mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb iPod Dock

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mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb iPod Dock
Installation and Testing the mStation Orb

Product: mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb
Provided By: mStation
Price: $129.99 MSRP

Introduction:

Apple has dominated the portable media market with its iPod series.  A year or so ago I told people that I had no intention of falling into the iPod trap and other media players were just as good.  Then I bought my wife a nice pink iPod Nano 2G and got a chance to use it a bit.  I discovered that the controls were very smooth and the device quality was as good as or better than other media players.  Time went on and I bought myself a 30GB iPod Video (5G) then I upgraded to an 80GB iPod Classic.  While wearing headphones is all good and fine while you're out walking, working or whatever, it's nice to be able to listen to your music "unplugged" from your iPod at times.

It's with this in mind that companies have swamped the market with speaker docks.  You can find speaker docks as cheap as $19.99 and I've seen some top out over $800.  Some come battery powered for portability and some are huge floor-standing units that take two people to move.  Today we are looking some something in between that should be affordable for most people that can afford an iPod.  We've got the mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb and are looking at this volleyball-sized unit to see if it sounds good and is a good place to sit your iPod for a few hours.

mStation Orb Box
mStation Orb Box

About mStation:

Until mStation contacted me regarding this product to review, I'd never heard of them so I thought it would be good to touch base on the company.

At mStation we are focused on being a leader in the advancement of digital, single and multi-user multimedia technology. Thus we set our sights on designing a 2.1 Stereo Sound System to go along with what was fast becoming the MP3 player of our generation, the iPod. Our products for the iPod were designed with sleek, clean lines to compliment the look and feel of the iPod, but also to be able to stand on their own with the ability to work with other MP3/CD players, as well as, desktop computers. Most importantly, it had to sound good! All future mStation products are being designed with these same three concepts in mind: 1) Sleek and Clean in Form, 2) Compatibility in Function 3) High Standards in Sound

 

First Look:

The mStation Orb is just that - an orb and it comes well packaged and arrived in great shape.  The top of the orb is shiny plastic and has removable cradles so that you can match up your iPod with the appropriate cradle.  It also has the IR Receiver and buttons for power, volume, forward, back and play/pause.

Front View
Front View
 Rear View
Rear View

 

The middle front of the mStation Orb is covered by a fabric grill and you can view three speaker grills behind the mesh.  Moving around to the back we see a single larger grill that we can only assume is for the "subwoofer".  The rear grill measures approximately 7cm so it's not a large subwoofer by any means.

 

What's Included:

Not only do you get the mStation Orb, but you get everything else you'll need to hook up this unit to pretty much any player with a headphone jack.  It comes with a power cord/adapter to power the orb and a USB/mini-USB cable to connect it to your computer for use as a syncing dock.  Also included is a 10 button remote control and an male to male 1/8" Stereo adapter that will allow you to plug in virtually any MP3 player to the mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb.  Obviously, the remote control will not work for skipping songs and the play/pause button won't work, but other controls like volume, bass and treble work fine when a device is connected via the stereo cable.

 Included Gear
Included Gear
Cradles
Cradles

 

Also in the bundle are cradle adapters for many current popular iPods.  The dock itself supports iPod Video, iPod Nano, iPod Mini, iPod Photo and iPod Classic.  If you are using this mStation Orb with an original iPod or an iPod shuffle, you'll have to use the line-in cable as these don't have a compatible dock connector.

My main complaint with the mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb is the remote control.  The thing is large.  When I say large, I mean it's bigger than an iPod Classic.  Many remote controls are quite small and run of a thin 3v Lithium Ion battery.  The mStation remote runs off the same battery, but they forgot to shrink the rest of the remote down to scale with the battery.

 Remote Size
Remote Size

 

The range and direction of the remote is somewhat limited and you'll have to make sure you have a fairly direct line to the remote sensor on the Orb or it won't work very well.  There was a couple of times when I thought that the remote battery went suddenly dead or it was broken because it wouldn't work at distances and angles that many other remotes do.  I'd day it can be no more than 20° from center and at no more than 15' range to work properly.  Your experience may vary, but this is what my wife and I observed while using this in the house.