Parrot DS1120 Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

There aren’t many speaker systems in the world that utilize a wireless Bluetooth connection in order to connect to a computer or a phone.  Parrot is one of the manufacturers that have brought a few models to market, including the Parrot Zikmu. Its design is a work of the famed Philippe Starck and is equal parts high end speaker system, iPod dock and living room decor,  and it supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Their latest, the DS1120, is more of a desktop system which can be connected via cable or via Bluetooth. 

In the box you’ll find:

  • Two AC adapters
  • Two speakers
  • User Manual
  • Two Software CDs
  • Bluetooth Adapter
  • Two 3.5mm cables


Design:

The speakers have an interesting shape and if you have a strong imagination you may take them for two singed piglets which stay on the sides of your monitor. The dimensions of a single speaker are 6.02 x 5.67 x 5.16 inches and its weight is almost 33.5 OZ.


The protective cover is on the front side. It’s attached only with a magnet and although firmly pressed close to the body, it can be easily removed and readjusted. Its purpose is both to decorate and to protect the single speaker inside, which is a 4” full-range one.

Both speakers have three equally arranged keys, which are situated on the right side. Regardless of which speaker you’re controlling, both of them react the in same way simultaneously. Since they utilize a capacitive technology there is no tactile feedback, but they are very sensitive and blink in order to indicate interaction.


The back side of a Parrot DS1120 speaker is also very simple. There are two connectors – Line In (3.5mm jack) and Power, used for connection to a power supply. The term wireless is a bit of a misnomer, since you have to place them near AC outlets, however both speakers are completely independent of each other.  For example, you can place them in two opposite ends of your room  and they will connect via Bluetooth. This is a nice feature, but we would have liked it more if they were truly wireless.



Functionality:

Since the DS1120 doesn’t have its own built-in power supply you’ll have to use a separate adapter in order to power both speakers. Its cable is 1.5 meters long. In addition, there is a two-meter cable, via which you can connect the speakers to the music source. The other way is to transmit the signal via Bluetooth, but then again, you’ll have to use the cable for connection between the speakers.

In order to establish a Bluetooth connection you will have to press the Bluetooth button, which can be found on both of the speakers and activate pairing mode. When this mode is activated all of the buttons start blinking. After the connection is  established, the two buttons for volume control affect only the speakers, and don’t interact with the device to which they are connected. When + and – are touched simultaneously the sound is muted. There is no way to change the song or to pause your music by using the speakers’ controls.

You can use the included (or any) USB Bluetooth adapter your device’s built in Bluetooth,  the only requirement is that it must be able to transmit stereo audio signal, i.e. to support the A2DP profile. The DS1120 can be easily connected to a computer. The software is practical and stable, and once you have installed it, you won’t need to set anything else.


Performance:

During our tests of the DS1120 we encountered a strange problem – if the volume of the source (i.e. the computer) is too high, the result is deplorable. Music becomes a sequence of creaking and crackling sounds. For optimal use, you should turn the main source down, and then control the volume with the player and the speakers.

There was also the issue of sound delay,usually about 150 milliseconds; much like a bad Kung-Fu movie, when paired with video the sound lags behind the on-screen images. This little glitch makes the DS1120 suitable only for listening to music.

In this role you will experience better results, but still not that brilliant. The sound quality is good, but not enough to justify the proud abbreviation “hi-fi”. When the volume is turned to the middle, the high tones  begin to crackle, and when it’s to the max things get ugly. Unfortunately, even when turning down the source the speakers will still not provide satisfying results. However, keep in mind that it depends on what kind of music you are listening to. Fans of R&B and pop artists will hardly have any problems, but the rock fans will definitely have some trouble. As a whole, the DS1120 will be good enough for the unpretentious user, as long as you aren’t using it for a party.

Conclusion:

There are some reasons for which we didn’t like the DS1120. The first one is that it is a wireless system that still needs to be connected to an AC outlet. The only use of the wireless speakers is if you want to place one of them at the other end of the room. The volume is suitable for personal use, but won’t reach levels needed for a party. Lastly, when you pay this  much for speakers you will certainly want to show them off, right? For the price you’ll find much higher quality equipment, and for those looking for a pick-up-and-go wireless solution the Parrot Party is a better option due to their compact size.



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