Retro Panasonic speaker a heavy duty customer

With a lot of audio speakers sold today, one is unsure whether they are a piece of audio equipment or an objet d’art. Apart from coming in shapes more normally associated with cushions, they also can be matched to the colour of your wallpaper or contrast with your chaise longue.

Plum purple, pepper black and pineapple yellow are the colours available to the speaker that sits on my shelf at home – I have a circular “salty grey” offering (honestly).

The fact is that the iPod and iPhone, and yes I know it’s not just Apple that did it, has changed the way we listen to music and therefore the way we play music has changed. Speakers now do not need the all-encompassing accoutrements of high-fidelity power and machismo.

Back in the day the size of the separate stereo-stack with turntable, cassette decks, FM/AM radio, amplifier and the accompanying towers of audio violence were a sure sign of a healthy bank balance and a too-cool-for-school, devil-may-care, turn-it-up-to-11, rebel.

Not any more. Unless, that is, you decide Panasonic’s SC-CMAX5 is the trip back in time you need. This black, shiny, plastic speaker is reminiscent a simpler world when the larger the size of the speaker, the louder it was. The black – and they only came in black – deep, high, box was a sign of impending ear damage.

Not that this speaker is a Luddite, far from it. It offers all the digital connectivity you could want from USB ports, Bluetooth wireless technology and can also take a guitar, karaoke machine and a DJ jukebox. But it is very loud, probably louder than you will need unless your day job is in the artillery.

It does look like it was designed in 1982 apart from the neon light, which can be turned off, that issues from the front and bounces along to whatever music you are playing. This would be excellent if you were having a party outside in the dark. The volume is easily changed with a funky, stumpy, remote control and it has wheels which makes it sort of portable – because, just like the music it loves to play, this is heavy.

It’s a funky, retro, bit of kit which for Dh1,299 can be a perfect present for young and old.


Isaac Scott, 14, (Andrew Scott’s son) tested Panasonic’s SC-CMAX5 for the past week and runs through the experience

Was it better than other speakers you have used?

I’m used to far smaller speakers – I have 6 “ Beats Pill – which I thought was good till I heard this. Even on low volume the sound filled the room, whatever I was listening to wasn’t an issue. From a social media point of view, it’s great to Snapchat your mates a picture of a three foot high speaker sitting in your room.

Isn’t it too big for most houses – or bedrooms?

Yes. After the initial excitement it made me feel that you probably really only need it if you were having a party. The speakers I have already are perfectly suited for my room. It also looks very out of place when in our lounge, it is very masculine, very plastic and very obtrusive, even when its turned off.

Is it worth the money?

There are so many speakers on the market and they are very reasonably priced that you can buy a speaker that suits whatever need you have, most people won’t need this, obviously if you live in a nightclub, then maybe this the speaker you need. It is at a price that some will be able to buy and bring it out for your kids parties (hint).

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