All-In-One Systems

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Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Yamaha MCR-640 - £600 The budget price is tempting, but with Yamaha’s not-quite-separates you get what you pay for Question: when is a hi-fi separates component not separate? When it’s not functional apart from its sibling – which makes the R-840 amplifier a separate but the CD player not. The latter has its own power supply and mains lead but simply refuses to power up when not connected to the amp via the supplied data lead. The amp will work, but isn’t so attractive on its own with effectively just the one line input, plus of course digital and analogue radio and the iPod dock. Linked up, the two units form a pretty well-specified system.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Shanling MC3000 - £1,400 With its retro looks and technology, Shanling's MC3000 is right on trend and challenges the competition The chassis design of this device started life as a CD player and it’s thanks to some nifty lateral thinking that Shanling has been able to expand its remit to amplification, radio reception and even an iPod dock. Some of the work to do that was straightforward enough; for instance, putting the power amplification and mains transformer in the ‘towers’ at the back. Some was really quite clever – the volume control and input selector are each operated by a knob masquerading as the top of one corner pillar. There’s nothing unusual about the internal construction, though, the parts quality is impressive, with a very recent DAC chip and quite a few good-quality op-amps.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Harman/Kardon MAS110 - £650 These futuristic black boxes look and sound the money, but don’t be hoodwinked by their lively style At an attractive price (including loudspeakers, which we didn’t include in the review though a brief listen suggests they’re decent), this little system looks rather futuristic, with its shiny black finish unspoiled by buttons or other such fripperies. It shows fingerprints, but a quick wipe sees things right. Although quite a lot of functions are in fact banished to the remote, including source selection, the front panel of the CD player does at least have transport controls, touch-sensitive ‘buttons’ which light up when power is applied, while the amp has a volume control. Actually the ‘CD player’ is also the preamp part, but no, you can’t mix and match the parts as they share a power supply and the only input to the amp is via the multi-way lead.