A docked iPod is the only way the system can play the iTunes default AAC format (copy protected and non-DRM) as well as Apple Lossless and uncompressed WAV or AIFF. Its USB playback is incompatible with these files. That also rules out others such as FLAC, which is a shame given the product’s quality aspirations, and if you use an iPod for non-lossy files, it needs to have a huge capacity to be worthwhile. Although it docked with an iPhone without a hitch during the test, a couple of ‘vintage’ 2005-07 era iPods mysteriously failed to play.
Decent speaker terminals, but no convenient way to attach a ‘proper’ radio aerial
The digital radio reception on the CS-545 is a bit hit and miss. The only supplied antenna for the UK model is a length of thin wire and the receiver lacks a standard socket for easily attaching an alternative, such as a rooftop antenna.
Compared to radios with rod aerials in the same ground-floor position it fared much worse at picking up DAB adequately, although FM was fine. It worked better upstairs but that wasn’t really where I wanted to put it. If you plan to use the DAB tuner, ensure you live in a strong reception area. At least transmissions are being expanded in some regions.
While DAB is a divisive topic, the most adaptable products are likely to be multi-platform hybrids, as James Cridland’s blog sensibly explains. It’s disappointing that the CS-545 lacks options to stream audio from computers, Nas drives or the internet.
Together with BBC radio’s recent launch of higher quality streaming, it’s a missed opportunity, though I suspect a network connection in a hi-fi is of little interest to ‘typical’ consumers yet.
Next page: Quality player
I agree... but..
You've just invited a lot of hi-fi folk to complain that CD isn't lossless, it's sampled at 44.1KHz to recreate frequencies up to 22KHz (and lops off the higher, undetectable to the human ear frequencies, but those which can obviously harmonise with the audible frequencies). It's also got a bit depth of 16, which effectively limits the dynamic range to 96 dB. There will then be a mumbling about vinyl, an incomprehension of Nyquist–Shannon sampling theory, mutterings of not knowing you're born, a rustling of anoraks, followed by a swift down-voting of this post - possibly yours as well. Fortunately I've upvoted yours to try and cancel some of that out.
But I agree, as a digital format, CD seems to be the only generally available lossless format. Until FLAC is widely available (to buy as a digital source) it's the only consistent format. Hell, even if iTunes were to sell Apple Lossless tracks it would be a start.
What's the alternative to CD?
So far CD seems, to me at least, to be the only lossless format widely available -- so anyone concerned that MP3 may not capture the whole track only has the one option.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I still worry that a deliberately lossy CoDeC will miss something.
I still buy CDs
Its is often notably cheaper to buy a CD from Play/Amazon/etc than it is to download it. It gives you complete flexibility on how you encode it for playing on your personal player of choice. if you change player or you want to re-encode then you can do. It gives you proper cover art and something tangible for your money. As said, its lossless. I only buy downloads for things where its an impulse buy, novelty item or I only want one or two tracks off the album (the Plan B album for example, I only like one track off there).
I still have vinyl too! I'll keep my "record" collection until it is really utterly not viable to take up that much space in our house with it LOL.
I looked at one of these for my parents at Christmas, also the sony, denon and others, and was amazed at the lack of inputs on many of these. i.e none had optical/spdif something pretty basic single input on the more expensive brands, if you ask me, their just forgetting a whole section of market as not worth bothering with. If you remember LP's forget these things.
It would seem the entire micro market is aimed at the Ipod/iphone user and none of them will ever own a tv or turntable or even a another media player be it analogue or digital.
In the end I bought a Hitachi (Yeah I know its not the brand it used to be) but for 150 quid, it does everything this Onkyo does and it had inputs too for half the price. The sound was excellent and my mum was well happy !.
Without network functionality or a S/PDIF input £245 is a bit too over priced for my liking.