ANALYSIS: HOME AUDIO Home Entertainment

Harman Kardon Citation 200

18 Listen up!

The audio market is booming. Easier access to more content means consumers are listening in more ways than ever, with average price points reflecting the demand. Jack Cheeseman hears how the landscape is changing and sounds out the features and functions of the latest products.


he last 12 months have really shaped the importance of all audio technology in people’s lives. Whether that be via audio for consumption, the creation of audio, or just how

everyone has learned the importance of audio to stay connected to friends, family and colleagues. The pandemic has enabled consumers to

reassess and reflect on what it means to listen and to be heard, and to therefore invest in products to enhance that. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the quality of their audio via high quality streaming services, and the continued resurgence in vinyl. Music streaming has come of age and the

compatibility of services is a key topic for most people nowadays, as Nick Clarke, Senior Director, Global Engineering, Luxury Audio at Harman International, explains… “The ability for products to integrate, including

Qobuz and TIDAL, is often a deal-breaker, no longer just a ‘nice to have’. When it comes to AV lines, Dolby Atmos and IMAX Enhanced decoding are often buyer prerequisites, while interest in room correction technology has never been greater.”

He adds: “Voice control is another technology

that has matured well beyond the novelty factor, also making its way on to consumers’ checklists.” There’s more on voice control on page 23. Easy access to a wide variety of music in all

different genres is what today’s consumer is demanding. Breaking the market down between stereo and multichannel applications, for stereo, the audio technology must support streaming and high-end CD quality. While this counts for multichannel applications such as AV receivers as well, the key audio technology needs to support all the different audio formats – like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Oliver Kriete, Product Manager at Denon &

Marantz, and Achim Schulz, Senior Product Manager at Sound United Europe, say: “For more demanding users, technology should support IMAX Enhanced and Auro 3D, as well as their specific up-mixer to utilise all connected speakers. Of course, high quality audio reproduction needs to be checked first. Features alone do not define a good or excellent product.” Features like these can be found in a wide variety of the brands’ products, like the Denon

CEOL music System, the Marantz PM7000N amplifier, the new upper-class Marantz Model 30 and SACD30n models, and the Denon AVR- X2700H AV Receiver up to the flagship AVC-X8500H AV Amplifier. Last month we saw the release of Panasonic’s new

SC-PMX802 Premium Hi-Fi System and Network Player, incorporating the acclaimed Technics JENO Engine amplifier for pure hi-fi performance. “This takes our PMX Series hi-fi systems up

a level,” comments Masaaki Suna, General Manager Home AV Group, Panasonic Marketing Europe. “Sophisticated listeners demand that their music should sound as the musicians intended. By using premium materials and components we take every step to ensure this.” The system’s three-way speakers feature silk

dome tweeters, capable of reaching frequencies as high as 50kHz. And inside the classically-styled metal case are the traditional features that listeners expect, such as a CD player and DAB radio – but also the capability to play hi-res audio from USB, or stream it using Chromecast built-in, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth.

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