In the Melody series, Marantz’s MCR603 CD-receiver has out-ranked and outclassed its predecessors. Given a five-star ranking from Stuff magazine if they are so keen on it, it would be crazy not to trust it.
The CD receiver unit on this outside seems pretty standard, in a really sleek silver-gold casing, in usual Marantz class and style. But it is not the outside that makes this machine worth having. The interesting bits and pieces are on the inside.
The M-CR603 functions as an AirPlay client for iPhones, iPods, iPads and the best of all, it does this iTunes library from any computer running iTunes. It is relatively simple to enable this capability, simply download the iOS 4.2 software update from iTunes and you are “wirelessly” set for a music streaming session.
The unit itself has more attitude than an angry biker, with 60 Watts per channel, the Melody Media is more dynamic and versatile than most of its’ competitors. The AirPlay and CD playback, are strong and controlled, the DAB tuner still throws out performance – even in weak reception areas, and the high-quality net radio (192kbps or higher) is also an impressive feature.
The only real downfall is that there is no Wi-Fi built into the unit, it has to be physically connected to the Wi-Fi router – it does kind of defeat the real purpose behind the concept of AirPlay, but in order to use the internet or stream music from DLNA-equipped NAS drives and computers – a router is still very much needed.
If you aren’t very much into the Apple iTunes fad, it isn’t really too much of an issue, all you need is to plug in an optional Bluetooth receiver (RX101) into the M-XPort – place neatly at the back of the unit and stream music from your other devices.
Overall, the unit is powerful, good-looking and gives you the options that many other CD receivers don’t. We like it.