Roth Audio ALFiE

Roth Audio ALFiE

A fine concept hampered by some iffy execution, the ALFiE gets enough right to warrant consideration as a second system. The user interface will try your patience, though

Mac Centre
> Product website
Price: $899
> Pricing info
Blu-ray No DVD Yes DVD+R/+RW No DVD-A No DVD-R/-RW No DVD-RAM No HD DVD No MP3 Yes SACD No Hard disk (Gb) n/a Records DVD+R/+RW No Records DVD-R/-RW No Records DVD-RAM No Rated power (w) 40 DAB No FM Yes MW Yes LW No SW No Internet radio No Dolby Digital EX No Dolby Digital Plus No Dolby TrueHD No DTS 96/24 No DTS HD No DTS Master Audio No DTS Neo: 6 No DTS-ES No Pro-Logic II No Pro-Logic IIx No HDMI Out 0 Component Out 0 S-Video Out 0 Composite Out 0 HDMI In 0 Component In 0 S-Video In 0 Composite In 0 Optical digital In 0 Coaxial digital In 0 FireWire In 0 USB In 0 Analogue audio In 1 Phono In No Multichannel analogue In No Ethernet 0 HDMI 1.3a No Internet/networking capability No Memory card No Wireless rear speakers No Head unit (hwd, mm) 11x39x26 Speakers (hwd, mm) n/a Subwoofer (hwd, mm) n/a

What's this ALFiE all about? Well, Roth Audio has delivered an all-in-one system that aims to cover all your second-room video and audio requirements - and has named it either after a viciously amoral Michael Caine character or an idiot soap-opera publican. Luckily, Roth's ALFiE is more useful than both.

It's a compact box (11 x 36 x 29cm), into which is crammed 2 x 10 watts of stereo power and an extra 20 watts to drive a downward firing subwoofer.
There's a slot-loading disc drive that's able to read DVDs, CDs and CD-borne MP3s, an AM/FM tuner and an elegantly integrated iPod dock. There's an auxiliary input too, and the unit's bedroom credentials are further enhanced by the inclusion of an alarm function.

There's a lot to consider in performance terms, then. As a DVD player, the ALFiE is an ideal second-room unit - it may top out at component video outputs, but 576i pictures delivered this way are colourful and high-contrast.

There's picture noise in more testing scenes, and restlessness to edges or complex patterns, but motion is gripped well and sound is far superior to that of any TV you might have in your bedroom.

Bass notes sound overconfident
Sound from CD, radio or iPod is a slightly more qualified success. The ALFiE is never less than listenable, delivering music with assurance and enthusiasm - but the Roth's bass notes sound boxy and overconfident.

There are tone controls available to try to even things out, but the exhibitionist bottom end is not to be dissuaded.

ALFiE gets a lot right - so why only four stars? Mostly, it's because the machine is a trial to use. The remote control is unpleasant and uncertain, FM radio does without RDS, the display forgets how long a second lasts when playing an iPod, you can't eject a disc when using a different input and the touch-sensitive controls on the unit aren't sensitive at all.

We could live with the rather overblown and unnatural bass but we'd struggle to endure ALFiE's ergonomic shortcomings.

Comprehensive bedroom/kitchen solution; enjoyable pictures from DVD; enthusiastic sound

Ergonomically half-baked; obtrusive bass

Source: Copyright © 2010 What HiFi?

See more about:  roth  |  audio  |  alfie

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