Opened our demo unit here in Halifax, and the quality is sub-par. I don't know what other reviewers say, but the bass in it is poor at best. At low-to-medium levels, it sounds alright, if not good, but crank it up or songs that require decent to awesome bass play alright if that. The boom-box doesn't "suck" so to speak, but it could have been substantially better. And the $429 price tag is absolutely ridiculous.
Good idea, Apple. Badly implemented. Maybe if I owned one, it would grow on me, but first impressions are bad impressions.
Also, what was the audio source? Reviews I've read said that the Hi-Fi is good enough quality that poor compression really stands out. Was it an mp3 or aac? If so, what bitrate? Have you tested it with an Apple lossless encoded file ripped from an original CD?
Of course, if it was due to the audio being compressed, then that does make a valid point about whether you should buy the Hi-Fi to listen to your mp3 or iTMS collection.
It is still rather overpriced for a unit that does not have a CD player, does not have a FM radio, nor any other features many common stereo items have today. Many shelf systems with awsome sound cost less than the iPod hifi, which, IMO is a overpriced boombox.
Mac Mini i7 (mid-2011)
Arguably, if it exists in reality, it is realistic
If proof requires certainty, then arguably nothing can ever be proven