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MP3 Players

Denon D-F103: Caviar for the general

A device for serious audiophiles who want the advantages of digital music without the data loss of the trailer-trash MP3 format

MP3 is peanut butter to CD's caviar. Serious audiophiles spit on MP3. It's lossy (meaning that detail in the music is lost) and it won't do justice to even an average pair of speakers. What do you do if you want full-res rips of your CDs in an easily navigated hard disk format?

Denon's new CD and hard disk combo hi-fi -- the D-F103 -- looks like it will bring full-resolution CD storage to the mainstream. Its 40GB internal drive will rip CDs in WAV (non-lossy) or WMA format. The unit is a standard mini system (with two speakers and a built-in amp) letting you play either CDs or the digital music files stored on the internal drive.

The unit is compatible with the DLNA industry standard and will connect to the online Compact Disc Database (CDDB) to look up CD, artist and track information. The D-F103 will also stream music to a PC via USB, or will stream MP3, WAV or WMA files from a DLNA-compatible or Windows Media Connect server.

No details on a UK launch yet, but those with a loose grasp of Japanese, or a friend over there, will find plenty of mail-order options available. The unit is set for an August release and should retail for around ¥161,700, which is roughly £770. Don't forget that Japanese equipment is 100V though -- a trip to Maplin for the obligatory step-down transformer will add to this price. -CS