Marantz NR1605 Reviewed

Monday, 29 September 2014 |

Marantz have recently announced the launch of their revised slimline AV receiver, the NR1605.

So for those of you looking for a feature rich slimline AV receiver, this might be the unit you’ve been waiting for. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of connectivity options with WiFi and Bluetooth now as standard, as well as delivering on the promise of excellent sound delivery.

Admittedly, it’s not the most powerful AV receiver available, but it is by far the slimmest, so there has to be some compromise somewhere. If you want power, you can’t have slim, and if you want slim, you can’t have power. And that is true here, although it does a more than a decent job of driving bookshelf speaker based systems and HTIB packages.

Home Cinema Choice ( recently reviewed the unit and they say:

"The system’s user interface is slicker than an otter’s pocket. From the outset, the NR1605 guides you through configuration, gently prompting speaker set up and sources, as well as Audyssey calibration…"

"The AVR’s powerplant, still rated at 50W into 8ohms, is deceptively agile. As Vin Diesel races through the gears at the start of Fast & Furious 6 (Blu-ray), the NR1605 has no problem keeping pace and accelerating hard."

"Wi-Fi functionality works well. The receiver didn’t drop a connection during our audition…"

"This Marantz proves to be an enjoyable high-res listen…"

"This update to Marantz’s NR line is entirely successful. There’s seemingly no overt sonic penalty incurred by building in the wireless radio, and the enhanced feature spread and connectivity options make this an easy receiver to live with. Capable of an energetic multichannel performance, dynamic stereo and decent streaming functionality, this AV receiver is a real-world star. I rate it the best Marantz slim model yet."

We say:

“We’ve always rated Marantz for their great sounding equipment and although this NR is one of their entry-level models, it certainly isn’t entry-level in sonic performance. Connectivity is the latest buzz-word with more and more of our customers wanting WiFi/Bluetooth and this unit makes the integration process simple. It’s a pleasure to setup. And in terms of sonic ability and performance, you won’t be dissappointed.”

Give us a call or visit us at either branch to audition the Marantz for yourself.

Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440
Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165

Yamaha A-S3000/CD-S3000 Reviewed

Sunday, 21 September 2014 |

Yamaha is not the first brand people think of when talking about high-end stereo audio amplifiers and CD players, but they have produced a statement combination to show the audio world that they shouldn’t be ignored in this competitive segment.

The A-S3000 integrated amplifier and CD-S3000 CD/SACD player have been recently reviewed by What-HiFi?, so we’ve selected a few snippets of each review to give you a general overview of their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

What-HiFi? Says of the A-S3000:
“We’re impressed the moment we unpack this unit. The A-S3000 is a beast of an integrated, weighing in at a hefty 25kg and taking up as much space as a baby hippo. It’s beautifully built too.”

“This Yamaha is generously equipped as far as the high-end is concerned. Not only has the company included six line-level inputs, but a switchable moving magnet/moving coil phono stage too – unusual in a high-end integrated.

“This amplifier is as solid and immaculately finished as we’ve seen at this price”

“Its terrific level of detail means that it has no trouble capturing the harmonic richness of a complex instrument like a piano (on Satie’s Gymnopedie No.1) or the rasp of Miles Davis’s trumpet.

What-HiFi? Says of the CD-S3000 
“It’s the little things that make a difference. In the case of Yamaha’s CD-S3000, it’s the disc drawer.
Most rivals are happy using off-the-shelf rickety plastic drawers; the aluminium unit on the Yamaha glides out with grace.”

“Yamaha has even engineered the player’s feet so they can be used spiked or unspiked. This thoroughness continues to the casework, where fit and finish are absolutely top class.”

“It’s agile, detailed and delivers a decent dose of punch. Like its partnering A-S3000 amplifier, this player sounds really well balanced. There’s a hint of excess warmth, but all it does is to give the player’s sound a likeable solidity.”

“This is an understated player that just gets out of the way of the music. While it may not be the last word in any one respect, bar possibly build quality, it has enough talent to let the music shine.
And, when you think about it, that’s what good hi-fi is all about.”

We say:
“An excellent stereo combination that puts Yamaha in an audio league that most people had not considered. This pairing shows that the Japanese outfit can offer the serious listener a superbly built stereo system as the worthy front-end of any high-end music system.”

Give us a call or visit us at either branch to audition them for yourself.

Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440
Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165

Velodyne SPL12 subwoofer reviewed.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 |

When choosing a subwoofer for your room, there are a lot of factors to consider. Among them, the size, colour, position of the sub, and most importantly for us, the performance. Trying to get the best performance out of your subwoofer while keeping the interior decorator happy is not as easy as you think. This is because the best performing subwoofers tend to be big and bulky and not very interior-decorator-friendly.

Fortunately, this is a generalization and not all great performance subwoofers are big and bulky. Enter the Velodyne SPL12 subwoofer.

Velodyne Acoustics have been rated as the #1 subwoofer company for over 25 years and know pretty much everything you need to know about bass and producing copious amounts of it. Velodyne have always focused on tight, accurate, musical bass that has made their subwoofers world famous. Velodyne’s SPL-Ultra range of subwoofers use an active system that limits the amplifier’s audible distortion, keeping the woofer from being overdriven, all the while reducing the overall output distortion levels. And because they’re experts in their field, squeezing 2400 Watts (dynamic power) of heart thumping bass into a beautiful, compact (only 40cm x 45cm) interior-decorator-friendly cabinet was no big deal for them.

Besides being powerful and compact, the SPL12 has an array of clever features, enabling easy setup and customization for all music and movie aficionados. Starting with an intuitive interactive front panel. The display allows you to configure an automatic 7-band digital room equalization program, as well as start an automated room bass correction system with a single button press, optimizing the bass performance of the subwoofer in your room and right to your exact seat.

The SPL12 Uses Velodyne’s patented “Energy Recovery System” amplifier that delivers 2400 watts dynamic power, 1200 watts of continuous RMS power at over 95% efficiency. You get all the impact and excitement of the most dramatic special effects and the lowest frequencies with detail and definition without wasted energy.

The SPL-Ultra drivers feature Kevlar reinforced, multi-layer resin cones mounted in die-cast aluminum baskets with colossal magnet structures. The drive units incorporate Velodyne’s unique inside/outside wound “Dual-Tandem” voice coils assuring linear drive unit travel, and very limited distortion.

The combination of a beautifully stylish, low distortion, ultra-powerful compact subwoofer with incredible dynamic output and unrivalled performance ticks all the right boxes for us. So if performance is key in your system and you want to keep the interior decorators happy, this is a subwoofer you certainly need to audition.

We have them in both our Sandton and Menlyn branches, ready to literally blow you away.
Call Sandton 011 884 5165
Call Menlyn 012 368 1440