This week we attended Denon and Marantz's product showcase and got the skinny on several new products; music streaming service Tidal re-launched its desktop app; and DS Audio has let loose upon the world the first ever optical phono cartridge, yours for a cool £6250.
MORE: The Weekend Wrap
Denon & Marantz held its annual product showcase earlier this week and we were there to report on the latest products. First up is Denon.
The AVR-X1200W is the entry-level model of the range with Bluetooth streaming and 4K 60Hz pass through. A price hasn't been confirmed but we'd speculate it to be in the £400 range.
It's followed by the AVR-2200W (£500), AVR-3200W (£750), AVR-4200W (tbc) and the AVR-X7200WA (£2500), which was last year's flagship model but returns with a few tweaks, notably HDCP 2.2 support for 4K 60Hz pass through.
For more details on the receivers, along with information on other new products from Denon, have a gander below.
Sticking with D&M's showcase, here's an insight into Marantz's latest products.
Two new network media systems were announced in the M-CR611 (£400) and M-CR511 (£330), which will update the M-CR610 and M-CR510 systems when they launch in August. You can find more details over here.
Also announced were five new AV amplifiers - NR1506, NR1605, SR5010, SR6010, SR7010. Like Denon they'll support Atmos and DTS:X. The cheapest (NR1506) is £450, while the SR7010 (out in September) will cost £1400.
Also announced were upgrades of two existing preamplifiers – the AV7702mkII and AV8802A – the former (due this month) will set you back £3350, and the latter (on sale in October) will cost £1700.
For more details on all the products mentioned, follow the links below.
In the midst of the Jay-Z Tidal takeover the desktop app disappeared. Now it's back and with a new lick of paint.
The interface is now in line with the web version, shuffling content to its own areas (Tidal Rising and Tidal Discovery have their own tabs) with other updates introducing social networks and gapless playback, but there's no sign of offline playback.
The new desktop should be fully up and running by the time you read this.
READ MORE: Tidal review
More after the break
The world's first optical phono cartridge has gone on sale in Japan for £6250.
Yes, six grand will buy the DS-W1, a cartridge that, DS Audio claims, eliminates the friction created by a typical stylus which disturbs the record groove, resulting in much smoother playback. If you're interested it will be heading to the UK soon.
A budget turntable may not be the best partner for the DS-W1. If you can afford it, why not invest an extra £30,000 on top of your outlay with this turntable?
"In its own right, it’s a good value set that flies the flag for 4K, offering a fine picture and good stack of features with it"
The perception had always been that the ultra-high definition benefits of 4K TV can't be fully appreciated in screen sizes of less than 50 inches or so.
The argument was that smaller TVs simply don't merit such a high resolution. But, with its TX-40CX680B 40in set, Panasonic puts up a convincing case to the contrary. In 4K, the image is sharp and detailed, and motion is conveyed with nary a problem. It offers fine Full HD performance as well. Only if the main source of content to be viewed were going to be standard definition, would we go for a standard Full HD set.
Standard-def caveat apart, the TX-40CX680B is a fine TV with plenty of features. It warrants consideration if you're looking for a lower-cost 4K set.
Read the full Panasonic TX-40CX680B review
"The functionality, design and ease of use are the best we’ve seen at this price"
Stylish, feature-packed and hugely enjoyable, Cambridge Audio's CXN (or Cambridge CXN) is another fantastic streamer from a company that's produced top-notch award-winning products in the past. This latest example might just top them all.
Doling out a muscular sound we've not heard from Cambridge products before, the CXN offering is full-bodied but not overcooked. It's balanced, rhythmic and dynamically on top of any songs we throw at it.
It looks stunning, too, eschewing the typical 'boxy' look for a cleaner, sleeker, 'floating' design.
The CXN is more expensive than many of its rivals, but you're getting some serious performance for that price increase.
Read the full Cambridge Audio CXN review
"The sound packs a good deal of punch, handling dynamic shifts with confidence"
The Diamond 220 speakers have been favourites of ours since we first reviewed them, so we were excited when we heard Wharfedale was putting the 220s in a surround package.
Sure enough, as with the 220s in stereo guise, the 220 HCP surround package offers a fine sound. It leans towards an analytical presentation, with clarity, detail and precision the highlights.
Other packages have more zeal, perhaps, but we wouldn't count that against the Wharfedales. They go for a different approach and absolutely succeed with it.
There's little more we can ask of a budget surround speaker package.
Read the full Wharfedale Diamond HCP 220 review