Marantz muscles in on Arcam Solo

Marantz, purveyor of all things high-end in the land of hi-fi, has cooked up a shamelessly populist micro.Looking like it ate one too many power suppl

Marantz, purveyor of all things high-end in the land of hi-fi, has cooked up a shamelessly populist micro.

Looking like it ate one too many power supply units at the factory, the £350 CR601 makes for an obvious rival to the £1K Arcam Solo and the £235 Denon D-M35.

In addition to the CD player at its heart, Marantz's mainstream machine touts digital and analogue radio plus 60 watts of stereo amplification. The only missing part of the puzzle is a pair of bookshelf speakers.

Make no mistake, Marantz has finally caught up the 2005 Britain of IKEA and LLB. Flogging its new component sans speakers may be a cunning marketing trick to achieve the cheapish £350 price tag but it's also fairly practical. If you're ditching your old micro to get the DAB radio on this one, you can bring your old speakers along with you.

Better still, use the opportunity to treat yourself to a new pair of speakers from the likes of B&W, Monitor Audio or Mission. Since surround sound took off, good quality stereo speakers have become laughably affordable (we're working on the assumption that industry pricing trends make you giggle).

Other specs of note on the CR601 include a headphone socket, socket for a sub, 99 radio presets and some fancy new technology called MP3 CDs.

It's on sale now, though it's not yet on the Marantz website.