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Bristol Sound and Vision 2012: AirPlay Area with Denon and Marantz Gear

We’re at the Bristol Sound and Vision Show 2012, and it’s clear that one of the main focuses for audio companies has become wireless streaming.  There are many solutions on display here, but the first that we came across was AirPlay.

Apple’s AirPlay is easily one of the most popular wireless audio solutions, and is being demonstrated by several big name companies, with Denon, Marantz and Boston Acoustics occupying an AirPlay Zone at the event.

AirPlay allows you to play music from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad and hear it through a Hi-Fi system automatically, without the need for wires and fiddling around – you just need your Apple device and your Hi-Fi to be hooked up to the Internet. There are some brilliant AirPlay systems out there on the market, and we’ve picked out some great ones from the show to bring to you.

Denon RCD-N7

Denon’s mini Hi-Fi system packs a pretty punch with features galore and an impressive sound output quality. AirPlay was the key feature on display here, offering simple wireless streaming from Apple gadgets. The RCD-N7 also features an iPod dock on the top if you don’t want to go wireless, and it’ll also charge your iDevice too.

It’s also got a USB input for playing tunes from a thumb drive or external hard disc, digital in, FM/AM and Internet Radio (over 12,000 stations!) and a CD Drive.

You can hook this little beauty up to the Internet using an RJ45 ethernet cable connection, or use the simple Wi-Fi setup on screen, and you’re then AirPlay ready. Denon also does a free iOS app, which you can use to control the system from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, which is nifty.

Although it doesn’t come bundled with speakers, you to choose exactly what you want to use with the RCD-N7, and can rest assured that sound quality will be tip-top thanks to the audiophile-grade connections on the back.

The RCD-N7 will set you back around £350 in most retail outlets, and it comes with the highly accredited 5 star rating from What Hi-Fi magazine. You also get your pick of glossy white or black to match your Apple gadget nicely.

Marantz M-CR603

Sat just across from the Denon model was Marantz’s M-CR603 – widely seen as the Denon’s main competitor. In fact, it pipped the RCD-N7 to the coveted ‘Best Micro System £400+’ award from What Hi-Fi magazine.

Also packing Apple’s AirPlay technology for wireless streaming, we have to say Marantz’s model looked a tad nicer in glossy black. It offers AirPlay, USB-in, Digital-in, FM/AM, Internet and DAB Radios, CD player and three analog audio inputs.

To our ears the Marantz edged the Denon model for sound quality, and this is a view that has been shared by many reviewers recently. It’s a little pricier though, retailing at around £400. Again, this model has a 5-star review from What Hi-Fi magazine.

Marantz has also developed a nifty little app for Apple gadgets, called ‘Wizz’. It allows you to control networked products just like this one over Wi-Fi using your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The app lets you control the power, change the source, volume, and even zone select – if you have one of the company’s multi-room systems.

Let us know your thoughts on our comments below or via our @Gadget_Helpline Twitter page or Official Facebook group.

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