The Soundfreaq Sound Stack audio dock for iOS devices and other smartphones and tablets delivers impressive sound and powerful bass that will satisfy serious audiophiles. But it doesn't come cheap at $400.
By Paul Mah, CIO
Soundfreaq’s Sound Stack is the company’s third-generation sound dock, and it is designed connect to a smartphone or tablet and provide high-quality audio for movies, TV shows, videos, games and Internet radio. The Sound Stack uses custom-engineered, Kevlar-reinforced balance drivers and proprietary DubSub subwoofers to create powerful bass despite the dock’s relatively modest form factor.
The Soundfreaq Sound Stack without iPad (top) and with iPad (bottom).
An Apple dock connector fits iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets, but you can also use the Sound Stack with most modern smartphones thanks to its Bluetooth support. And a 3.5mm input port lets you connect a computer or media player to the Sound Stack. Finally, an optical digital audio input (TOSLINK) means Sound Stack can connect to your Apple TV, DVD player and other gadgets that have similar digital ports.
The Sound Stack controls are touch-sensitive buttons, and the input source and activity status are clearly indicated by backlit icons on the front face.
The buttons are dimunitive, but touch sensitivity makes that a moot point.
Current input source is clearly shown on the front panel.
My Experience With the Soundfreaq Sound Stack
I’m impressed with the clear audio provided by the Sound Stack. Bass is strong but not overwhelming. And Sound Stack is particularly well suited for use in small to mid-sized rooms. Soundstage is reasonable, and it can be expanded by activating UQ3 spatial enhancement. I’m not exactly a fan of sound-processing functions, but the Sound Stack’s UQ3 feature didn’t seem to “diffuse” low notes as much as some other sound enhancements.
I was concerned that a docked iPad could affect Sound Stack music playback, but I didn’t notice any difference in volume with my iPad docked.
The Sound Stack has a few unique features and functionality, as well, including a dedicated remote control that affixes itself magnetically to the back of the dock. A USB port on the back can be used to power up compatible devices. The Sound Stack can also be controlled using an iOS or Android app when connected via Bluetooth; the apps let you toggle between input sources and provide some basic playback controls. And the apps let you access the Sound Stack’s FM radio functionality. (Not available on models sold outside the United States).
From left to right: Port for AC adapter; USB port for charging smartphones; optical input port; aux in; and a port for FM antenna (Included for non-International model)
The remote control magnetically affixes to the back of the Sound Stack.
Conclusion: Soundfreaq Sound Stack
My one significant complaint: the $399 price tag. There is a lot of competition in the audio dock market, and some people may not even consider paying $400 for Bluetooth sound dock. The Sound Dock does deliver high quality sound, though, and it’s clear that Soundfreaq really cares about audio quality. The Sound Stack’s range of input sources, excellent build quality and just about every feature you can conceive of for a sound dock set it apart from the rest of the pack.