Product Review (July 2008)
Mint 220 - Wireless Digital Music Station

By Kevin Nakano


There are plenty of products designed to play audio from iPods, most of which have mediocre sound quality. Creating a small portable unit that sounds good poses a real challenge to designers. A company called Digital Signature Inc. from South Korea with Headquarters in Santa Ana, California has introduced a series of digital music stations designed to offer customers versatility in the way they play their music. One such product is the Mint 220, which offers both wired and wireless music with iPod compatibility. The unit also allows audio from a laptop or desktop to be transmitted to the music player from the wireless transmitter. The Mint 220 has a pair of 3.5” full-range Peerless® speakers that results in impressive sound quality from a compact sound system. Peerless® transducers are well known for their excellent sound and high quality construction. The system uses PurePath Digital™ Technology from Texas Instruments with two 30W RMS class-D high efficiency power amplifiers. The company states the frequency response to be 60 Hz – 26 KHz. The Mint 220 is designed to offer customers high-fidelity audio for iPod, MP3 players, games, TV, and computer (PC/Mac) users. The unit measures 11.4" W x 7" D x 4.3" H and weighs 3.5 pounds.

iPod Dock
The iPod mating connector works with most of the iPod devices including the iPod Touch and the iPhone. The iPod device is charged when inserted into the base. The sides of the dock have power and input select buttons, while the opposite side has volume control buttons. The front of the dock has a set of blue LEDs behind a set of four symbols used to indicate which input is selected. There is also an EQ On/Off symbol. We ran our tests with an iPod Shuffle and the sound quality was very good with a smooth and crisp frequency response. The bass was surprisingly good for a small unit. Activating the EQ setting helped improved the perceived sound by boosting the bass and treble levels.

Rear Panel
The back of the Mint 220 has the DC IN power input jack and a standard 3.5mm stereo jack. The universal AC power adapter accommodates a wide voltage range (100VAC-240VAC, 50/60Hz) making it acceptable worldwide. The adapter produces a significant amount of power with 18VDC at 3 amps. The CONNECT button is used to pair with the wireless USB dongle. The LINE IN input is designed to connect to other audio devices such as Zune, DVD/CD player, or gaming products. The audio quality was equally impressive using this input. The audio cable needed for this interface is not included with the system.

USB Dongle
The Mint 220 includes a USB Transmitter that sends audio from your PC/Laptop or MAC to the Mint 220 speaker System. This system operates on a 2.4 GHz unlicensed ISM band. Installation was a breeze and did not require any special software or drivers on our XP-based Sony Vaio laptop. Upon inserting the Mint 220 dongle, Windows recognized it and made it the default audio device. Pairing was as simple as pressing the corresponding buttons on both the USB dongle and the back of the Mint 220 unit. The sound immediately switched to the Mint 220 audio device and all sound from our laptop played through the Mint 220 system.

Mint Remote
The Mint remote is of the smaller genre, yet has controls for power, equalization (on/off), volume (including mute), and standard iPod functions (play/pause and chapter skip). The three bottom buttons are used to select the audio source (iPod, Line In, or Wireless audio). The remote runs from a standard 3V CR2025 button battery included with the system.

Performance
The Mint 220 is one of the easiest products to use and offers users the flexibility of using a laptop, an iPod or any other music player with the same speaker system. Installation was simple and painless, which is sometimes not the case when dealing with new products. What surprised us most was the quality of the sound our laptop was capable of producing. We no longer used the built-in speakers once we experienced the sound quality from the Mint 220. Although the wireless range is specified to be as high as 45 feet, we found this to be exaggerated in a real-world environment with occasional dropouts in the audio. Keeping the distance to reasonable lengths (10 feet or so) made the connection reliable.

 

Conclusion
The Mint 220 is a nice sounding digital audio system with versatile connectivity. The iPod dock on the front of the unit will deliver great sound from the portable audio players while charging them. The Mint 220 also includes a wired audio input jack for those audio player lacking the iPod interface connector. We connected our Zune to the back with excellent results. The design appears solid and the music reproduction was great for such a compact design. We found the 2.4GHz wireless connection to be somewhat limited in range with some sacrifice in fidelity when compared to the wired connections. However, the wireless feature is a powerful one making the product unique. Having high quality audio from our laptop was a refreshing change that soon spoiled us. We no longer had to put up with the poor audio coming from our laptop's built-in speakers. The versatility of the Mint 220 and the reasonable price ($180) makes it a great addition to our laptop and gives us the ability to use it for music as well as other audio applications.

- Kevin Nakano





OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Laptop: Sony Vaio VGN-N130G (Core Duo T2050 1.60GHz 1GB 80GB)
MP3 Player: Microsoft Zune


Review at a glance

Mint 220 - Wireless Digital Music Station

Features

  • The Mint 220 Digital Music Station offers the highest fidelity digital audio, using Texas Instruments’ PurePath Digital audio amplification for optimal performance.
  • Wireless 2.4GHz lossless audio streaming from your Mac or PC with the included Mint USB Wireless Transmitter
  • Mint’s Di-Fi™ digital-sound is delivered from your PC or Mac wirelessly, with no loss of fidelity, up to 45 feet or 15 meters
  • Careful craftsmanship, acoustic engineering and sealed enclosure design offer precise audio usually found only in much pricier systems
  • Two 3.5” full-range Peerless® transducers for big speaker sound and compact, mini-speaker versatility.

Include

  • Mint 220 Speaker System
  • Mint Wireless USB Audio Transmitter
  • Mint Remote Control
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
  • User Guide
  • Warranty Card
Download PDF Spec Sheet

Company Information
Digital Signature Inc.
1221 E. Dyer Road, Suite 290
Santa Ana, CA 92705 USA
Tel: (866) 903-4453

MSRP: $179.99

URL: http://www.mintds.com

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