Q I am looking for a speaker dock sound system for my iPhone that will charge it and play music too. I would prefer something that can fill a 15-by-20-foot space with sound, but does not cost too much, perhaps around $100. A remote control would be handy too.
-- C.M., Castle Shannon, Pa.
A If the price is right, why not get something special rather than a simple speaker dock?
Regular readers of my column know about the Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ, a great-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker that proved to be one of my top recommendations last year and a big hit with readers. Cambridge SoundWorks also makes premium table radios and for many years I have recommended them as a better-sounding, less expensive alternative to the Bose Wave radios.
Cambridge SoundWorks is having a clearance sale for their Ambiance 2 Wi-Fi music system. The Ambiance 2 is a premium table radio modeled after the ubiquitous (and expensive) Bose Wave radio. The Ambiance 2 looks great, sounds great, has a colorful touch-screen interface and includes a remote control. It does not have Bluetooth, but it does have an iPod/iPhone dock and Wi-Fi so you can play Pandora and tune Internet Radio. You can also stream music from your PC, iPad, or iPhone using an app called sync:stream. It is optimized for Internet use and has a circuit called the X-Fi crystallizer to enhance the sound from online sources. The sound settings require tweaking to bring out its best. I published my own settings at http://tinyurl.com/psqsxqn so you can try them. Apply them to your radio and I think you will be extremely happy with the sound.
The Ambiance 2 Wi-Fi music system originally sold for $349. The clearance price is $149, and you can save another 20 percent by using the coupon code WOW20OFF. This brings the cost down to $119, which really is a steal. It's a wonderful bargain for anyone looking for a premium table radio or portable sound system, or an amazing upgrade for someone who had just planned on buying an iPod speaker dock. The Bluetooth model is only $40 more with the coupon if you think Bluetooth is necessary, but at $119 this is by far the best deal I have ever seen on a product of this type, ever.
I think $119 is close enough to your $100 price point, but if you want to get even closer to $100 you can get the i755 Classic Table Radio using the same coupon code and pay only $109. The i755 is based on the previous generation of radios and while it lacks the high-tech of the Ambiance series, it has wonderful, warm sound and deep bass from its built-in subwoofer. I have owned both and came to prefer the Ambiance for the ease of tuning radio stations from all over the world and the easy integration with my Pandora account.
I imagine they will sell out quickly when word gets around, so if you are interested I would act sooner rather than later. You can learn more at: http://store.cambridgesoundworks.com/info/Model_Clearance_Sale
Please note that both of these radios have a 30-pin connector. If you have an iPhone 5 you will need a 30 pin-to-Lightning adapter or cable to use the dock.
Contact Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com and use the "submit question" link on that site.