Keene KLAB20D £130
22nd Nov 2010 | 09:30
An in-wall module solved Martin Pipe's Zone 2 audio issues
This ingenious stereo tuner-amplifier module is the same size as a double mains socket and is designed to fit into a surface or flush-mounted wall box. The KLAB20D includes a FM-only tuner with 10 presets, auxiliary inputs and an efficient 20W per channel Class 'D' amp.
One of the auxiliary inputs is a 3.5mm socket, accessible from the unit's front panel and thus ideal for plugging in iPods, personal CD players and so on.
The sound quality, although not up to audiophile standards, is very good indeed. With appropriate speakers, which are also connected via screw terminals, the KLAB20D will wipe the floor with the average iPod dock.
The basic operating controls take the form of membrane keys, which are resistant to wet fingers and everyday grime; however, the KLAB20D isn't designed for use in damp environments (it's not IP-rated). A remote control handset is also supplied.
Bass, treble, loudness and balance controls are available in a 'setup' mode. You can thus adjust the tone to suit your speakers and listening material. There are also 10 volume levels that can be preset.
The lack of a frequency display makes radio tuning awkward, and a good aerial feed is needed for all but the strongest of stations.
Also, being 25mm deep it may neatly screw onto a double wall box, but the supplied 15V power unit doesn't. The latter is of roughly the same size and shape as a laptop type.
Once the unit is installed, you have to partially remove the front panel membrane to access these screws, which can damage it, so be careful. Thankfully, Keene can supply replacement front panels.
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