The tag team of Marantz and Denon are really embracing wireless streaming these days, with Denon announcing their new Denon Cocoon AirPlay speakers and the updated Ceol RCD-N8, and Marantz announcing their first AirPlay enabled iPod speaker dock in the Marantz Consolette.
Marantz is going for the higher end compared with Denon, and look set to back it up with both stylish design and quality sound if early reports are correct about the Marantz Consolette. Based on what I have seen so far, they definitely deliver on the stylish and unique design, as this speaker dock stands out from the crowd, and could potentially give B&O BeoPlay A8 a run for the money at the £900 price range.
The base of the Consolette features recognizable Marantz design, taking elements from many of their feature systems over the years, whilst the drivers are housed in a curved casing where the back part is high-gloss wooden finish that really gives the system that extra dimension, helping to warrant the high price. The iPod dock itself is hidden in a sliding draw that when pulled out supports docking of most iPods, iPhones, and iPads. The front panel features amongst other the porthole display and the electronic gyro touch controller. At the back of the unit you find a network cable connection, but there is also built in Wi-Fi. There is also a USB connection, and Marantz have gone with stereo phono input as well instead of the more typical 3.5mm line-in.
Streaming is the highlight feature of the Marantz Consolette and they have added not only AirPlay streaming, but also DLNA streaming capabilities for other network connection devices, including Android smartphones and tablets, available through a dedicated Marantz app. It is also said that support for Windows Mobile devices are on the way.
In terms of audio set up, the Marantz Consolette features dual 4-inch bass drivers and a pair of BMR drivers that are situated towards each end of the unit to provide a more room-filling sound, a common issue with many compact speaker docks. Early reports from those that have had a listen are positive, so i’m looking forward to being able to test this iPod speaker dock out myself in the near future.