect about the Viso 1 is that, although it can only accept all the various iPods and iPhones for docking, it can be used with any Bluetooth-equipped device (including iPads, laptops, netbooks, any other type of mobile phone and tablet, etc.), thanks to its Bluetooth aptX technology.

Using Bluetooth, I successfully paired it with my Toshiba Qosmio laptop, streaming the movies, sounds and songs stored on my hard drive to the Viso 1. Once I consulted the how-to guide, this process wasn’t so difficult to figure out. It also worked fabulously with an iPod Classic and iPod Touch, and as a bonus, I figured out that on the iPod Touch, I can have live radio when I use the uncapped wireless Internet connection to listen to radio stations from around the world via the TuneIn radio app. Warning though, do NOT try that at home unless you have uncapped Internet!

The Viso 1 does contain component video output, allowing for 480p and 576p iPhone/iPod videos to be sent to an HDTV with the soundtrack booming from the Viso 1. I never tried this. Other inputs include an optical digital one, accepting up to 24/96k music from external devices like TV, disc players or media streamers; and a microUSB port – strictly for firmware updates. Bizarrely, it lacks an auxiliary 3.5mm jack, which would have allowed the Viso 1 to be connected to almost any music device.

However, if you can live with the fact that you can pair it only to your iPod (any in the range), your iPhone or other Bluetooth enabled devices, then the astonishing sound quality could make this dock a worthwhile investment. It is pricey, though, and if you are willing to veer away from a high-end brand, you could get more features for your bucks from competing models.

IN SUMMARY:
 

Good: Easty to set up and use, minimal wires, remote control, awesome sound quality, easy to pair with Bluetooth devices, fairly portable.

Bad: Lack of common connector such as auxiliary 3.5mm jack, it’s expensive.

Rating: 8/10

Price: R10 008.00

Available from: WantItAll.
 

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