A.M.P. speaker puts on a moving performance
I've heard $1,000,000 speakers. I've heard $10 speakers. But none of them can do a hundredth of what Tiger Electronics' new Automated Music Personality ( A.M.P.) can do. Let's compare, shall we, the $500 A.M.P. with Thiel Audio's universally praised, $9,900-per-pair CS3.7.
A.M.P.: Has a 5-inch midrange driver in its "chest" and a tweeter of unspecified dimension in each of its "hands." It also has an internal 12-watt amp, and connects directly to any MP3 player. Plus it generates 62 different sound effects.
Thiel: Also has a midrange driver, plus a 10-inch woofer and a bass radiator, but only a single tweeter, no amp, no MP3 player input jack, and no sound effects.
A.M.P.: Uses Tiger's Dynamic Balancing Technology to allow it to scoot all around your room on two side-by-side wheels.
Thiel: The CS3.7 has no balancing technology at all, though at about 125 pounds, it's pretty tough to tip.
A.M.P.: In Dance mode, the A.M.P. uses beat-detection circuitry to "listen" to the tune and choreograph appropriate movements.
Thiel: The CS3.7 lacks any dancing features whatsoever, an omission mentioned in none of the (supposedly professional) reviews we've read to date.
A.M.P.: Put the A.M.P. in Follow mode, and it will locate the infrared light streaming from the remote and come toward it. Walk around with the remote and the A.M.P. will follow you. Switch to Drive mode and you can control the A.M.P. much as you would a radio-controlled car - plus you can control the A.M.P.'s various body parts.
Thiel: Not a follower.
A.M.P.: With a futuristic robot form factor, chrome-look accents, and striking yellow highlights, the manufacturer's claim that the A.M.P. complements modern lifestyles is undeniable.
Thiel: The CS3.7 sports hand-matched veneer of your choice, applied by skilled artisans - not exactly an aesthetic match for an iPod or a Playstation 3.
A.M.P.: Sadly, the A.M.P.'s not available till October, so I haven't had a chance to assess its sound quality.
Thiel: The CS3.7's woofer/radiator combo might give it an edge overall, as might the three years that designer Jim Thiel put into perfecting the speaker's sonics. I hesitate to draw conclusions about the superiority of any piece of audio gear to any other, though, until I've had the chance to conduct methodical testing and rigorous comparisons.
Some might suggest a comparison between the A.M.P. and Sony's $399 Rolly might be more appropriate, but frankly, the A.M.P. looks as if it might pick the cute little Rolly up and smash it to bits. And that'd be sad to watch. So, suffice to say, the A.M.P., whether or not it's ever entrusted to a Sound & Vision reviewer, is in many ways the most capable speaker system we've ever encountered. -Brent Butterworth