The SC-PMX5 is Panasonic’s hi-fi equivalent of the SC-BTT590, a high-end stereo micro system that aims to deliver the best-possible sound quality using the company’s latest audio innovations. It features a CD player, built-in iPod dock and USB input, with a DAB/FM radio tuner thrown in for good measure.
Panasonic has paid particular attention to the design of the SC-PMX5, not only in terms of construction but also the external styling. The main unit sports an eye-catching brushed aluminium finish on the front panel, peppered by unobtrusive buttons, silver dials and a groove running across the middle that makes it look like two tiers. The shape of the unit isn’t particularly daring – it’s essentially just a silver box – yet it’s undeniably easy on the eye and boasts sturdy build quality, aided by a four-part metal casing designed to reduce vibration.
The upper ‘tier’ features a large LED display panel, showing the selected input and other information like volume, running time and so forth. Either side of this are dials allowing you to adjust the bass, treble and volume levels. On the lower ‘tier’ you’ll find the CD disc tray, a row of buttons governing input selection and playback, plus the USB port.
On top is a panel that flips open to reveal the iPod dock. We like the fact Panasonic has made this an integral part of the design instead of throwing a cradle in the box, not only because it’s tidier but also because it provides a clean digital connection between the iPod and system.
The rear panel is sparse, featuring just an analogue stereo input, a screw terminal for the supplied DAB aerial and a set of plastic speaker binding posts.
Turning to the speakers, these have also been constructed to keep vibration to a minimum with a board inside that reinforces the structure, as well as an Aero Stream port running through the middle that reduces port noise.
Externally they look very classy indeed. They use a dark wood finish and a removable black cloth grille on the front, held on by plugs. Pull these off and you’ll uncover some dashing silver cone surrounds that add an extra touch of glamour. Overall the speakers feel lighter than expected and sound hollow when you tap the sides, which may not have a bearing on sound quality but takes the shine off slightly.