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Discover New Music

  • War of the Worlds

    • 10 out of 10
    • Jeff Wayne
    • With the new movie adaptation of H.G Wells' classic Sci Fi invasion tale, War of the Worlds, currently on theater screens everywhere, there's new interest in Jeff Wayne's rock opera version, and it is
  • Suspended Animation

    • 8 out of 10
    • Fantomas
    • Mike Patton may well be one of the hardest working men in showbiz these days, and his latest with Fantômas underscores just about how far out he is willing to travel.

      Suspended Animation

  • The Life Pursuit

    • 8 out of 10
    • Belle & Sebastian
    • The Life Pursuit is a sort of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. You get Belle & Sebastian's peanut butter (its wistful, often irresistible pop) dipped in a 'Have A Nice Day!' and glam 70s chocol

  • Guero

    • 10 out of 10
    • Beck
    • Beck is the modern master of the groove, and Guero is merely the latest example of this. From the opening power chords of "E-Pro," to the Pac-Man cuteness of "Girl," to the dirge-like lullab

  • The Printz

    • 8 out of 10
    • Bumblebeez 81
    • Part white rap, part alternative, part pop, and part rock, the Bumblebeez grabbed a hold of me with "Pony Ride," and didn't let go.

      This group does a marvelous job of moving seamlessly be

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In-Depth Review

Samson StudioDock 3i Active USB Monitors

Samson's StudioDock 3i is a unique package that combines a pair of small powered speakers with an iPod dock and connects to your Mac (or PC) via USB. With a 1.25-inch silk dome tweeter, heavy duty 3.25-inch copolymer driver, tuned rear bass port, and built-in 30w amplifier, this little system delivers bigger and better sound than you might expect from such modestly-sized speakers.

This sophisticated desktop audio system is more than just a pair of powered speakers, offering multiple applications including:

  • Listening to audio from your Mac or PC
  • Listening to audio from your iPod
  • Listening to audio from any other source (via either the 1/8-inch stereo AUX input on the front panel or dual RCA inputs on the rear)
  • Listening to any of the above through headphones (via the 1/8-inch stereo headphone jack on the front panel)


  • Syncing your iPods with iTunes
Here are closer looks at the front and back panels and their features:

As you can surely see, StudioDock 3i is more than just a sweet set of powered speakers, especially when you consider their reasonable price ($149). Alas, I can always find something to gripe about and in this case it's that while I found this system otherwise quite attractive, it's just not usable with an iPhone. Although it is possible to dock and recharge your iPhone in the StudioDock, the painful audio interference you'll experience pretty much guarantees you will never want to do it again.

The Bottom Line

The StudioDock 3i is more than yet another set of powered speakers. Rather, it's a sophisticated multi-function desktop audio system for computers, iPods, and other audio sources that looks good and sounds great. Considering its size and price, it's worth considering unless your iPod of choice happens to be an iPhone. If that's the case, I'm sad to report, the StudioDock is totally inappropriate.

Just The Facts

StudioDock 3i from Samson


Pros:Compact size, good sound, multiple input sources, dock for charging and syncing iPods.

Cons:Not suitable for use with an iPhone.

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