George: An Intelligent iPod Speaker Dock

We wrote about Chestnut Hill Sound’s George iPod speaker dock back at the beginning of the month. Our review unit arrived today, so we decided to pop the box open and take some shots.

There are a handful of features that separate George from the rest of the speaker-dock herd. Click below to see more pictures and learn about what makes this system so different.

George features stereo, two-way speakers in front. That’s not particularly unique, but they are bi-amped, which is. This means there’s a separate amp driving the woofers and tweeters, so the audio in theory is reproduced closer to how it was supposed to sound.

A 4-inch, down-firing subwoofer is in the base of the unit. And if you notice in the image of the back below, all the way to the left is its port. There’s also a knob for adjusting the bass level. So far, and I’ve just started testing it, the bass is good and reasonably punchy, but the overall audio quality is merely satisfying and at very loud levels the 192Kbps MP3s coming off my iPod don’t sound too good. But that’s not surprising really. I take this back. I was positioned right on top of the system when I originally listened to George. Moving to another spot in the room, about 10 feet from the system, revealed much better sound. I’m not saying that it’s life changing, but the quality is still satisfying on digital music even at very loud volumes, assuming you’re more than a couple feet away from the speakers.

As you can see, there are headphone, auxiliary and pre-out jacks on back, as well as connectors for the AM and FM antennas included with the unit (for the built-in bandless tuner) and a USB port for receiving software updates.

The best part of George is the removable module in the front center of the unit. It syncs with your iPod’s library and then you can pop it off and use it as a remote. The menu system mimics the iPod’s so you can navigate your content just as easily with the remote as you can the iPod itself.

Sorry for the mirror image, but you can see that you basically get to take control of your audio with you. And then if you want to switch to the AM/FM radio you can do that or anything connected to the aux input, too.

We’ll have a full review coming up soon, but so far the features on George are impressive. Though for $549, they really should be.

Chestnut Hill Sound GEORGE