Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mint Studio Multi-Room Wireless Speaker/iPod Dock Review

The Mint Studio is an update of the Mint 220 wireless speakers we reviewed last year. Although the two units look almost exactly the same, the Studio fixes the complaints we had from its predecessor, AND it's cheaper.

The Price:


The Verdict:

It's good! We had three issues with the first one: wireless interference, the inability to adjust the volume from the computer when using the USB wireless audio dongle, and the price. To start, it's $130, down from $150, and our volume changes on the MacBook Pro transferred directly over the air to volume changes in the player.

If you're talking sound quality, the Mint Studio is decent. This is more about the convenience of wireless speakers than having a really great sounding set of speakers. For $130, you get a not-too-shabby set that can also act as an iPod dock. It's definitely better than the speakers you have in your laptop, so that's already an upgrade.

Lastly, the wireless interference is reduced by hopping over two channels instead of just one, which should help to curb many problems unless you have a lot of wireless laptops using the same frequency. Also, 802.11n laptops and routers are pretty much de facto since we reviewed the previous Mint, so you shouldn't see any interference if you're using the 5GHz channel for your N traffic.

One bonus feature introduced in the Mint Studio is the ability to support three different units from one transmitting laptop. We tested this in our house, with the laptop source and USB transmitter on the first floor, and one unit on each of the three floors. It was able to reach all three floors with zero audible loss, which is pretty great, and within its household operating range (with walls and floors) of 100 feet.

And in case there was any confusion, it's not waterproof—we just enjoy planting it on a shelf outside the shower and streaming music while we bathe. It allows us to keep our laptops out of splash distance too.

It also still supports line-in and still acts like an iPod/iPhone dock, and works fine in those respects too. With the low price and improved featureset, I think the Mint Studio is a pretty good buy for people who want cheap multi-room audio that can also function as an iPod dock.

All credits and information was found by gizmodo.


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