MagicBox – Nocturne XP-2 review

Internet, DAB and FM radio plus iPod dock
Photo of MagicBox – Nocturne XP-2
£149.99

Remember the days when you sat patiently in front of a solid oak radio the size of a Wendy house, waiting for the tubes to warm up while you twiddled the dials past exotic names like Moscow, Luxembourg and Vienna? No? Well if you’re under 30 that’s because the digital and Internet revolution now demands that every radio become a multifunction entertainment centre – which is exactly what MagicBox has produced with its Nocturne XP-2.

Revamped with radio
Essentially this an upgrade from the Nocturne XP-1, with the significant addition of Wi-Fi Internet radio. If you’re not familiar with the earlier model then you’ll notice when you take the machine out the box how large it is at the front (299x171mm). Most of the device’s 1.75kg weight is concentrated in the sloping back half, which contains a 20 Watt subwoofer.

In keeping with current trends, the whole unit is styled in a mixture of glossy and matt black with a thin silver surround encircling the panel for the two 7 Watt speakers out front. Apart from the mains input in the rear (there’s no battery option), you have an R/L line out for attaching to an external amplifier, Aux input for a separate audio device, and a headphone socket.

Taking control
You have two options for operating the XP-2 – either using the touch-sensitive backlit command buttons spread across the top half of its front panel, or by means of the slim and much more practical remote control.

Pressing the remote’s mode button repeatedly lets you scroll through the six options available on the six-line white-on-black LCD: FM radio, iPod, Aux music player, Internet radio, Music player and DAB radio. While this is relatively effortless most of the time, setting up the device’s Wi-Fi connection to a router is a tedious procedure as there are no up or down arrows to speed things along, and holding down a side arrow doesn’t do anything to hasten the selection process.

Built-in iPod dock
Below the front speakers is a pop-out iPod dock that comes with seven adaptors to accommodate the later generations (iPhones will slot in comfortably without adaptors). The dock also acts as a recharging station when not in playback mode. Signal reception for DAB and FM radio overall is excellent (an extendable aerial is included) and there are 30 presets available for DAB, FM and Internet stations. However, if you want to create a Favourites list or add extra stations while in Internet radio mode, you have to dig out your machine’s access code from the menu and then register it with the Frontier Silicon website.

Audio performance
As for sound quality – there’s certainly more than enough volume to fill any kitchen or bedroom, and talk stations sound particularly rich and clear. Bass response is best when the Nocturne XP-2 is positioned against a wall, and the device’s treble levels allow reasonably good instrument differentiation. On the down side, the stereo is not as widely spaced as we’d like and the trebles become more tinny at the top end of the volume range.

Company: MagicBox

Contact: 02392 313090


Verdict
By adding Wi-Fi Internet radio to its existing collection of DAB and FM stations, as well as streaming music from a PC alongside iPod and auxiliary music players, MagicBox has produced a complete music entertainment system with bags of volume.