I have recently replaced my
Marantz KI Signature Hi-fi stack of tuner, amplifier and CD player with an AV
receiver. Following a very positive review in a recent issue of Gramophone, I
acquired the Marantz CM.630 AV receiver.
The first observation was the
size of the receiver, which occupies less than a third of the original shelf
space. The unit is almost invisible surrounded by a few books and photos. This
was very deceptive as far as performance and capability.
The audio performance of the CD player
and amplifier matched and seemed subjectively to exceed the older equipment.
The 2 × 60 watts amplifier proved an excellent match for my B & W speakers.
The new tuner includes AM, FM and
DAB. The USB socket provides access to MP3 players and other memory devices. All
my favourite CDs are downloaded on an IPOD, which makes for easy album or track
selection using the simple dial and click facility. The results with Apple
Lossless are subjectively as good as the original CDs.
However, the tour the force here
is the Internet Radio access via Ethernet. The choice of stations with the
built-in search engine is almost infinite. Living in Belgium I can stream all
BBC radio stations. The memory ″favorites″ facility allows for easy selection
for some 50 entries. In addition, there is access to Napster and last.fm.
The digital optical cable
connected to the TV enhanced my enjoyment of the recent Prom concert of the
Mahler 2 with Duhamel and the Simon Bolivar orch.
The point of this rave is that
all these facilities with excellent audio are delivered via a machine no bigger
than a small portable radio. I don’t wish to promote a particular manufacturer
but, simply comment on the technical advances made at affordable prices.
I’m in fact looking back with
some nostalgia having originally burnished my interest in audio in the early
days of stereo when owning Quad electrostatics was the ultimate in