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Photos: Hands-on with the Philips MCM906 hi-fi

We're rocking IFA here in Berlin, and we've just finished playing with Philips's new MCM906 valve-based hi-fi -- the flagship model in its new Heritage series

Towards the start of the year we were very pleased with Philips' boffins, who hammered together the MCD908. Not only was it an attractive hi-fi for under £300, but one that had an integrated valve-based pre-amp, solid wooden speaker enclosures, DVD playback, 1080i upscaling and decent performance to boot.

Back then, we wished Philips would strip away the DVD stuff and put the product out as a stand-alone hi-fi. And now, at the IFA tech show in Berlin, it has, and it's called the MCM906 -- the top model in the Heritage series.

Once again this incorporates valve-based pre-amplification, pushed into a solid-state amplifier that'll whack out two channels of 75W sound. The electronics inside the system, we're told, are mostly the same as in the MCD908, but the speakers have been completely redesigned and re-engineered.

Gone is the three-way system and ribbon tweeter. In its place is a more conventional two-way system, incorporating a single silk dome tweeter and large polypropylene-aluminium woofer. Large, gold-plated speaker terminals sit to the rear, guaranteeing compatibility with decent speaker wire.

We only had an incredibly brief listen, and the environment wasn't ideal. But we heard enough to be keen to hear more -- powerful sound, a balanced tone and distinctive warmth fuelled not only by the valves, but also the gorgeous wooden speakers.

It'll be on sale later this year all being well, with prices and release dates yet to be announced. Watch this space. -Nate Lanxon

Closer up you can see the glowing red valves -- similar to those used in Fatman's luxurious iTube 452. Only this flagship model contains the valve pre-amp system.

Aluminium buttons and knobs adorn this brushed-aluminium enclosure.

And sticking to traditional hi-fi conventions (IFA-based pun slightly intended), Philips has thought to include a 6.3mm headphone socket.