Denon AVR-X6300H / AVR-X4300H discussed


Denon announced 2 two new AV receiver models towards the end of last year—the AVR-X6300H and AVR-X4300H. Sound & Image takes a better look at these two models. These new models come loaded with every modern immersive audio and video feature set including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and an optional upgrade to Auro 3D as well as 4K/UHD upscaling, 4:4:4 color sub-sampling, along with BT2020 and HDR. As Denon-branded equipment, perhaps the most important feature is the inclusion of the company’s own HEOS streaming, which now allows either of these two receivers to act as the hub of a true, whole-house wireless audio network.

The AVR-X4300H and AVR-X6300H are built to deliver full immersive audio fun.The X6300H is unique in that it’s the first Denon AV receiver to come with 11 channels of on-board amplification. Denon says that the X6300H’s amplification stage is a monolithic design with custom transistors. Each channel is rated at 140 watts into 8 ohms with 2 channels driven. That means that the X6300H can drive a full 11-channel, 7.1.4 immersive audio setup without any further amplification needed.  However, if more power is needed, the AVR-X6300H offers 11.2CH preouts so you could literally use it as an AV preamp along with external amplification. 

The AVR-X4300H isn’t quite as over the top as the AVR-X6300H, but does offer many of the same features at a lower price. This model features 9 channels at a claimed 125 watts per channel, with support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D, though unlike its larger sibling, a two-channel amplifier is necessary for 7.1.4 3D surround sound configurations.

The two latest receives in Denon’s X-Series line deliver a solid lineup that not only raises the bar with on-board amplification and support for all major immersive audio formats, but get the company on the map with whole-house wireless audio with the inclusion of HEOS. If you're a Denon fan who has been looking to get full 4K/UHD support, immersive audio, and whole home streaming, there’s looks to be no better time or opportunity than these new offerings.

These models are available at both our Sound & Image stores.

The McIntosh RS100 is a "class act"


The RS100 wireless is a great first piece to introduce yourself to McIntosh’s legendary sound quality and performance standards. For those who love the sleek appearance of McIntosh gear but prefer a seamless, whole-house audio system controlled by a mobile device, McIntosh has an answer. Audiophiles and casual music listeners alike have praised American-made McIntosh products for decades for their honest presentation of music. Sound & Image share this praise. The RS100 speaker is feature rich, allowing connection of up to 16 individual RS100s across the home via Wi-Fi. The accompanying software allows users to connect to a personal music library or online streaming service, and play back using the new DTS Play-Fi for lossless sound reproduction. The RS100 has no trouble interfacing with Apple or Android phones, and even works with Windows desktops. 

Press Release from McIntosh
RS100 Wireless Loudspeaker The RS100 wireless speaker allows streaming music capabilities to be added to any room. It features DTS Play-Fi® technology that gives the freedom and flexibility to wirelessly play the music on mobile devices over an existing Wi-Fi network. Simply connect it to a Wi-Fi network, install the free Play-Fi Apple or Android mobile app or Windows desktop app and then begin streaming. A single RS100 is all that is needed to start building a wireless speaker system; more can be added over time to expand the system. Up to 16 speakers can be connected to a single Wi-Fi network - enough for stereo playback in 8 separate rooms. With the Play-Fi app installed on multiple devices, each device can stream different music to each room, giving all family members or guests control over what they want to hear in their room. Besides accessing a personal music library, the apps have built-in support for many leading online streaming services including Deezer, KKBox, Pandora®, QQMusic, Rhapsody, SiriusXM®, Songza, Spotify® and TIDAL (list subject to change). Not limited to just streaming, the RS100 is flexible thanks to its auxiliary input which allows it to be used in non-streaming setups; it can quickly be switched back and forth between the two inputs to accommodate listening preferences. A subwoofer output is also included.

T3, a leading magazine and website devoted to all things tech, calls the RS100 a class act. "The power is immense yet open and controlled. The clarity is spot-on. The level of bass is where it ought to be, and the balance between the top frequencies and the bottom is unbelievably sweet." 

here​ for the full review.

S&I have the RS100 in stock – visit us in store and we will gladly demo this superb unit for you.

Merry Christmas from Sound & Image


Marantz announces New 10 Series Reference Range


In February, Marantz will launch two new hi-fi products: a reference-quality SACD player/DAC and an integrated amplifier. Part of the new Premium 10 Series, the SA-10 SACD player/DAC and PM-10 integrated represent the best of the best of Marantz's hi-fi lineup. The SA-10 combines a high-end disc player with a state-of-the-art DAC design that uses Marantz's two-stage process, MMM-Conversion and MMM-Stream, instead of a traditional DAC. The analog PM-10 integrated amp is rated at 400 watts per channel and features an all-discrete phono stage for both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges. 

The Premium 10 series: The New Reference
Bringing together everything Marantz engineers have learned, designed and developed over more than 70 years, the Premium 10 series is a groundbreaking combination of established audio practice and innovative thinking, meticulously built and designed to deliver superb performance and sets new standards. Above all, it remains true to the saying that has guided Marantz for many years, and which is summed up in one very simple statement: Because music matters.

More details on both product designs are available in the press release below.

From Marantz
Marantz launches its most advanced hi-fi combination to date. The Premium 10 series, comprising the SA-10 SACD/CD player/DAC and PM-10 amplifier, features groundbreaking Marantz audio technology designed to deliver the best possible sound from high-resolution audio formats and CD alike. Taking its place at the pinnacle of the range, the new duo is so advanced in both technology and performance that Marantz describes it simply as The New Reference. Both models are expected to be available in January 2017.

Marantz SA-10 SACD/CD player/DAC
The SA-10 replaces the SA-7, the previous Marantz Reference disc player. Although widely acclaimed, the SA-7 was purely a disc player, but with the changing audio landscape and the rise of high-resolution audio and computer-stored music, change was inevitable. Beyond it being a superb disc player for CDs, SACDs and even high-resolution music burned on recordable media, the SA-10 is a state-of-the-art digital-to-analog converter. It uses unique technology to extract every last nuance from digital music files with a combination of tried-and-tested Marantz audiophile practice and some highly innovative solutions developed specifically for this flagship product.

Today's digital technology has made it possible to replace conventional digital-to-analog conversion with something much more advanced, allowing the SA-10 to become the first player/USB-DAC that doesn't actually have a DAC. The reason is Marantz Musical Mastering, a brand-new approach to a problem almost 35 years old--making the most of music stored in digital form without introducing artifacts requiring extra processing after conversion. A two-stage process, MMM-Conversion and MMM-Stream, draws on Marantz expertise extending back to the first days of CD, and brings into play the company's commitment and experience in both SACD and the DSD format behind it.

Marantz PM-10 Amplifier,
Partnering the SA-10 is the PM-10, the best integrated amplifier Marantz has ever produced. The previous Reference amplifier, the SC-7/MA-9, was a pre/power amplifier combination, but Marantz wanted to deliver even better performance from an integrated amplifier. Only now has the technology allowed the Marantz engineers to achieve this. While retaining a purist all-analog design, completely balanced throughout its signal path, and using a dual-mono construction with differential amplification delivering a massive 2x400W. Even the continued interest in vinyl has a place in this New Reference system, as it does in most Marantz amplifiers: the PM-10 has a meticulously designed all-discrete phono stage for both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges.

Marantz SA-10: the biggest advance in digital audio since the CD
The idea for the Marantz SA-10 was simple: build the best disc player/DAC the company has ever made. And that meant going back to basics in every area. From the disc transport itself to the way the digital signals are processed, as well as ensuring the design was entirely future-proof by providing an asynchronous USB-B input for the connection of a computer, this model is advanced.

To play SACD, CD, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW discs, the Marantz team avoided the usual route taken in players of this kind, using an 'off-the-shelf' DVD-ROM drive of the kind commonly found in computers. Instead, and in their quest for ultimate sound quality, they built their own: the new SACD-M3, the latest in an acclaimed range of disc mechanisms built for Marantz players, is unique to the SA-10, and can play not just CDs and SACDs, but also high-resolution audio stored on either CD or DVD recordable media.

Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata explains that "From the time of CD players the transport was one of our strengths, and with SACD it's the same. Of course doing things this way is expensive, but if we want something special we have to do it. And besides, there aren't many SACD mechanisms available today. However, there really is no way of making this kind of mechanism cheaply, so it's limited to our top-of-the-range model."

The digital-to-analog conversion process, available to both discs and external sources connected to the player's digital inputs (which include asynchronous USB for the connection of a computer), is equally innovative. Rather than down-converting ultra-high-resolution files to suit a conventional digital-to-analog converter, as happens in some rival designs, the SA-10 upconverts everything to DSD 256, in a process known as Marantz Musical Mastering - Conversion.

Two dedicated master clocks are used to ensure all digital signals are upsampled directly to DSD 256--or four times the SACD standard--without any need for sample rate conversion. And there's a choice of two filter settings to allow the listener to shape the sound.

But why do this? Well, the other half of the Marantz Musical Mastering package--MMM-Stream--is what prepares this DSD 256 signal for analog output to an amplifier. Based on technology going back to early days of Bitstream conversion, this enables an ultra-simple conversion process.

Senior Electronics Engineer Rainer Finck has been working on Marantz Reference CD players for two decades and was central to the SA-10 project. According to Rainer, "As I was one of the Philips engineers way back in the late 80s, and worked on the company's Bitstream converters--the last one was the DAC-7--we could draw on all this knowledge to build our own bitstream converter for the SA-10."

The output from the MMM-Conversion process is, in effect, already an analog signal, being a very high-frequency stream of single pulses. With all the hard digital work done, this stream needs nothing more than a very high-quality low-pass filter to deliver the purest possible analog audio output. For all its apparent complexity, this is actually a very simple, very elegant solution to digital processing--and it's unique to the Marantz SA-10. That's why Marantz says it's the first player/USB converter without a DAC--it doesn't need one.

Marantz PM-10: the power to perform
Marantz started as an amplifier company with its famous original Audio Consolette pre-amplifier back in the 1950s. Since then it has made many classic products, from the Model 7/8 preamp/power amp all the way through to the massive Project T1 valve amplifiers of the 1990s. It was only fitting that the amplifier in this New Reference line should be something very special--the Marantz PM-10. Effectively a preamplifier and a pair of monobloc power amps in a single unit, the PM-10 uses switching power amplification to deliver huge power--200 wpc into 8 ohms, and 400 wpc into 4 ohms. This ensures it can drive a wide range of speakers, and instant high-current power supplies to deliver the dynamics of even the most demanding music.

In terms of power supplies, the PM-10 has separate supplies for the preamplifier and each of the power amplifier channels. Thus enabling the delicate signals passing through the preamp aren't affected by the demands of the high power output stages. There's also a dedicated supply for the microprocessor controlling volume adjustment, input selection and other components, ensuring no noise from the control section finds its way in to the audio path.

The layout is fully balanced, from the input section all the way through to the final power amplifier section. It has two sets of balanced inputs, and also conventional unbalanced line-level inputs (plus a high-quality phono stage); the signal from these inputs being converted to balanced working before being passed through the amplifier. This ensures optimal signal purity and rejection of interference.

The preamp uses the famous Marantz Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules (or HDAMs). These are tiny amplifiers in miniature, built from discrete components for the best possible sound quality, rather than using the 'chip-amps' found in rival designs.

To make the most of that purity of design, the PM-10 is designed with the option of working in 'Purest Mode': when engaged, this deactivates any superfluous circuits, giving the signal the cleanest possible path through the amplifier. There's also a Power Amp Direct input, taking the signal straight from the input section to the power stage to allow the PM-10 to work as a pure power amplifier.

Like the SA-10, the PM-10 is constructed to the highest possible standards, with a double-layered copper-plated chassis for excellent rejection of mechanical and electrical interference, and casework constructed from thick, heavy, non-magnetic aluminium panels. Both products also sit on custom-made die-cast aluminium feet. Even the speaker terminals here are special: although the highest-aiming rivals tend to use components bought in from third-party companies, the PM-10 has newly designed and exclusive Marantz SPKT-100+ terminals, made from high-purity solid copper.

At S&I we are looking forward to showcasing the new Marantz 10 Series Reference Range. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more launch details.

Denon AVR-X6300 gets the AVForums Best Buy award!


Enjoy a superb surround sound experience with the Denon AVR-X6300H, which features Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D surround decoding, and is the first Denon AV receiver with 11 channels of amplification built-in. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X feature object-based surround sound with the ability to drive overhead speakers to deliver the ultimate immersive 3D audio experience, and the AVR-X6300H’s 11-amplifier design means all this can be delivered without any need for external amplification, even when running four overhead speakers in 7.1.4 configuration. Auro 3D is also supported, via an optional firmware upgrade.

Full wireless connectivity is provided via both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Apple Airplay is supported for music streaming, and built-in HEOS technology allows the AVR-X6300H to become the heart of a whole-house wireless multi-room music network. HEOS lets you to enjoy your favourite music anywhere and everywhere around your home, meaning you can explore, browse, and play music from your own music library, from online streaming music services, and from thousands of Internet radio stations using “HEOS” app. It’s all controlled from the free “HEOS” app, available for smartphones and tablets, and high resolution audio formats are fully supported for incredible fidelity.

 The AVR-X6300H is awarded with a BEST BUY logo and an excellent overall rating of 9/10. Furthermore, the ratings given for ‘Features’ and ‘Value for Money’ are 10/10 which are exceptional results.

The AVForums Best Buy award is given to a product that offers a high-performance level at core competencies as well as doing so at a price point that defies its market position, making it a product that should be auditioned even against more expensive rivals.

“The remote app has recently had an upgrade and it now operates in conjunction with the HEOS app, allowing you to move seamlessly from one to the other. This is a nice touch, allowing you to easily control all the functions on your X6300H using the remote app, with all the buttons you need sensibly laid out. However, if you want to use the receiver as part of the HEOS multiroom system then you just switch into the HEOS app and then control all the online functions as well as all the devices connected to the HEOS network. It's all very slick and very impressive.”

“Ultimately the X6300H is a fantastic performer with both movies and music but it's the receiver's ability to so effectively handle a full 11-channel configuration right out of the box that sets it apart from the competition.”

Should I buy one?
“If you're looking for single-box solution to a full 7.1.4 immersive audio configuration, then the simple answer is yes. The Denon AVR-X6300H does everything an AV Receiver should do and it does it very well. Denon have thought of every tiny detail when designing this receiver, right down to the included accessories and even how you unbox it. The X6300 is familiar in terms of its layout but remains attractive, well engineered and solidly constructed...“

“…The inclusion of Denon's HEOS multiroom system is a major new addition to a receiver that is already packed with features and the inclusion of a free HEOS1 HS2 is an added bonus…”

“…Denon have invested a lot of time and money in making their receivers as easy to setup and as simple to use as possible – other manufacturers could learn from their efforts…”

“…The receiver did an excellent job delivering both stereo and multi-channel music but where it really excelled was with film surround soundtracks. It delivered an open front soundstage, focused dialogue, good tonal balance and superb steering of effects around the room. The bass was well integrated and the sound field was suitably immersive…”

“…the X6300 is a class act in every respect and if you're looking for an 11-channel single box solution then it's quite simply the most obvious choice – there is nothing else that comes close in terms of design, features, performance and especially price. As such the Denon AVR-X6300H offers an unbeatable combination of exceptional performance and value, making it a worthy winner of an AVForums Best Buy badge.”

Please see the link below for an in-depth online review of the Denon AVR-X6300H by Steve Withers on the AVForums. -

S&I says - "If you're a Denon fan who has been looking to get full 4K/UHD support, immersive audio, and whole home streaming, there’s looks to be no better time or opportunity than the Denon AVR-X6300H. Available now from S&I."