Review: Yamaha TSX-130 Desktop Audio System

Most bookshelf sound systems leave us chanting, “less dock, more rock!” Yamaha’s latest all-in-one delivers room-filling sound to small and medium-sized spaces, but admittedly, it isn’t boomin’ enough to satisfy a circa-’82 LL Cool J.

To be fair, this diminutive 9-pound, 15-watt noisebox pumps out sound that almost justifies its semi-hefty price tag. Tunes emanate from the speaker with great separation and acceptable mid-range, albeit with bass that’s less than bangin’. Then again, if you’re in the market for a dock in this price range, bumping big bass is probably not your bag.

So why bother? In addition to the prerequisite iPod dock, CD drive (physical media? As if!) FM radio (yawn) and DAB+ digital radio, this clock-stereo is primed for file-sharing, literally. The system has an easy-to-access topside USB port. Say a “friend” shows up with a thumb drive of Jonas Brother bootlegs. Rather than let him sully your HDD with petulant teen crooning, just pop that sucker into the speaker system for instant gratification (for him) and dry heaving (for you).

If you’ve got the cash, need a small unit that does more than simply pump iPod tunes, you could do a lot worse than this.

get-gadget The “b” in USB here stands for “belongs on top, not in the back.” USB handles MP3 and WMA formats easily. Clean, understated design lines. Short and shallow enough to fit on many bookcases. Dimmable display perfect for bedtime “dance” parties. Perfectly acceptable mid-range.

TIRED Not loud enough for really big spaces (read anything larger than 20 x 20 feet). Remote control required to set time and date. Screwdriver required to change remote control’s batteries. A bit large for smaller bedside tables. Bass has enough kick to rattle granny, but certainly won’t raise LL Cool J’s eyebrows.

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