Hermstedt Hifidelio

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Hermstedt Hifidelio
  • Hermstedt Hifidelio
  • Hermstedt Hifidelio
  • Hermstedt Hifidelio

Pros

  • Stunning industrial design, easy to use, flexible

Cons

  • Expensive, hard disk only 80GB

Bottom Line

Although the Hifidelio offers excellent sound and a range of useful features, it's extremely pricey--especially considering its limited storage capacity.

Would you buy this?

Hermstedt's Hifidelio is an impressive music hub, but it includes a number of other features that raise its usefulness above and beyond a mere hard disk with smart software and some output jacks. For starters, it's a four-port wireless access point with WEP encryption. It's also a ripper, a burner and music hub all rolled into the one sleek, lounge-room-friendly unit measuring 44 x 9 x 29cm and weighing 6kg.

The machine is designed to sit in the middle of a home network--either wired or wireless--and handle ripping music from CD then sharing the music with the computers on the network or playing it back on a home stereo. You can manage the machine remotely via a Web browser, but it's also compatible with iTunes.

The back panel features four Ethernet ports, a Wi-Fi antenna and a pair of USB 2.0 sockets. RCA audio connectors are provided as both outputs and inputs, along with digital out and S/PDIF interfaces for connection to a home stereo system. The front panel includes a headphone socket and a small backlit screen that displays song information and aids navigation. The remote control provides access to playback and song naming.

The Hifidelio features a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive along with an 80GB hard disk, and it's even possible to burn mixed albums back to disc if desired. The machine includes a rich song database internally and can recognise most discs immediately. If not, it looks up CD information on the Internet from freedb.org when you insert a disc. This greatly streamlines ripping, as it negates the need to enter each artist name and track title manually. You can rip music to MP3, MP3 VBR, RAW or FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), and the range of supported playback formats is equally impressive: AAC, WMA, MP3, RAW, OGG and FLAC. Sound quality is, naturally, astounding.

The two USB ports at the rear of the machine allow you to attach MP3 players, a keyboard, or an external hard disk for backup. Handy extra features include UPnP support and the ability to sync with an iPod or rip directly from tape or LP via the rear RCA inputs. Although the Hifidelio is a high-quality machine that performs well, it's extremely hard to justify the high asking price--especially for only 80GB of storage.

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