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Eine Kleine Nakamichi

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You're lying in bed, savoring those last, peaceful moments of sleep, when your alarm goes off. Rather than simply turn it off, roll out of bed, and wander into the bathroom, however, you realize you have to wake yourself up enough to reset the alarm for your fortunate partner, who can afford to spend another 20 minutes in slumber. Now let's be honest: That's annoying. But it may just be a thing of the past. The Japanese manufacturer Nakamichi has recently launched SoundSpace 3, a radio-CD-alarm clock built for two, with separate units for either side of the bed that can be programmed separately in advance. What's more, the sound you get is high-fidelity: According to Nakamichi, SoundSpace 3 is the world's first such clock with a separate subwoofer. (It also won a prestigious Innovations 2000 award at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.) Here's how it stacks up.

Price: $500.

How it works:
SoundSpace 3 comprises three components: the main unit, which includes the CD player, the radio tuner, and all of the programming buttons and also serves as one alarm clock; the subwoofer, which sits in the middle between the other two; and the companion unit, which is placed on the other side of the bed and serves as the second alarm clock. Using the wireless remote control or the buttons on the main unit, you program the time and alarm settings for both the main and companion units. You can also deactivate the companion unit without turning off the main unit.

Simple. Just attach the cords to join the three units, then plug the AC adapter into a two-pronged wall outlet.

There isn't very much required, but I found that I needed the manual to figure out how to do it.

The overall look:
Sleek and compact. Each unit is the same size and shape (6.5 x 6.5 x 2.5 inches), with brushed-aluminum covers and borders and a black plastic band in the middle where the clock display sits. Most of the buttons are tiny and located on or under the cover of the main unit; the only button on the companion unit is the snooze button.

What it cannot scan:
Oversized business cards. It also has problems with cards with tabs at the top and/or Rolodex holes at the bottom.

The clock display:
The numbers and letters, which are in digital format, are displayed in a pale, fluorescent aqua. There is an auto-dimmer circuit that automatically adjusts the brightness of the display to the ambient light in the room. You can also select from 12-hour and 24-hour clock formats.

The alarm:
There are three options to wake up to: the radio (the unit allows for auto tuning and 30 station presets), a tone, or a CD. When you press the snooze button, the alarm will sound again in six minutes.

The sound:
When you play music from the radio or a CD, the sound quality in the three speakers is comparable to that of a personal stereo system rather than a simple CD alarm clock. The volume control includes a muting feature, and you can also adjust treble, bass, and balance. The sound of the tone alarm, which takes five seconds to hit its full volume, is remarkably pleasing compared with other alarm clocks.

You can connect the device to external audio sources, such as a Mini Disc player, and to headphones.

Nakamichi, 310-538-8150;


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