Sony has unveiled two impressive pieces of home audio equipment at its spring press event in Rhodes. The Giga Juke HDD Hi-Fi Audio is the umbrella name given to the two new products -- the NAS-50HDE, which is an 80GB hard-disk-based hi-fi system; and the NAC-HD1E, which is a 250GB hard disk based hi-fi deck.
The NAS-50HDE (pictured, top) looks like a conventionally designed modern hi-fi system, but it holds an enticing secret. More specifically, it holds an 80GB hard disk drive and is capable of ripping, organising and managing your entire CD collection in glorious quality and without using a PC. Not only that, us lucky Brits get a DAB digital radio built in too, which the system can record to MP3.
A giant, high-resolution colour LCD screen allows management of your library, the intelligent 'Auto Title Labelling' system adds track info into ripped albums and two 85W speakers pummel your living room with radiant melodies. It's also possible to rip audio to the hard disk from an analogue source such as vinyl or cassette, via the auxiliary input.
The NAC-HD1E (pictured, bottom) is a hi-fi CD deck system with a built-in 250GB hard disk. Fundamentally it functions like the NAS-50HDE, but it's designed to smoothly fit into an existing hi-fi system. With over three times the capacity of the 50HDE, this is a system that's designed to be a central, networked music hub. Extra technological provisions are in place to help achieve a superior audio reproduction, such as an EI core power transformer, 24bit/192kHz digital-audio converter, separate power circuitry for audio and a damper to isolate the hard disk.
Both of these two new systems are standalone music jukeboxes, but Sony says together they're "the perfect partner for today’s digital lifestyles". They're also fully compatible for music synchronisation with Sony MP3 Walkmans and the PlayStation Portable. The NAS-50HDE will be available from May; the NAC-HD1E from June. Pre-orders will soon be available at Sony's Web site, and Sony told us the 50HDE will be around £500, and the HD1E will set you back about £700. -NL
Update: a Sony Giga Juke NAS-50HDE review is now on the site