In 2015 we tested the predecessor of the Melody X MCR612. Very appropriate this was the MCR611. Back then we were already very satisfied with the versatility of the MCR611. Of course it’s nice to see what Marantz has changed in the successor. But perhaps more importantly… Is it Hi-Fi worthy? Let’s find out.
The Marantz Melody X reminds us a bit of the 80s and 90s. At that time there were compact Hi-Fi sets. These all-in-one sets were mostly from one brand and came with Lp, cassette and CD player. And don’t forget: the speakers; otherwise the set wouldn’t be complete.
The Marantz Melody X MCR612 may not have the speakers included, but it does have the versatility. As long as versatility doesn’t come at the expense of quality, the Marantz Melody X is a heavy competitor for the Sonos AMP, for example.
The choice is huge!
Today, music is offered in more forms than ever. For example, we are again playing CDs. And LPs still go over the counter like hotcakes. But despite these trends, the market is still heavily dominated by streaming. Marantz responds to this versatility with the Melody series.
Marantz provided the Melody X with a CD player, but also streaming with HEOS support. We also find FM and DAB. As well as integration for all major streaming brands such as Spotify, Deezer and TIDAL.
But where Marantz hopes to get the audiophile or starting audiophile on internship, is the ability to play Hi-RES audio. A flac or DSD file can be played back on the Melody X as normal. And that dear Alpha audio readers, that offers possibilities. Because a Sonos AMP can’t do that. And the list of possibilities doesn’t end there. We still have some connections on the back!
How about twice an optical input, an analog input in the form of RCA, a subwoofer output, USB, Ethernet and analog off. Then there’s the technology that we don’t see but we do. We mean WiFi, AirPlay and Bluetooth. A very nice addition makes it possible to connect an extra pair of speakers and share them in another room. This is made possible by the four available amplifier channels.
On the other hand, this also gives the possibility to apply Bi-Amping or double power to a loudspeaker via BTL. Particularly interesting. That complete package, combined with 2x 60watt (or 4x 30watt) power, seems like an offer we can’t resist.
In this way Marantz tries to appeal to a broad and large target group. According to Marantz, the Melody X would sound better than a sound bar. Well…we hope so. By the way, we find the equation a little limping… the target audience for a sound bar isn’t a Melody X.
You can learn to combine
A big advantage of a product like the Marantz Melody X CR612 is that you can choose the speakers yourself. Each speaker has a different character. It’s up to you to determine the sound. We can go for floor-standing or bookshelf speakers. We have complete freedom of choice. Almost all freedom, because the more complex speakers have a heavy (or heavier) and stable (re) control needed. And with the 60 watts per channel… you don’t have all the choice. We also saw this in the review of the Sonos AMP.
For this review we choose the Bowers & Wilkins 606 series. As far as we are concerned, this is one of the best speakers currently available (within its price range). For the B&W 606 we use speaker cable from QED; the XT25. Perfect in this class.
What we strive for is an all-round setup. This will probably be the most common for the Melody X. We want to be able to use the Melody X with the TV, but also as a stand-alone stereo system. We often listen to a broad spectrum of music, from pop and rock to classical harp and tech house. Precisely for this reason, the B&W 606 is a good choice; it plays everything nicely.
So the freedom to choose a speaker gives a lot of freedom, but that can also deter. A soundbar then seems like an easy choice. But if you listen to a lot of music, the Marantz will probably be a better choice.