- Powerful amp
- Good connectivity
- Hi-fi sound
- Matched speakers lack bass
- No built-in Spotify streaming
- No DAB radio
Review Price £499.00
CDs are on the way out, folks. Soon all of our music will be stored in the Cloud and beamed directly to us in invisible ephemeral bursts - and there's not a thing the vinyl-clutching hordes of traditionalists can do about it. Aside from planting a few bombs in Google's, Apple's and Spotify's HQs. The Denon CEOL is a transition device of sorts, mixing a traditional CD mini system with a roster of connected streaming services. For the real stick-in-the-muds, there's even an AM/FM radio, though strangely no DAB.
The Denon CEOL bucks the trend of most hi-fi equipment by being all-white rather than black or silver. It leans towards being an acquired taste, especially when the matching SC-N7 speakers are also completely white aside from a grey ring around each driver cone. The Denon RCD-N7 networked music unit is available both with and without the speakers though.
On top of its sizeable frame sits an iPod dock, covered by a simple hinged plastic flap. Unlike some other separates-style hi-fi units, it isn't designed to be stacked - or, at least, it'll have to be top of the pile if you want to use the dock.
Other connectivity is excellent, with three additional auxiliary inputs - two phono and one optical - a subwoofer output, Ethernet on the back, while built-in Wi-Fi is included too. On the front are a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 3.5mm line-in input and a full-size USB slot to let you simply plug in external hard drives or memory sticks, from which you can play music.
With a unit like the CEOL RCD-N7 though, it's arguably the Wi-Fi that's much more important than the physical inputs. There's an antenna point on the back of the hi-fi, and a screw-in antenna is included as part of the package. Alternatively you can simply plug the CEOL directly into your router using the Ethernet port.
Being able to play music from such a wide variety of sources - over USB, from other music units over the standard connectors, over Wi-Fi or with a plain old CD - positions the Denon RCD-N7 as a device that wants to be at the centre of your home music setup - you could even bolster your TVs audio by positioning the speakers either side of your set.
It supplies 65W RMS of power per channel, making it powerful enough to drive both bookshelf and floorstanding speakers. As such, unless you find a particularly good deal for the full CEOL package with the central units and speakers together, there's no reason to stick with the matched speakers.
A standard remote control is included in the package. It's hardly ground-breaking in layout or ergonomics, but does include dedicated buttons for each of the CEOL's key features, such as Internet Radio, the tuner and CD player.