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Naim HDX: An audiophile jukebox, at last

80GB is a pathetic amount of memory to stick inside something the size of a hi-fi, so we were pleased to see that someone finally gets it.

Hard disks with 80GB capacity are good only for old people and the terminally decrepit. When used inside central music jukeboxes, that is.

It's a pathetic amount of memory to stick inside something the size of a hi-fi. We've seen them in heaps of music centers from the likes of Sony, Philips, and newcomers Brennan. Always 80GB. Would a 160GB drive break the bank? No. Would 250GB? No. And these larger disks would also mean you could store CDs in lossless format.

Crave UK

How pleased were we to see that at least one company gets it. British manufacturer Naim has put not one but two 400GB drives in its new HDX audiophile music center--one primary disk for use in the day, and one that backs up the primary disk at night. But at 4,500 pounds (about $8,923) you may have to start your own e-mail scam to afford one.

It's not just about storage, of course. The HDX uses a double-pass technique to ensure a bit-for-bit copy of a CD, then stores it in uncompressed WAV format to retain absolute sonic accuracy. Together this will let you store about 600 CDs inside the system. With so much music, it'll need to be easy to navigate--a colour LCD touch-sensitive screen should be just the ticket, or you can hook up a keyboard and monitor for more complex editing.

The HDX can also stream music from any network-attached storage devices or PCs you have lying around, or from USB sticks and iPods. An automatic AMG-powered online system will label your CDs with artist and album info, along with cover art.

For even more passionate audiophiles, Naim's jukebox powerhouse supports DRM-free 24-bit 96KHz and 24-bit 88KHz files for better-than-CD audio reproduction. Music in this format will be available for download from Naim's digital music store later this year. Yes, it will play MP3, WMA, AAC and good ol' FLAC files, should you want to, though we don't yet know whether it'll rip into these formats.

We'll do our best to bring you a slick hands-on report with the HDX in the near future, so watch this space. You can expect to pick up an HDX from June.

(Source: Crave UK)