Top Toy: Compact Speaker System Offers Big Audio Dynamite

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Audio manufacturer Harman Kardon, known for its high-end performance and sober aesthetic, isn’t breaking from tradition with its new space-saving stereo system, the MAS 102.  

The compact four-piece unit, including a CD player, amplifier and loudspeakers, won’t crowd your living room but still rocks the house with a 2 x 65W amplifier, 5-inch mid-bass drivers and 1-inch waveguide-mounted dome tweeters. Delivering high volume levels, crisp audio and powerful, pristine sound on par with larger units, it also packs a handful of extras, from dual USB ports for playing digital music to iPod/iPhone support (dock annoyingly sold separately). In an intriguing unique bonus, a phono input also allows aspiring DJs to connect a turntable for impromptu record-scratching sessions.

Splitting the difference between form and function, the unit’s reasonable dimensions, booming acoustics and the ability to play back MP3 and WMA files or CD-R and CD-RW discs prove an immediate plus. But a lack of on-board integration with Apple’s digital music players seems suspect given the price, making the speaker system best suited to homes where space is of greater concern than ultra-high-end results or overall versatility.

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