Back in late 2004, we reviewed JBL’s diminutive, donut-shaped speaker system for the iPod, the On Stage. Overall, we were impressed by the On Stage’s attractive design, spacious sound, and treble response. Our biggest criticisms were a significant lack of bass response and the omission of a wireless remote control, especially when compared to other systems in the same price range.
The newest version of the On Stage, the On Stage II, doesn’t improve on its predecessor’s bass response, but it does better the original On Stage by including a wireless remote. In fact, JBL has integrated Griffin Technology’s popular AirClick remote into the On Stage II. When we reviewed the AirClick last year — see http://playlistmag.com/reviews/2005/04/remoterun2/index.php — we weren’t fans of its unintuitive button layout, but found that it offers good range and liked its handy hold switch and belt clip. The On Stage version of the AirClick is identical to the Griffin version — apart from the latter’s steering-wheel attachment, which wouldn’t be very useful here — and is a welcome addition to an already solid On Stage system.
If you’re in the market for a small iPod speaker system for a desk, bedroom, or kitchen, and you don’t need battery-powered portability or booming bass, JBL’s On Stage II offers open, detailed sound in a stylish package.
(For a comprehensive look at the On Stage, on which the On Stage II is based, please see our original review at http://playlistmag.com/reviews/2004/11/onstage/index.php.)–Dan Frakes