Lenoxx Sound CD-1492
Aaron buys a new stereo for the office...
You may have noticed that we have reviewed a couple of sets of computer speakers in past issues of RISCWorld, so why on earth am I reviewing a CD stereo system? Well it's quite simple; I needed a new office stereo, but due to current financial restraints, I had bugger all to spend on a new one. So whilst being dragged kicking and screaming around Safeway (I have an allergy to food/clothes/shoe shopping - it's funny that I seem to have married someone who doesn't) I spotted a large palette of CD systems - even better they were on special offer, a complete CD/Tuner/Cassete player combo with speakers for a penny under £20. It had to be worth a punt, especially as I happened to have a crisp note in my wallet. So what on earth can you buy these days for "pocket money", well let's find out.
So having carefully ripped the box open, inside is a shiny new stereo, packaged in what looked suspiciously like recycled egg boxes. For those sort of money you can't expect a remote control, but that doesn't bother me as I will only ever be an arms stretch away from the volume control. You do get the stereo, speakers and a rather natty 21 page instruction manual. 21 pages! It's only a Stereo! So first things first what are the specs:
Right that's that out of the way, so what on earth is a 20 quid stereo going to sound like? Well I wasn't expecting much and I nearly just threw the speakers straight in the bin, as all I really needed was the CD/radio bit. Anyway lets try it, but wait, where is the mains lead? Argh, it's missing. After a frantic minute hunting through the packaging I was convinced it was missing. If I had bothered reading the instructions stuck to the top of the stereo instead of just ripping it off without looking I would have discovered that the mains lead was hidden inside the battery compartment, cunning.
So with that little diversion over it was time to try it. Much to mine and Hayley's surprise it didn't sound half bad, in actual fact it sounded rather reasonable. Turning on the bass boost made things even better. The speaker enclosures themselves are only made of plastic and hence resonate at higher volumes, and extra "sound" is obtained using the bass ports in the back. This is a quick and cheap way of getting more out of a small speaker, since it allows the speaker to move air in both directions and create more sound. As you would expect the sound isn't superb, but the little stereo picks out a surprising amount of detail in the mid and higher ranges, the bass is certainly fuzzy, but at least it's present. Many cheap stereos have little bass response and to me the sound they produce is totally wrong. A quick comparison with the boombox we have in the kitchen (from Tesco - yes more food shopping) which cost the same showed there was no comparison, withe the Lenoxx producing a much better well rounded sound.
As is often the case speaker positioning is quite critical, placing the speakers a few inches from a wall improved the sound further. The supplied cables are long enough to get the speakers far enough apart for a nice clean stereo separation.
The CD player works well, although, as you expect for the price, skips at the slightest knock. The FM tuner also works well enough, with a rear aerial that folds away neatly but can be extended and repositioned for the best reception. The tape deck also performs very well, although there is no bias adjustment. Not that this matters as I haven't listened to a tape for years and don't intend to. All the controls feel nice to use, the volume control especially, it rotates smoothly and being analogue offers adjustment to the ideal level easily. overall the entire system feels well made and although it's no stunner in the looks stakes it is far from offensive.
So overall am I pleased? Yes, very pleased, the Lenoxx performs far better than I had any right to expect. If you need a portable stereo, or a small form factor stereo then I can whole heartedly recommend it. It doesn't excel in any area but it doesn't disappoint either, and at under £20 it represents an absolute bargain.