Steven Rittey | 14th December 2020
Before I start this review, I'd like to share a quick story that I am sure many of you can relate to...
I’ve worked in offices where the radio station choice is often a real bone of contention amongst colleagues. ‘Radio Wars’ once reached its peak during a lunchtime episode of Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2. Shortly after a heated Brexit debate and a thought-provoking feature on What Makes Us Human?, there were cries of 'I can’t take this anymore!' and we had to change stations quickly!
Needless to say, a one radio station policy in an open plan office is very rarely a fit for all.
One of the best things about working from home every day has been being able to listen to a wide selection of radio stations without annoying colleagues. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to borrow the excellent Marantz Melody (M-CR412) over the past couple of months with a set of capable DALI Spektor 2 speakers. The Melody boasts a built-in DAB radio and CD player, but more importantly, has an easy way to connect to my phone via Bluetooth with a one-touch button so I can stream Internet radio with ease. The Bluetooth button is a small feature with a big benefit.
Unlike some all-in-one units that look like enlarged kitchen radios, the Melody is a statement piece of audio equipment with a place in the lounge rather than in the kitchen or spare room. The compact design of the unit means that the Marantz sits nicely in between the speakers and the gloss black finish is contemporary in style. There is a thin strip of white LED light that runs either side of the centre console that illuminates the Melody with the same colour tone as the matching white dot-matrix display. This is a nice touch but more for aesthetics rather than functionality and looks cool when the lounge lights are dimmed in the early evening.
I know that there is the term ‘audiophile’, but I would consider myself more to be a lover of the radio so having a good player is important. I like nothing more than exploring new radio stations from around the UK and Europe and have a real love of BBC Sounds app. As I write this, I’m listening to an excellent BBC Radio 4 documentary series on the Cold War streamed via my phone through the Marantz and I am once again reminded as to why radio is my favourite way of listening to audio.
Mary Ann Hobbs on BBC 6 Music has been a joy to listen to over the past few months and a nice alternative to more mainstream presenters. Her ‘Techno Tuesday’ mix sounds brilliant with the bass notched up on the DALI speakers. Callers to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 are both crisp and clear and the settings can be easily adjusted using the Melody’s menu system via the remote control.
The speakers are connected at the rear of the Melody with banana plug connections that allows the system to be used with a wide choice of speakers. The M-CR412 can output up to 60W and this makes a real difference when using the system for radio as digital radio through smaller devices can often sound tinny. It is also possible to connect the Melody to your TV with an optical input cable, so the unit can turn into an amplifier for watching films in high-quality stereo sound or streaming YouTube videos for example from a Smart TV. You can also add a turntable with a phono stage and a subwoofer to complete the full set-up.
I can definitely recommend this system for anyone looking for an ‘all-in-one’ unit that does everything without taking up too much space. It looks great and the sound fills the room. I’ve always been a big fan of these compact units, but the main benefit of the Marantz Melody M-CR412 is that it does feel like a quality product even if I am just using it to listen to the radio. I’ve really enjoyed using the Melody and like listening to my favourite radio shows with good, consistent audio quality. Once again, this is going to be another difficult piece of audio equipment to return to the warehouse.