Provides: iDevice 2.1 audio playback, docking, light effects and alarm
Developer: Monster Cable Products, Inc.
Minimum Requirements: Dockable iPhone or iPad, or other audio device with audio output
Availability: Out now
Monster has been known to make some bold decisions with their speaker and headphone lines, but the TRON Light Disc Audio Dock is one I really have to question. I mean, I get the coolness factor. Although I was largely disappointed by TRON: Legacy, I remain a fan of the franchise. I’m also a big fan of great sounding audio. Monster combines the two with stunning results here, but will many besides me really care?
I have to start off by saying that you really need to see this thing in order to fully appreciate it. The lighting effect is really sweet, especially in the dark.
When you turn the dock on, the individually controlled LED lights turn on around the edges, spinning into the full circle. They remain on during playback, but if you get the app, you can really start to have some fun.
The app you need is Tron. This is good, as it’s the free one. But after I downloaded and installed it, my iPhone kept telling me I still need the app when docked with the Light Disc. After some research, I found that the Light Disc apparently only recognizes the app if you install it when your iPhone is docked in the Light Disc. This is especially annoying because when you tell the iPhone that, yes, you want to install the app, it doesn’t take you directly to the app in the App Store. It takes you to the store front, and you then have to search for it. Should I blame Apple for this nonsense? Monster? Disney? CLU? You tell me.
Regardless, once the app is installed, it allows you to do more with the LEDs on the Light Disc than just turn them on. They pulse with the music, creating a pretty cool light show. It’s a great conversation piece at a party, and it’s a soothing way to lull yourself to sleep. That’s especially worthwhile, because the app contains an alarm clock, too.
Although all of this is nice dressing, it’s still mainly a speaker system. A $300.00 speaker system, I’ll remind you, so is it worth it? Kind of. There’s no doubt that you’re paying a premium for the light show, but that doesn’t mean the sound isn’t good.
The Tron Light Disc Audio Dock features four 1.5″ midrange drivers and a 3.5″ downfiring subwoofer to generate clean, powerful sound that’s likely to trick people into thinking its coming from something bigger than that weird TRON thing sitting on shelf. But what are the full specs? I have no idea. In a blunder uncharacteristic of Monster, they don’t have them posted on their website, in the manual or on the box. I should think people would at least want to know the wattage of a speaker system before buying it.
Beyond that, there’s the functionality of the device itself. In front of the dock at the base of the ring are your typical audio controls: volume, play/pause, fast forward and rewind. There’s also button to view the playlist or clock app. The buttons are easily accessed, but you’ll likely want to keep the remote handy as it adds lighting effects control, a dimmer, mute, shuffle and repeat. Unfortunately, neither the remote nor the buttons on the device light up, so you’ll find it difficult to control the system in the dark.
The back of the unit contains a large dimmer switch and auxiliary input, while the on/off/auto switch is on the bottom. I can’t imagine you’d want to use anything other than auto, which automatically powers up the unit when you plug in your iDevice, but it’s there if you need it.
I can’t deny that the TRON Light Disc Audio Dock is simply the coolest speaker system I’ve ever seen. If you’re a TRON geek like me, it’s exactly what you’d want it to be. But it also costs $300, and that’s a little hard to justify simply for the geek-factor. You can likely find a comparable sounding speaker dock for $200.
Aside from the app integration, Monster got just about everything right with this unit, but for a very limited audience. Someone this into TRON, who’s also this picky about sound, who needs a speaker system that’s more about showing off than simple audio enjoyment, and who has this much money to spend…is that person out there somewhere? I think probably, because I was him about 15 years ago. To get back there…well, Disney will have to do a whole lot better with their next TRON movie.
Monster, in the meantime, has already done their part.
Buy the TRON Light Disc Audio Dock