Having a Rolling Stone on your team of developers is a sure sign to success right? Not necessarily in the iPod accessory market. Chestnut Hill Sound’s new George joins the slew of iPod dock/speakers with one feature that will blow you away. It’s way to interface with your iPod is a simple display with buttons…that detaches from the unit! Check out this full review of the Chestnut Hill Sound George.
The design of the George is nothing fancy. It simply gets the job done without putting any unnecessary parts into it. It keeps a nice rounded shape to the perimeter with actual edges when dropping from top to sides. On the top is a little hinged door to allow your iPod (any kind with a click wheel) to dock. The door is nice because if you decide to use the auxiliary input, you don’t want a little gap in the top; it keeps the top flat.
Swinging around to the back, you have easy access to the many different inputs and outputs allowed by the George, nothing too complicated here.
On to the front: Here we have the two stereo speakers and the wireless remote. The speakers are protected by nice fabric covers that fit into little slots (they come off). As for the remote, it is pretty simple and easy to get around. There are numerical buttons (1-8) that perform unique tasks for each screen. In addition, we have the regular play/pause, menu, forward, and backward buttons. Also included (and needed for good library browsing) is the knob and knob button. The screen is a good size, just what is needed to browse your media library.
Here’s where the good stuff is. Let’s start with the wireless remote, since that is what differentiates it from the competition. It is very simple to use, and it charges in either the George, or a separate charging dock you can buy. The remote can be used to browse your music (via iPod), control volume/sound quality, seek through the radio, and edit other specific functions. It has a solid wireless signal that works well across any room of your house. There is no lag with the remote, press a button and it works immediately.
Another strong feature of the George is that it is firmware and hardware upgradeable. Chestnut Hill Sound has expressed a strong interest in the HD radio market and other possibilities that are emerging everyday. You can connect the George to your computer via USB and download the latest and greatest firmware to fix bugs and add functionality not present before. As for hardware upgradeable, what does that mean? New remotes in the future? Different dock adapters for new media players? It’s an open world out there, George is ready to adopt anything.
Finally, the radio in George is fairly unique as it is “BANDLESS™ Radio which eliminates the artificial barrier of bands, allowing you to tune and organize your station according to interest.” You get great performance on both AM and FM, which is what the folks at Chestnut Hill Sound were going for.
At such a high price, you might expect the George to perform better than most speakers available. You won’t be let down. The usual setup: 2 stereo speakers in the front with a down-firing sub on the bottom. What makes for the high quality sound is that they are bi-amped. What does this mean? Basically, there are separate amps for the sub and the tweeters, so you get a sound that gets even closer to what the artist originally meant the song to sound like. One issue that I have had with the George is the bass. If you place the George across the room, it sounds amazing. But if you happens to be sitting right next to it, you can hear the bass rattling the back plate of the unit. Other than that, great sound.
If you have the money to spend on a super hi-tech piece of audio equipment for the office or the kitchen (or any small room), the Chestnut Hill Sound George seems to fly by the competition right now. With the wireless remote that seems so obvious a necessity, the obnoxious task of getting up to change songs is no longer present. While the George is not cheap at $550, you do get the quality that you pay for. Excellent sound quality coupled with technology that can be upgraded keeps the George future-proof. Check back for updates over the next week. — Nik Gomez
Chestnut Hill Sound George Product Page [Chestnut Hill Sound]