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The Panasonic SC-HC20 compact stereo system has an iPod dock that supports most iPod and iPhone models in addition to a digital AM/FM tuner and hide-away CD player. Its slim, glossy design with a stylish blue LCD display has an understated modern look, and the device is easy to place almost anywhere within reach of a power source. It doesn't run on batteries, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to more portable iPod docks, but it does have a number of features that make it a great option for people who don't require a go-everywhere iPod docking station.

The integrated universal iPhone or iPod dock powers all docked devices while the speaker system is plugged in. To connect your iPod, you must first connect the proper adapter and then press your iPod firmly into the iPod docking station until it locks. To connect an MP3 player that doesn't fit into the dock or any other audio device with a line output, you have to use the auxiliary line input located at the rear of the unit and select the Aux mode before beginning playback.

The CD player can play MP3 CDs in addition to CD-R, CD-RW and professionally produced CDs, and it allows you to program and reorder a playlist of up to 24 tracks from a CD in the tray, repeat one track or one album, or play all the tracks on a disc or selected tracks on an MP3 disc in random order. All of these functions can be easily navigated and programmed using the included remote control, and to some extent with the onboard controls on the top of the unit. You can also program up to 30 FM and 15 AM radio stations using the digital tuner, and you can increase the sound quality of playback from the radio using the included FM and AM antennas or by adjusting the AM tune mode or by listening to FM stations in mono mode.

The Panasonic iPod speaker dock has an easily programmable clock as well as play timer and sleep timer settings that turn the device on or off at preset times programmed by the user. You can also adjust the overall sound by engaging four preset EQ, or equalizer, modes, increasing or decreasing the bass and treble levels using the surround sound mode or D Bass function to boost the low-end frequencies, and by using the re-master effect for MP3 playback. Combined with the high-quality bamboo speaker cones that produce surprisingly clear and coherent tones and vocals, these options give the listener a great degree of control over the way their music sounds.

This iPod docking station and home stereo system uses unique full-range speakers with bamboo cones that deliver clear tones, especially higher-frequency sounds like vocals. The sound enhancement technology provides a full-range soundscape powered by a 10W amplifier for powerful sound in small to midsize rooms.

Using the remote to control this stereo system and iPod dock can take a minute to master since it has so many buttons and controls. Once you're acquainted with the remote, however, you'll appreciate how easy it is to access the features and modify the settings remotely. The controls on the speaker system itself are easy to learn.

The Panasonic website has a comprehensive and searchable help and support section with phone and email contact options, FAQs, product information, a service center locator and more. Representatives are a bit slow to respond to email support requests, but the support team is friendly and helpful and dedicated to providing quality customer service.

If you're looking for a compact home stereo with an iPod dock that supports a wide range of iPod models, the Panasonic is a great option that doesn't take up much space. It gives you a great amount of control over your sound settings and listening options, and it looks slick and modern.