Recently, Denon has been more concerned with building its first Blu-ray players than updating its micro hi-fi line. In fact, we haven’t tested a £300 system from the company for three years.
But, just as its foe Onkyo has announced two new micro systems, Denon has given its excellent D-M37 a serious overhaul, both inside and out.
Available in silver or black, the 30W-per-channel system features an all-new circuit design, including separation of digital and analogue domains, plus UK-tuned electronics and SC-M37 speakers (the system costs £70 less without them).
There are both USB and 3.5mm mini-jack inputs placed handily on the front of the unit, while there's a dedicated connection for an iPod dock on the rear. Inside there's a DAB/FM/AM tuner, plus a CD player capable of playing MP3 and WMA discs.
As is normally the case with Denon, the machine has the feel of something that might still be around with the cockroaches should that nuclear bomb drop, with sturdy buttons and a rigid disc tray, plus solid, substantial speaker cabinets. The remote control's had a re-think too, looking smarter and cleaner than rivals' offerings.
But it's the sound quality that really has us marvelling. The Denon is capable of some serious weight and bottom-end power, but as a result, be careful where you put it or this could become over-bearing.
Much like the unit itself, the sound is solid and full-bodied, but at the same time never lacking attention to detail. Vocals are full of texture and dynamically it's capable too, delivering a broad soundstage that’ll push the sound into the corners your room.
Strong DAB and FM reception
The on-board tuners have strong signal reception, providing clear, detailed sound from DAB and FM, the latter especially delivering an authoritative, subtle delivery. Thanks to the remote, it’s intuitive and easy to navigate too,
So is it better than Onkyo's CS-515UK model at the same price? In a word, yes. But as you may already have read on the site, Onkyo has two new micro systems on the way, the £300 CS-525UKD (replacing the CS-515UK) and £200 CS-325UKD, so the competition is hotting up. We’ll bring you reviews as soon as they hit Stuff Towers.