Not everyone has room or budget for an extensive home cinema system and some people even prefer a small hi-fi system with good sound quality. The system we are reviewing in this review is the Panasonic SC-PMX100, an all-in-one micro hi-fi system that gives you access to all your digital and physical music.
The Panasonic SC-PMX100 is a micro hi-fi system, but if we look at the possibilities it is actually just a complete audio installation. The system itself has more than enough options to display your music but you can also easily connect a (different) AllPlay speaker from Panasonic to make your music sound throughout the house. You can connect other audio devices and speakers from the ALL connected audio series, such as the SC-ALL5CD, to the SC-PMX100 and then access the music via the Panasonic Music Streaming app throughout the house. The app is also compatible with various online content providers such as Spotify, Napster, Aupeo! and TuneIn. In this review, however, we only look at the base station; the SC-PMX100.
As said, this system is full of options to display your audio wirelessly and with cable, even in high resolution. You can stream music via bluetooth, you can connect a PC via USB, you can stream music via Airplay, you have access to streaming services like Spotify and Napster, you can play audio files via a USB storage medium and high-resolution audio can also be played via a computer (USB DAC) or DLNA. The system supports MP3, AIFF, FLAC, WAV and AAC files. But that is not all because via DAB + you have access to digital radio stations, there is access to the traditional FM and AM channels and your CD collection can be stored in the CD tray. An external device can be connected via the auxiliary input and if WiFi is not an option you can use the LAN connection.
The hi-fi system is equipped with the new Panasonic digital amplification solution. The latest version of this technology includes LincsD-Amp of the third generation, Virtual Battery Power Supply and Variable Gain Digital Amp (VGDA). The latter corrects problems such as jitter and noise from the power supply, which can often disturb the playing of digital music. Panasonic has developed new three-way loudspeakers, which best serve the new amplification technology and the 120W output power of the models. The Super Sonic Tweeter of the SC-PMX100 reproduces audio up to 100 kHz.
The speakers of the SC-PMX100 have a light, sturdy Bamboo Plant Opal woofer measuring 14 cm. The material corrects vibrations, to reduce unwanted echoes and to reproduce the sound as the artist intended. The woofer of the SC-PMX70 uses Bamboo charcoal with precise cutouts, which should reduce resonance. The SC-PMX100 has a high quality front panel, a sound button made of aluminum and an aluminum top panel.
SC-PMX100 – specifications:
- Compatible with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with NFC
- Apple AirPlay
- Qualcomm AllPlay to use the ALL connected audio series from Panasonic in multiple rooms
- Compatible with popular streaming services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Napster, TuneIn, Aupeo !, DoubleTwist
- Compatible with DLNA
- DAB + and CD player
- High resolution display – USB memory, USB DAC and DLNA
- Super Sonic Tweeter of 100 kHZ
- Lincs D-Amp of the third generation
- Output power: 120 W
- Advice price of 549.95 euros
Panasonic SC-PMX100 installation
The SC-PMX100 is a micro hi-fi system and that is why the installation is not very complicated. You have to deal with a main unit and two speakers, and all necessary cables to start are supplied. You can place the system almost anywhere in the house, though the speaker cables and the power cable are not very long. The system must therefore be close to the power supply and the speakers can not be located more than 1 meter from the main unit.
Since there are many wireless options on the system, you do not actually have to do much. You decide in advance how you want to stream your favorite music and set the device for it. What you have to do in advance is download the Panasonic Music Streaming app from the Play Store or App Store. This gives you access to all streaming services, connected speakers and music from your own network.
The system feels very high-quality, mainly due to the use of aluminum in the main unit and the sturdy and heavy speaker cabinets. Everything is neatly finished and provided with clear indications to get you started quickly. On top of the main unit there is also an NFC spot. Hold your NFC-equipped smartphone against this and a bluetooth connection is made immediately.
Panasonic SC-PMX100 – use
With so many possibilities, connections and options you would think that you can not see the forest through the trees, but that is not so bad. Choose the options you want to use for music playback and you can get started. However, it is advisable to first connect the SC-PMX100 to your home network (WiFi). This is fairly easy when you go through the steps in the manual and use your smartphone for this. Within minutes the system is connected via Wi-Fi and you get access to for example Spotify and your NAS via the Music Streaming app. You also get the message immediately via the app that a software update is available so that your system runs on the latest software.
Of course, Bluetooth is also present so that you can pair your smartphone or tablet and stream music, for example from Spotify, to the speaker. Linking is quick and easy; press the Bluetooth button on the main unit, turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet and connect both devices from the Bluetooth settings on your mobile device. This works fine and then you can easily stream music to a distance of about 7-8 meters. AirPlay is another option and it automatically appears on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, for example, when the system is connected to your home network.
With an all-in-one system like this, it is almost impossible for the use to be very simple. The manual is concise and quite simply lists all the options that you have. A compact remote control is also included with which all functions can be operated, which are indicated by a LED display on the front. This display is not very advanced but provides sufficient information to immediately know where you are or what you need to do.
The Panasonic Music Streaming app is still worth mentioning. The app itself does not look very special and simply offers access to a number of functions. You can access streaming services like Spotify and Napster, but if you are a Spotify user, you can also stream music directly via the Spotify app (with Spotify Connect). However, you do need the app if you want to select and play music from your home network. Fortunately, that goes pretty smoothly and quickly, but the interface is a bit stiff and old-fashioned. In addition, there are some minimal setting possibilities for speakers connected via AllPlay and streaming services to be displayed. It is that you need the app but otherwise it invites little to frequent use.
Panasonic SC-PMX100 – quality
What it is all about is of course the quality of the sound that is delivered. With all options and possibilities, a suggested retail price of 550 euros can be a bit justified but as soon as the volume goes up it should also sound like a high-quality system. Now that is of course also relatively but Panasonic shows with the SC-PM100 for sure that for 550 euros an above average good audio quality.
The system is of a small size but in that compact housing everything is needed to show your music with conviction and dynamism. The speakers offer more than enough low to feel the bass in your stomach, provide crystal clear highs while maintaining subtle details and create warm sounds in the middle segment that give a bit of extra dynamics and life to many music pieces. There is actually very little to complain about the audio reproduction because even at high volume this system knows how to keep itself perfectly standing and can therefore also provide a large living room with music. The setting options for audio playback are not particularly advanced and surround mode offers only a slightly wider sound field but apart from that you get an impressive display in which subtle details are convincingly displayed.
With the use of high-resolution audio, via FLAC files via the PC or USB, the story is no different. These audio files come into their own, especially through the convincing range and being able to distinguish the different sounds and instruments. Music actually comes to life more than with an average home cinema or soundbar system and so this is definitely a better solution for music lovers. With a correct placement of the speakers you get the idea to sit in the first row of a concert or close to the artist in the recording room and let this be the intention of high resolution audio. Looking at the price of 550 euros, we are very impressed here.
Panasonic SC-PMX100 – conclusion
If we add everything together, only one judgment is actually possible; for a suggested retail price of 550 euros (for sale for just under 500 euros) you get a complete micro hi-fi system that can cover almost all your needs. There is no source that can not be connected wirelessly or with a cable, the use is not too difficult, the finish is high quality and the audio quality is above average good. Even after a long search, we can not find a real big disadvantage of this system, except that you pay a little more than for a simple soundbar or a simple home cinema system. But, for quality must be paid.