In a desperate attempt to save itself from the technological scrap heap the traditional HiFi is trying to make a bold comeback.
From Sony the NAS-D5HD ‘NetJuke’ looks ever so retro yet kinda chic at the same time and just like the Herbie the Lovebug it carries a tonne of surprises under the innocent exterior.
For a start there is a chunky 40GB integrated hard drive so you can rip CDs directly without the need for a PC. This not only builds a music collection for the HiFi but from here it will also write the music directly to MiniDiscs (anyone still got one?) and Memory Stick Duo cards. Content can also be stored and exported directly from FM radio and a large 4.3in colour display shows song information and album art.
Impressively, the NAS-D5HD is also compatible with Sony’s online music store allowing you to surf it directly from the screen (there’s an Ethernet port at the back) and it will play ATRAC and MP3 file formats natively. Rather unsurprisingly, there is no support for Apple’s AAC. As for the output quality it should be pretty good with 2 x 20W, 32 DSP and 24bit DAC.
Whether all this is enough to save the venerable old HiFi from extinction or at least Apple’s rather hideous recent reinterpretation is doubtful, but its not going down without a fight which warms the cockles of my blood lusting heart.
The NAS-D5HD will debut imminently in Japan with the promise of a UK release should it prove popular. Pricing has yet to raise its ugly head, but I certainly like it better than Apple’s brick inspired mess… don’t you?