UPnP AV / DLNA media-playback hardware) Archive

A Yamaha CD player that adds network capability to existing hi-fi systems

Articles – From the horse’s mouth

Yamaha

Introducing a new concept in Hi Fi – Yamaha – Australia (Press release)

CD-N500 Product Page

My Comments

You may have your favourite hi-fi equipment no matter how old it is but you would like to replace that half-dead CD player, upgrade to a better CD player or simply add CD playback to the existing music system. But you would also like to gain access to audio content held on your home network and tune in to the “new short-wave” that is Internet radio through that hi-fi setup. Adding a CD player and a network media adaptor may result in two extra boxes and your may find that you don’t have enough line-level inputs on the amplifier for the exercise and this may require you to purchase a switch box.

Yamaha have released the CD-N500 which is a “full-width” component CD player that doubles as a network media receiver. This unit plugs in to any vacant digital input or analogue line-level input on an existing sound system to provide it with both the CD playback and network-audio-access functions.

It can connect to a home network only via an Ethernet connection, which would work properly with a house that is wired for Ethernet or with a HomePlug AV segment once you use the appropriate “homeplug” adaptor. These connections then allow for reliable media-streaming operation and is what I would prefer for equipment that is normally in a permanent location and plugged in to AC power.

As well, you can connect iOS devices, USB memory keys or MP3 players that present themselves as Mass-Storage Devices to the USB socket on the front panel. Here, whenever you play audio content from the iOS devices like the iPod Classic that is stuffed to the gunnels with music, the sound is passed along digitally and you can use the CD-N500’s remote control as the control surface for the iOS device.

The Yamaha CD player has access to DLNA-compliant network media servers and can be controlled from computers and other devices using AirPlay and DLNA compliant setups. But Yamaha also has a media-controller app for this CD player which allows your smartphone or tablet to be the player’s control surface while exploiting the portable device’s larger display. Of course you can control this player using controls on its front panel or supplied remote control but would have to contend with a single-line display.

It can work with the FLAC high-quality audio files as well as the regular CD-quality MP3 / WMA / AAC files. As for Internet radio, this is facilitated with the vTuner Internet-radio directory which most Internet radios and similar equipment use. Even the digital-analogue conversion circuitry and analogue signal path is optimised for best quality sound while you can connect this player to an external digital-analogue converter or a digital amplifier if these devices offer better sound quality.

At the moment, this unit doesn’t yet support Spotify, Pandora, Last.fm or other popular online music services but Yamaha could add this functionality through subsequent firmware updates.

But what I like more about this player is that, like the CD/MiniDisc decks released by Sony, Sharp, JVC and Marantz through MiniDisc’s heyday, this unit is a one-box setup that can complement existing hi-fi setups rather than unnecessarily replacing components in these setups. It underscores the fact that there are ways of heading to the online era without leaving the past behind.

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Pioneer component Blu-Ray player now comes with Wi-Fi Direct

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Pioneer

New Pioneer Blu-ray 3D Player leads mobile device integration

My Comments

Pioneer BDP-160 Blu-Ray Player (Pioneer Europe press image)

Pioneer BDP-160 Blu-Ray player

The Pioneer BD-160 network-capable Blu-Ray player may be your ordinary mid-tier component Blu-Ray player with full DLNA and YouTube functionality. As well, it doesn’t have the full makeup of services like catch-up TV or video-on-demand which may limit its use as a “smart TV enabler” for existing TVs.

But, as well as being fully equipped with integrated Wi-Fi, the Pioneer BDP-160 is one of the first of these component-type / add-on players that implements Wi-Fi Direct which creates its own Wi-Fi network for use with smartphones and similar devices. This means that you don’t necessarily have to have the player and phone being part of your home network or deploy a Wi-Fi router for standalone use to “throw” images, music and video to the big screen or speakers if the content just resides on the mobile device.  This may not be possible if you are using another device like a NAS as a content server while managing the show with a DLNA control point or Pioneer’s control app on a mobile device. Oh yeah, it is equipped with the Ethernet connectivity so you can benefit from reliable video-streaming operation with your Ethernet or HomePlug AV wired backbone.

Like most video-focused network media devices, this Blu-Ray player requires use of the TV to play audio content but you could use Pioneer’s control apps for iOS and Android devices to control audio playback from the content pools that exist on your DLNA-capable NAS or your smartphone.

The Wi-Fi Direct functionality could easily be augmented with Miracast and WiDi to allow you to use this Blu-Ray player as a display “bridge” between your laptop or mobile device. If this is added, it could play in to the hands of small businesses and organisations who make use of consumer electronics to satisfy their AV needs. But DLNA can do this task if you are “throwing” digital images or video clips to the big screen. As for reasonably-priced projectors to use with this player, who knows when we could see one of these come with proper HDMI ability.

At least Pioneer is showing us that they can make a Blu-Ray player that works as an add-on network media player for the setups where you don’t want to integrate it as part of the established network.

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Denon’s network audio player component which is primarily an add-on for existing systems

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Denon

DNPF109, Optional Mini Network player for DF109, Audio Products Group

My Comments

If you are looking for an audio-focused network media player for your hi-fi system, you will typically come across devices that have an integrated broadcast radio tuner or optical disc player. This may be OK if your sound system doesn’t have these functions and may come in to its own with those network media players that have an integrated DAB+ or ISDB digital-radio tuner so you can add digital radio to your existing system.

But you may find yourself “doubling up” on functionality especially if you have an AM/FM tuner or broadcast-radio subsystem that is doing its job very well with broadcast radio.

Denon have filled in this gap with an audio-focused network media player in the form of the DNP-F109 that just provides access to network-hosted or Internet-hosted audio content as well as file-based audio content for existing audio systems. They pitched it primarily as an optional-extra component for their D-F109 bookshelf hi-fi system which consists of a CD player and a stereo receiver feeding a pair of bookshelf / mantelpiece speakers. Here, you can link this unit to the other components in a way to permit simplified “one-touch” operation or control with the system’s remote control.

But the DNP-F109 comes with its own remote control and has a coaxial digital output along with an analogue line-level output, thus allowing it to be plugged in to a vacant tape, CD, tuner or aux input on the amplifier. The digital output comes in to its own with “Dolby Digital” home-theatre receivers, digital amplifiers and digital-analogue converter components for best-case sound reproduction.

It can work with a small network that implements Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity and supports DLNA and Apple AirPlay setups. You also gain access to online media services like Internet radio and Spotify as well as the ability to play media held on USB-connected devices.

These kind of components can go a long way as an alternative to hooking up a laptop computer or tablet to an existing music system to play network-hosted or Internet-hosted audio content without making existing components or functions redundant.

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Pioneer introduces highly capable home-theatre media centres to Europe

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Pioneer introduces new-generation media centre systems that play audio and video from a variety of music sources (Press Release)

My Comments

Pioneer has released in to Europe a new lineup of home-theatre media systems with varying capabilities. They have issued two different “ranges”, known as the “advanced” range and the “regular” range. The systems have a “media centre” main unit that is common across their range but have different speaker sets with the high-end model having 4 tall freestanding speakers for the main channels along with a centre dialogue speaker and a subwoofer; the mid-tier model using 4 compact box-like speakers that could be put on shelves or mounted on walls along with the centre speaker and subwoofer; as well as the low-tier unit just having 2 main channels with two slim speakers and the subwoofer. I would also see the latter systems fit well in with people who aren’t used to the idea of speakers surrounding them or for a system that is to work in a small room.

The main consoles in both these system implement 4 of the HDMI sockets and 2 USB sockets that can work with memory keys or hard drives. Of course, they would have a Blu-Ray player and an FM broadcast tuner. The USB ports can allow for transfer of music files between a USB hard disk and a memory key; as well as “ripping” of CDs and recording of FM broadcasts.

One key difference is that there is Wi-Fi ability on the “Advanced” units as a differentiating feature. This extends to the ability to support Wi-Fi Direct operation which works hand-in-glove with laptops, smartphones and tablets for music and video playback without needing an existing Wi-Fi network segment.

There are some questions that need to be asked about this range of home-theatre systems. One is whether the cheaper “regular” systems can be connected to a home network via an Ethernet socket and benefit from all of the network features like Internet radio, DLNA and control via smartphone using the existing Wi-Fi segment with this network connection? The other is whether audio-only network sources like Internet radio or audio files hosted on a DLNA server can be brought up and played without the need to use the TV?

At least there is an effort to create DLNA-capable home theatre systems that support flexible setup across the range by most of the manufacturers.

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Product Review–Denon CEOL Series micro music systems

Introduction

I am reviewing the Denon CEOL Series music systems and had a chance to review the CEOL but am focusing on the CEOL Piccolo. Both these stereo systems are “three-piece” micro systems with a main unit and two speakers, and can work with Internet radio, Last.FM, Spotify, DLNA Home media networks and music held on USB storage or an iPod device. The larger CEOL system also has an FM broadcast tuner and a CD player whereas the smaller CEOL Piccolo just focuses on the online sources.

Denon CEOL Piccolo music system

Denon CEOL Piccolo main unit

Denon CEOL music system (Image courtesy of Denon)

Denon CEOL with CD and FM radio as well

Price

The unit itself:

Recommended Retail Price:

Denon CEOL: AUD$999

Denon CEOL Piccolo: AUD$799

Form Factor

Both systems: Three-piece stereo music system with separate speakers

Functions

Analogue radio / TV CEOL: FM RDS radio
CEOL Piccolo: None
Internet audio Internet radio via vTuner
Last.FM
Spotify
Network Media DLNA network audio (local / external control point); AirPlay
Optical Disc CEOL: CD
CEOL Piccolo: None
Stored Memory USB port (front)
Apple iPod support 30-pin dock or USB port

 

Connections

Input Count as for a device
Audio Line Input
(connect a tape deck, CD player, etc)
CEOL: 1 x 3.5mm stereo jack, 2 x RCA-socket pair
CEOL Piccolo: 1 x RCA-socket pair
Digital Audio Input SP/DIF via 1 x Toslink optical socket
Output Count as for a device
Speakers
(count as for a pair with stereo, a 5.1 surround set for surround)
1 x Binding posts pair
Headphones output
(overrides all speakers)
3.5mm phone jack
Preamplifier output
(For active speakers and power amplifiers, affected by main volume and tone)
1 x RCA socket for subwoofer
Network
Ethernet Regular 10/100Mbps Ethernet
Wireless 802.11g/n Wi-Fi with WPS

Speakers

Output Power 65 watts / channel
(4 ohms, 1khz, 0.7 THD)
2 channels stereo
Speaker Layout 2 separate speakers Each speaker:
Back-ported bass-reflex construction,
12cm woofer,
2.5cm balanced dome tweeter
Speaker Connections Binding posts on main unit Binding post on speakers

The unit itself

Denon CEOL Piccolo remote control

Remote control

The Denon CEOL stereo systems come with a comprehensive remote control or can work from a Denon smartphone app available through the iOS and Android app stores. But they can be worked from the units themselves, with the CEOL’s controls on the front and the CEOL Piccolo’s controls on the top of the main unit.

The main units in these systems are equipped with a monochrome bitmapped OLED display which is a delight to use. Here, the display is bright and easy-to-read, which I find is important for older people or those of us who don’t have good eyesight. As well, the bright display also comes in to its own if you are one of those people who like that dim lighting for romance.

Both systems are very easy to integrate in to your home network with them running a “quick setup” when they are first connected to AC power. This same option can be invoked through the Setup menu which is selected as a “source” when you use the Source button. They can work with most small Wi-Fi wireless networks that implement passphrase-based WEP or WPA network security.

The Denon CEOL comes with a tacky piece of wire as its FM aerial (antenna), which doesn’t do the system justice. Here, I would like to see something better like the classic “T-wire” aerial like what most manufacturers use for their receivers and tuners or the “rabbit’s ears” aerials that were always used with portable TVs. Even the Internet radios that I have reviewed used that telescopic aerial that most portable radios use as their aerial. On the other hand, I would recommend users connect the CEOL to the outdoor TV aerial or buy an indoor TV aerial like the classic “rabbit’s ears” if they want to use it for FM broadcast radio.

The USB port on both these systems can only supply power to peripheral while the equipment is fully on, which can be a limitation if you wanted to charge that Android smartphone overnight. It supports “remote IOS” behaviour where you can connect Apple iOS devices to this port and they behave as if they are iOS devices connected to the docking connector on top of the console unit. This is important when you use an iPad, iPod Shuffle or any newer iOS device that uses that Lightning connector for power and data connectivity.

The USB connections on both systems can also work with Mass Storage Devices like USB flash drives but can’t support MTP functionality which is important with some MP3 players and newer Samsung Android phones.

The speakers that come with the Denon CEOL systems are very well-built and have that piano-gloss finish. The grille is of an unusual shape but the cloth is fixed to a removable plastic frame.

Of course, they yield a clear tight sound with that proper bass response that can do a lot of music justice. Here, you could notice that punchy sound through the newer dance tracks or hear the whole of the sound mix with clear vocals.

Also, I have found that I could run the Denon CEOL systems to 80% of the volume level before they started to clip and sound awful. At that point, it is loud enough to fill a medium-size room. This shows that they are very capable for a small music system.

The CEOL systems do work well for Wi-Fi network reception if they are picking up a good signal from the access point. They also have an Ethernet connection which would allow them to be connected to an Ethernet or HomePlug AV segment for more reliable operation.

As for Internet media reliability, they don’t handle things well if the Internet media source isn’t working well for quality-of-service, which can happen at peak times for Internet-radio streams. Here, they give up the ghost on the stream and require you to re-select that stream if you want to continue listening to it again. This is unlike a lot of Internet radios that provide a better allowance for failure by having a longer wait time.

The CEOL systems work properly as a part of the DLNA Home Media Network in that they can either pull up content from a media-server device or can accept content that is pushed to them. The interaction for this feature is very quick, including advertising their presence to a control point.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

I am finding that it is hard to look for limitations that concern the Denon CEOL music systems, especially for the kind of user that it is targeted at. It works to the DLNA standards and is easy to use from your smartphone, remote control or the unit;s control panel.

Like a lot of these systems, the USB port could have a user-selectable mode which allows “always-on” power so it can charge mobile phones even while it is on standby.

Denon could also supply models in to this series with a DAB+/DMB tuner or HD radio tuner for markets where these digital broadcast systems are in situ. This is because I have noticed the Sony CMT-MX750Ni being able to work with DAB/DAB+ broadcasts.

Similarly, they could offer a variant of the CEOL with a DVD or Blu-Ray player, an HDMI input and HDMI output with Audio Return Channel, and “two-speaker surround”. This would be pitched as an answer to Yamaha’s MCR-755 micro A/V system and build out the “quality” home entertainment system for a dorm room, studio apartment or similar application.

Here, this could be a way for Denon to build out the CEOL range as a series of high-quality micro-form-factor 3-piece AV systems.

Conclusion

I would recommend the Denon CEOL or CEOL Piccolo as an option for any  application where you value good sound quality but desire a music system that doesn’t take up too much space. This could range from something that would work well in that nice studio or one-bedroom apartment in the city to something that could work as a personal music system for that master bedroom or den.

Here, I would value the CEOL for anywhere that you place importance on CD playback, FM broadcast radio or “walk-up” device connectivity. This is important with hotels and serviced apartments who want to have a system that best suits their premium offerings. The CEOL Piccolo would be of importance if you just value file-based audio, online audio services like the “new shortwave” as in the Internet radio or want something for that MP3 player.

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Panasonic to release network media players and a cost-effective Blu-Ray player with the network essentials

Article

http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/09/panasonic-pricing-ship-date-media-streamers-blu-ray/

From the horse’s mouth

Panasonic USA

Product pages (US Direct purchase)

DMP-BD79 Blu-Ray player

DMP-MS10 Network Media Player

My Comments

Panasonic is another of the major consumer-electronics brands to release network media players in to the US consumer-electronics market. They also have released a “Wi-Fi ready” Blu-Ray player that also has access to the essential online content services along with full DLNA capabilities.

Both these devices, which are at the bottom end of the model lineup for model-year 2013, are priced at US$79 which is a price level for someone who wants to enable an existing low-end flat-screen TV that they picked up at Target or Wal-Mart for the home or small-business network.

They miss the ability to work as a Skype videoconferencing terminal, which may limit some people who value this function for long-distance videocalls on the large screen and the don’t have access to the full VieraCast platform for app-driven smart TV services. But they have access to the locally-essential video-on-demand services like YouTube, VuDu, Netflix and CinemaNow for that cheaper or older TV. They also are DLNA-capable where you can select network media using the device’s remote control, or use a desktop or mobile app to “push” network media to these devices. This latter functionality is useful to those of you who run a shopfront and want to use this technology to set up cost-effective digital signage and visual merchandising there.

The DMP-BD79 is the Blu-Ray player which could work well with those existing TVs and home-theatre setups that don’t have a functioning Blu-Ray player; as well as only having Ethernet connectivity. It is marketed as being “Wi-Fi ready” where you have to purchase an extra Wi-Fi network adaptor dongle from Panasonic but I would prefer you to use Ethernet or HomePlug AV powerline to connect this unit to your home network.

On the other hand, the DMP-MS10 is a network media player for applications where an optical disc player isn’t necessary or is fulfilled by existing equipment. It also has the integrated Wi-Fi network functionality if you do have a reliable Wi-Fi network with good reception at the installation’s location.

The reason I have drawn attention to these Panasonic devices is that they represent another name brand offering network media devices at a price that gives you an affordable “foot in the door” for online-hosted and DLNA-hosted network media.

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Onkyo does it with a stereo receiver that is part of the DLNA Home Media Network

Article-From the horse’s mouth

Onkyo

TX-8050 | ONKYO Asia and Oceania Website (Catalog posting)

My Comments

There are situations where a home theatre system may not be appropriate but you like the look and performance of “full-width” hi-fi equipment. The classic example is the formal lounge room that is at the front of the house where you don’t really want to watch TV or movies but would rather entertain guests, read and play or listen to music. Here, you may want to have a hi-fi that is built around a stereo receiver or amplifier feeding a pair of speakers and a CD player, turntable and / or audio recording deck as source equipment.

But a lot of “full-width” receivers that have network capability also come with the surround-sound functionality and, in some cases, are optimised for use with video equipment. If you purposed these receivers for use with a stereo setup, you would find that there is unused functionality and, in some cases, room for operational error.

On the other hand, you may have to buy or resurrect a stereo integrated amplifier and hook this up to an audio-focused network media tuner like the NAD C446 Media Tuner so you can gain access to the audio content on the Internet or network. If you used a stereo receiver, you may find that the FM or AM broadcast tuners in the network media tuner (if it has one) or the stereo receiver may be redundant when it comes to listening to broadcast radio via this system.

But Onkyo have filled in this gap by offering a traditional “full-width” stereo receiver that works with the home network, whether to pull in the fun of Internet radio or music that exists on that network-attached-storage device.

This receiver, known as the TX-8050, has room for expected hi-fi functionality like a phono input for connecting the turntable to play those records and an input-output loop for connecting a tape or MiniDisc deck. The sound path is set up for stereo sound reproduction rather than surround-sound reproduction in the same vein as the classic stereo receiver. There is video switching for some of the video inputs but this works at composite level only, which may not matter with its intended usage application.

What I see of this product is it is another example of what Onkyo has done to fill in gaps in the domestic audio-video market, like their FR-435 CD/MiniDisc receiver which was a full-width component that could be hooked up to any speakers. It has also highlighted a way where AV equipment manufacturers could keep the stereo-receiver product class alive and relevant in the age of the home network rather than treating it as a second-class citizen.

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Another full-band network audio tuner appears, this time from Onkyo

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Onkyo

T-4070 | ONKYO Asia and Oceania Website (Catalogue material)

My Comments

Previously, I had seen in action the NAD C446 Media tuner which is effectively a “four-band” (AM/FM/DAB+/Internet) broadcast-radio tuner and file-based audio-content player that can play from USB memory sticks or the DLNA Home Media Network. This was able to do its job in a very exacting manner yielding high-quality sound from these sources to the sound system that it is providing these playback services to.

Denon fielded a network audio player with FM/AM tuner functionality in the same box but those of us who have DAB / DAB+ digital radio broadcast services in action may find that this tuner misses the mark. This is more so if the AM talk and sports stations like ABC Radio National in the metropolitan areas do simulcast on DAB and you find that you can’t hear the programme hosts on these stations due to electrical interference but you find that the DAB simulcasts “answer your prayers”.

But Onkyo have shown up with a tuner with the same functionality as the NAD C446 tuner. This means it can pick up broadcasts from FM, AM or DAB as well as Internet streams; alongside playing audio content that exists on your DLNA-enabled home network or USB memory keys, providing these services to the sound system that it is connected to. If you have a smartphone or tablet full of music, you can stream audio content that exists on the device to this tuner via your home network using Apple AirPlay or DLNA.  The same holds true with computers that are packed to the gunnels with music and use iTunes, newer versions of Windows Media Player or other DLNA-capable media management programs.It also has access to the Spotify online music service as well as another service called Aupeo.

This function set, whether with or without DAB+ broadcast reception could end up being determined for audio-based network media adaptors, especially when it comes to gaining access to broadcast and Internet radio as well as network-hosted audio content, including online services. As well, the fact that mainstream hi-fi names are cutting in to the market shows that the class of product is being given serious thought.

I would see this device and its peers becoming simply a network media adaptor for audio content or a high-quality way to add DAB and Internet radio to that hi-fi system you so love.

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A network-capable micro entertainment system with Blu-Ray from Yamaha

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Yamaha AV Australia

MCR-755 – Micro Hi-Fi – Yamaha – Australia (Product Page)

My Comments

Sometimes you may want to kit out a bedroom, den, college / uni dorm room or small apartment with a music system that can provide DVD / Blu-Ray playback services for a reasonably-priced recent-issue 32”-37” flatscreen TV and treat you to that surround sound. But the idea of using a full home-theatre system with the 6 speakers may not fit the bill for these areas because these systems are simply too large and overwhelming for these areas. Similarly a soundbar may be considered not up to par because you value stereo separation and a lot of these are simply just speakers.

But, when browsing Yamaha’s Australian Website, I have come across the Yamaha MCR-755 Blu-Ray music system which, along with the MCR-750, is a traditional “three-piece” micro AV system that has a Blu-Ray player and DLNA network connectivity. A firmware update is now available for these systems to effectively add the “Internet radio” band to these systems. The MCR-755 has the Eureka 147 DAB/DAB+ digital radio as well as the FM radio as its broadcast-radio options.

They also connects to the TV using HDMI and exploits the Consumer Electronic Control and Audio Return Channel functionality that this connectivity method provides. This allows for sound from TV broadcasts and online TV that you play via your Smart TV to come through the system’s speakers. Depending on the TV you use, you may have some success in getting a bitstream surround signal from the pay-TV set-top box or other video peripheral that is connected to the TV via HDMI.

The key feature that the system has is the implementation of Yamaha’s “Air Sound Xtreme” to create a virtual 5.1 surround listening experience using the two speakers. This has resulted from Yamaha’s work on digital sound processing technologies as well as their “Sound Projector” soundbars,

As I know about newer AV products, I have a look through the instructions manuals that are delivered online and have found that there are a few shortcomings. For example, you can play a CD or content held on an iPod; or listen to broadcast radio or a source connected via the AUX In connections without needing to turn the TV on whereas you need to have the TV on if you want to play material held on your DLNA Home Media Network or on a USB thumb-drive.

Similarly, the unit could benefit from a dedicated digital input for TV use and / or an extra HDMI input socket. Here, these could benefit those of us who use smaller, usually low-cost, “dorm-grade” flatscreen TVs which are likely to be paired with this music system by providing a Dolby Digital decoding ability for the TV’s broadcast tuner, assuring surround-sound output from a pay-TV box or other video peripheral or simply provide an extra input for the TV.

As well, this class of Blu-Ray-capable “three-piece” micro AV system could support DLNA Media-Renderer and Apple AirPlay functionalities so as to work with the smartphones and tablets by using an existing home network that has the Wi-Fi segment.

The Yamaha MCR-755 has shown up as an example of a “three-piece” AV entertainment-system that can serve the small spaces yet gaining access to the full content that Blu-Ray and the like can offer.

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The Marantz Audio Consolette is an example of the high-quality network speaker dock

From the horse’s mouth

Marantz

Product Page (Australia. Asia market, USA, UK)

Microsite

My Comments

Marantz Audio Consolette speaker dock (Photo courtesy of Marantz / Gap Marketing)

Marantz Audio Consolette speaker dock

Over the past sixty years and for as long as the existence of the “hi-fi” concept, Marantz has been known for high-quality sound reproduction with unforgettable legends such as those gold-finished hi-fi receivers and amplifiers that appeared through the 1970s. At times, this brand has dabbled in car and portable audio in order to broaden the scope of their name being associated with this high-quality sound.

Now they are celebrating this concept with a tabletop speaker dock that has a name that throws back to their first hi-fi amplifier. This device, known as the Consolette, has been reshaped so there is better stereo separation compared to most single-piece speaker docks, wireless speakers and boomboxes. This has been achieved through the use of a V-shaped back profile and a wooden back as well as the use of specially-arranged speakers. There has been further attention paid towards how the sound is reproduced from that smartphone, DLNA-compliant media server, Internet radio station or other audio device.

Even the aesthetics of this system remind users of the Marantz heritage like tue use of a jog wheel that is similar to the large thumbwheel that you used to tune in stations on a 70s-era Marantz tuner or receiver. As well it could be controlled by a high-quality remote control or an app that runs on your smartphone or tablet.

But the Marantz Audio Consolette has become another representative of high-quality audio for the connected home as I have seen over the last few years and commented on in HomeNetworking01.info. This is where I have seen and, in some cases, heard in action equipment that reproduces music held on a computer, mobile device or network-storage device to highly-exacting audio-quality standards while there are other systems that can do the same job at a cheaper price although not as exacting.

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