Marantz MS7000 Consolette Audio Overview
Heavy, functional, expensive and, finally, a niche Marantz system, originally designed to work with Apple devices with a 30-pin connector. But you can forget about it, because the system supports not only AirPlay, but also traditional ways to connect to a wide variety of devices.
This is a truly heavy system, weighing seven kilograms, it comes in a large box, almost like an iMac. Moreover, the box of the device is hidden in the box for transportation. A good package, all the necessary cables, a remote control, however, let's look at the system itself.
The underside of the case is made of metal, aluminum to be exact, a manufacturing technique similar to that used by Apple. At the back there is a walnut overlay, buttons made of metal and a special Gyro wheel, massive legs, the design is unusual. This system is like a part of an expensive car, it will perfectly fit into any interior, although when installing, take care of the free space in advance, the dimensions are considerable. There are two versions of the Consolette, black and white column, I liked the light one more.
On the back there is a connector for connecting a network cable, USB for connecting hard drives, flash drives and even smartphones, KSF for connecting an audio cable (included). In general, you can’t find fault with the functionality, only it didn’t work to play music from the iPhone 5S via USB, it turned out from a flash drive (I tried only MP3).
The dock with the 30-pin Apple Iphone Xs in Nigeria plug is very cool, when pressed, it slowly and thoroughly leaves the case. It is gratifying that there are no restrictions here, it is easy to install an iPhone or iPod. But with modern Apple technology, using Consolette really doesn’t work, we are talking about installing it in a cradle with an original adapter, I’ll tell you about it below.
Heavy remote control included, metal front. In my opinion, the remote control was overdone, why was it made so heavy and large if there are so few buttons? It is not very convenient to use it, in addition, the system reacts to pressing with a delay. On the front panel there is a small OLED display, the symbols are not very visible from a distance of two or three meters. Yes, in terms of design, the design of this screen is done well. In addition, this seems to be a trademark of the brand, although in some products they managed with conventional displays. But it was possible to sacrifice form and add content - in other words, increase the display in size and use the familiar configuration. Or come up with something else. The display rectangle in a circle does not look very good. The Gyro wheel is inertial, and it pulls it to spin harder, the sensations are pleasant. On the front panel there are buttons to start and stop playback, select functions and sound sources, we will talk about the controls on the back below.
Working with Lightning devices
Unfortunately, if you use the original Apple 30-pin - Lightning adapter, I cannot guarantee stable operation, charging is always going on, but there are problems with sound transmission. The system worked fine with the iPhone 5S, but could not transmit audio from the iPad Air. It's a shame, because the dock here is designed in such a way that Consolette can be used with any Apple device, there are no problems with installation. Alas, for the system, I can only give one recommendation: it is worth buying for use with older devices of the company - for example, this is the iPod Classic. Well, or the iPhone 4S, I know that many people still keep the “four”, I myself like the design, and I don’t raise my hand to give this smartphone. You should not count on the normal use of the dock with new Apple gadgets. It's a shame, because now the recommended retail price has been almost halved, this system sounds very good.
AirPlay and iOS app
There are three different ways to connect Consolette to a network. The easiest is to insert an Apple device connected to your home network into the cradle and press the Netlink button on the back. A message appears on the screen indicating that the unit can share the network settings with the speaker. After that, everything is simple, the settings are applied, and the Consolette can be used to wirelessly stream music.
The second and third methods are more complicated, this is connecting to a router or connecting a network cable directly to the speaker for further configuration through the web interface. I believe the first method is optimal, I succeeded. By the way, on the back there is a WPS button for quick connection to routers equipped with this function.
By the way, DLNA is also supported, streaming sound directly from computers or Android smartphones / tablets. There is also an Internet radio with the ability to store six stations in memory, which is very convenient.
The iOS app looks system-style, replicated the Gyro wheel here, looks interesting. In fact, this is the same player with a different design, plus a built-in Consolette network connection assistant, plus a sleep timer.
I will not retell in my own words what is already written on the official website, I will just copy the information into the review (I can hardly do it better).
“New BMR drivers have been specially developed for it - speakers with balanced radiators, which help to expand the stereo base due to sound dispersion through all 180 °. BMR drivers also eliminate the effect of narrow listening area and provide a high quality stereo image literally throughout the room. In addition to them, the Consolette has two more large 11 cm bass drivers. The built-in amplifiers that drive all of these drivers are designed by Ken Ishiwata. There are six of them: two (in bridged mode - BTL) for each of the two bass drivers and one for each BMR speaker. The anodized aluminum housing dampens interference and eliminates vibrations. The result is sound of exceptional quality across the entire frequency range, plus a soundstage as wide as can normally only be achieved by separate stereo speakers several meters apart.”
I would like to note that Ken Ishiwata is a legend, and at Marantz he is responsible for creating the very best Marantz products. Surprisingly, the "small" Consolette also appeared in the zone of his attention. You can read more about Ken here, well, I recommend looking for information on the network yourself, an outstanding personality.
I'll tell you right now. In the Consolette reviews that I have read, journalists for some reason emphasize compatibility with Apple products, but do not say that the device is truly universal and can become a kind of acoustic center of the room. It's all about the outstanding acoustic performance. Here are a couple of scenarios for you: at home, I output sound to the Consolette not only from the iPhone 5S / iPad Air, but also from the Sony Xperia Z1, and without any problems. In the Android section, we wrote about an application that can help you stream audio via AirPlay (however, there is also an option for an easier connection). In the office - transferring music from a laptop and from other devices. In general, you can even use it with a TV, believe me, the sound quality here is better than the built-in speakers of most models (and don't be afraid to lose volume, on the contrary, it just appears).
The sound is powerful, and it is noticeable immediately after switching on, I do not recall other speakers for Apple that can produce such a dense and interesting sound - although there are reservations. This system does not want to be used for banal electronics, its destiny is a classic. This is very subjective, but these are the tracks that the Consolette did best with: when it comes to complex music, vocals, this is where all the bells and whistles hidden in an elegant case come into play. Excellent detail, each instrument plays as if separately from the rest, a huge margin of volume. Get serious!
And then you can connect your iPad to the speaker via AirPlay, turn on SoundCloud and go about your business. Still, Consolette was not created to work in the background, with it you want to download music to iTunes and try new things - you still have to find time for this. Well, when buying, I recommend that you download a few favorite tracks to your smartphone or player and listen to it in the store, this is the best way to understand whether the system is suitable or not.
Personally, I really liked the sound of the Consolette. This is the first time I get to know Marantz equipment so closely, I really enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for the Consolette series.
Recently, the RRP on Consolette was updated, it is 29,000 rubles, previously the device cost 49,500 rubles. Probably, in 2014 there will be another price update and it will be possible to buy even cheaper - believe me, Consolette is worth its money, although there are a number of nuances in terms of functionality. Buying a system just to use the cradle with new Apple devices is not worth it, the original adapter does not help, the sound is either transmitted or not transmitted. Here, either to buy an old iPod specifically for Consolette, or to turn to other functions. Thankfully, there are many. The column is quite versatile, you can use AirPlay, line-in, USB, transfer music directly without wires, listen to Internet radio, you don’t even remember about the cradle with such features.
Weight matters, and believe me, seven kilograms is not the weight of an aluminum case or a wooden panel. The weight comes from what's hidden inside, and I fully agree that the Consolette is called the world's first audiophile-class docking station. I can’t bring competitors, because she is the only one. You can only compare with Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, but you still feel the difference in sound. Both of them are interesting, only when you listen it does not leave the feeling that Consolette has a lot of surprises in store for you, but Zeppelin has already shown everything. And that's why it's great to listen to long-familiar songs with Consolette, discovering something new.
Do I need to buy? The product is niche and incomprehensible. For example, many people buy B&W Zeppelin not for the sound, but because of the unusual design. You put this at home or in the office, and everything is immediately clear. With Consolette it's a different story, it's a product, one might say, intimate, addressed to those who love music, have a large collection, appreciate good sound and want to have a powerful and functional speaker system at hand even in their office (for example). Such positioning is quite justified, and I advise such gentlemen to try the column on their own. I am sure you will enjoy it - especially now there is a chance to buy it for little (for Marantz) money. If a Consolette II with Lightning appears, it will probably cost fifty thousand or more.