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Denon announce their new HiFi and System ranges

The emphasis is on network streaming, high res audio and lifestyle products

by Steve Withers Jun 11, 2015 at 8:18 AM


  • The launch of Denon's latest HiFi and System ranges may have taken place in Monte Carlo but it was more than just about the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
    These days lifestyle products are big business and Denon are hoping to tap into that market with a range of products that combine design, sound quality and convenience. To do this the manufacturer has condensed the HiFi sound quality of their larger separates into a more compact and user-friendly designs. Spearheading this assault on the lifestyle market is Denon's new Design Series which is intended to deliver 'real HiFi for today's lifestyles' and is shown in the photo at the top of this article.

    Denon DRA-100

    The first component in the Design Series is the PMA-50 Power Amplifier. It has been designed to be compact but is constructed of high quality materials and includes digital amplification. It can be installed vertically or horizontally and has an attractive two-tone design with a black finish and an aluminium top. It also has USB-B connectivity, along with analogue inputs and a headphone out with gain control. The PMA-50 will be released in January at a list price of £399.

    The PMA-50 is designed to be used in conjunction with the matching DCD-50 Compact Disc Player. This uses a disc slot mechanism, has analogue and digital coaxial outputs, supports WMA and MP3, 192kHz/32-bit DAC, matching two-tone design, it can be installed vertically or horizontally and has an OLED display that rotates automatically. It is released this month at a list price of £329.

    The final entry in the Design Series is the DRA-100 Network Amplifier, which will be available in October for £799. This uses the same two-tone design and includes a 2 x 70W digital amplifier, an OLED display, network streaming, gapless playback and high res audio support (WAV/FLAC/AIFF/ALAC 192kHz/24-bit and DSD 2.8/5.6MHz). It has advanced AL32 processing, a USB-A port at the front, two optical and one coaxial digital inputs, two analogue inputs, a pre-out and a headphone amp gain control. There's also built-in WiFi, Bluetooth (with NFC), internet radio, AirPlay and Spotify Connect.
    The new Design Series brings high res audio streaming and attractive design into a single lifestyle product.
    If you're looking for a mini system that is a bit more traditional in design, there's the new D-M40DAB CD-Receiver which is released this month and retails for £249 or £349 if you include the optional speakers. The D-M40DAB includes 2 x 30W of built-in amplification, HP amp with gain control, high grade speaker terminals and a 192kHz/32-bit DAC. Along with the built-in CD drive there's a built-in FM/DAB radio, FLAC 48/24, WAV 48/24 and AAC support via a USB-A port at the front and two optical digital inputs. There's also digital transmission from iPhone/iPod/USB memory via USB at the front and iPhone/iPod recharging in standby. The optional speakers use a two-way design with 12cm woofers and 2.5cm soft dome tweeters, whilst the D-M40DAB includes a speaker optimiser and has been sound tuned here in Europe. The main unit comes in a choice of either black or premium silver, whilst the speakers only come in black.

    Denon also had their CEOL range of network and Bluetooth systems on display with the new N9, see photo above, taking pride of place. The N9 comes in a choice of black or white and has been designed to stream high resolution audio from a connected computer or NAS drive. In terms of file support, the N9 can handle MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC 192/24, WAV 192/24, AIFF 192/24 and ALAC 96/24. It also includes a built-in CD player, a built-in FM radio, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth with NFC, along with a USB port, two optical digital inputs and an OLED display. The N9 supports AirPlay, Windows 8/RT, internet radio and Spotify Connect, as well as gapless playback, and there's a provided remote control, as well as a free remote app.

    Denon DRA-100

    The CEOL range also includes the Piccolo N4, which offers many of the same features as the N9 but without the built-in CD player. So with the Piccolo N4 you also get a choice of black or white and the ability tto stream high resolution audio from a connected computer or NAS drive. In terms of file support, the N9 can handle MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC and AIFF 192/24. It also includes a built-in FM radio, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth with NFC, along with a USB port, an optical digital input and an OLED display. The N9 supports AirPlay, Windows 8/RT and internet radio, as well as gapless playback, and there's a provided remote control, as well as a free remote app.

    Finally there's the CEOL Carino Computer and Bluetooth Audio System which, as the name suggests, has been specifically designed to improve the audio on your computer - whether you're enjoying music, movies or gaming. The Carino uses a minimalist white and black design and includes 2 x 25W of digital amplification, along with switchable on-board DSP sound processing, with choices for Auto Volume Adjust and Wide Sound. There's also a subwoofer pre-out for system extension and push speaker terminals. The Carino supports Bluetooth aptX with NFC pairing, as well as a USB-B DAC for direct connection to a computer. It's a good reminder that anyone with a PC or Mac has a potentially great audio source already in their home.
    The Envaya range combine rugged good looks and sound quality with Bluetooth support and portability.
    In terms of portable Bluetooth speakers, Denon were demonstrating their Envaya range which are shown in the photo above. The Envaya DSB-200 comes in a choice of black or white finish and has a rubberised coating for durability. Both versions come with four interchangeable colour grilles - lunar, indigo, fandango and sunset. The Envaya uses dual 52mm drivers, a high efficiency Class D digital amplifier and a 100mm passive radiator that helps deliver deeper bass. The rechargeable battery can last up to ten hours from a 2.5 hours charge time and there's a USB port for mobile charging. The Envaya also includes Bluetooth aptX, along with MaxxAudio sound processing.

    The latest addition to the Envaya range is the Envaya Mini DSB-100 which offers many of the same features in a smaller form, making it the ideal travel companion. The Envaya Mini is available in either black with a blue cloth grille or white with an orange cloth grille and the speaker is designed to be rugged, portable and water-resistant. The rechargeable battery can last up to ten hours from a 2.5 hours charge time and there's a noise-cancelling speakerphone for when someone calls. There are dual drivers, Bluetooth aptX and NFC pairing, along with MaxxAudio sound processing. The Envaya Mini comes with a carry-bag and can be used in a vertical or horizontal position.

    Denon DRA-100

    Last year Denon took their first steps into the huge headphone market and whilst, by the company's own admission, the line-up wasn't as successful as they'd hoped, they still had plenty of new models on show. Taking pride of place were the AH-MM400 over-ear headphones. These have been professionally tuned for a flat EQ and are designed to deliver a natural tonal balance that is faithful to the original musical performance. They also use hand-carved American walnut ear cup housings for a resonance-free listening experience. Denon were also demonstrating their new Global Cruiser AH-GC20 wireless noise-cancelling over-ear headphones. We were able to try these new headphones out and they're attractively designed and well built and comfortable to wear. They also work, effectively cancelling out the noise on the show floor and allowing you to simply enjoy the music.

    Along with their headphones, Denon also had a pair of headphone amplifiers on show. First there was the DA-10 portable headphone amplifier with USB DAC which includes extended battery life and a carrying case. The DA-10 has been designed for audiophile performance and uses a Burr-Brown PCM-1795 32-bit high resolution DAC with dual master clock crystals. It can handle up to 192kHz/24-bit and DSD (2.8 and 5.6MHz). There's also AL 32 processing, a asynchronous USB input and a 3.5mm analogue input. Denon were also showing the DA-300USB high resolution audio USB DAC and headphone amplifier. This can be installed vertically or horizontally, it has an OLED touch control display that automatically rotates and it uses audiophile components. The DA-300USB has an asynchronous USB input, two optical digital inputs, a coaxial digital input and an analogue input. Thanks to its PCM1795 DAC it is capable of handling up to 192kHz/24-bit and DSD (2.8 and 5.6MHz), along with AL32 processing.
    Denon's AH-GC20 noise cancelling headphones certainly proved effective at cutting out the noise on the show floor.
    Whilst the emphasis this year might be on lifestyle, convenience, streaming and portability. Denon still had plenty of full size separates on show as well. There was the 520 range with the DCD-520AE CD player and PMA-520AE stereo amplifier, in a choice of black or premium silver. There was also the 720 range, which consists of the DCD-720AE CD player and the PMA-720AE stereo amplifier, both of which are available in a choice of black or premium silver. Finally there was the 2020 range on show, which consists of the high-end DCD-2020AE SACD player and the high-end PMA-2020AE stereo amplifier, both of which are also available in black or premium silver.

    Denon's HiFi and System range for this year consists of a number of eye-catching lifestyle products where the emphasis is very much on design, features and performance. The convenience of streaming audio from your network is now matched by a massive increase in quality as storage costs evaporate. As a result everyone probably already has a high quality audio source in their house and Denon are offering ways to access it in a user-friendly way that maintains quality. Despite this Denon still produce great mini systems and HiFi separates, whilst supporting both CD and SACD players. The increase in the importance of portable speakers, headphones and headphone amps show that the way we are consuming music is changing and more and more people are listening on the move. Based upon their new line-up, it would appear that Denon are also a company that's on the move.
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