Panasonic SH-ALL1C networked audio streamer review
I have had the chance to live with the networked audio streamer from Panasonic called SH-ALL1C. The SH-ALL1C is a networked audio bridge which packs its own DAC (Digital Analogue Converter) and will let you include a range of speakers in your new multi-room system as well as slurping up sounds from your networked devices.
I am sure that you are all aware of at least one networked, multi-room audio solution and, chances are that it starts with Son and ends with os. So what has Panasonic come up with to make the ALL system different?
Like the other systems the ALL1C can connect wirelessly to compatible speakers placed around your home. This gives you the option to squirt different music to different rooms or you can whack them all in to ‘party mode’ which will have your home filled with the same music throughout. Granted, if you wanted to harsh someone’s mellow, you could always send your choice of extreme metal in to their smooth jazz chill out session 😉
The ALL1C is a compact little unit that measures 136 x 51 x 142 mm (WxHxD) and is covered in a leather-esque textured finish. Around the back is the power socket, left and right RCA, an Ethernet port and a digital out.
It’s typically well put together and just has enough to do the job. At the front there’s power, mode and WPS indicator lights and that’s pretty much it.
It does sit nicely with the other A/V equipment and doesn’t scream for attention. If you’re running short of real estate for your audio gadgets then you may be pleased to know that the ALL1C ships with a pair of stands so that you can sit the device upright.
The ALL1C connects up to your existing hi-fi via conventional RCA phono sockets. Simply plug it into the AUX socket, add it to your Wi-Fi network and you’re ready to enjoy wireless streaming on your home system. The ALL1C does not come with a remote control as you use your smartphone or tablet for those duties.
The Panasonic SH-ALL1C uses gold-plated audio connections and its in-built audiophile grade 192 kHz/24bit DAC for the highest quality signal conversion to your hi-fi. This means that when you’re streaming high quality music files you should still be getting top notch audio through the device in to your Hi-Fi.
As well as streaming from your music libraries, smartphone or tablet, you can also access Internet radio and Spotify.
The various components that you can add to the ALL system connect via Wi-Fi and are controlled though the Panasonic Music Streaming App but, as the ALL1C utilises Qualcomm ALLPlay, I’m pretty sure that it could be controlled by the ALLPlay app.
Being part of the ALLPlay family this also means that, should you already have some ALLPlay speakers, these can be seamlessly integrated in to your Panasonic ALL system.
As I mentioned before, the ALL1C is designed to give you multi-room features, such as independent control or all-speaker party playback, but also give you compatibility across brands, rather than being tied to one manufacturer. That means that you have more freedom for expanding your system in the future by adding any AllPlay device into the mix.
I did get the opportunity to listen to Panasonic’s ALL speakers whilst at IFA 2014 both individually and, when the dancers came out, all of them at once. They certainly sounded good in the demos but, until I get them in my flat, I can’t really say how they perform in this review. Knowing Panasonic though, and they do have Technics as part of their business after all, I am sure they’ll be pretty decent.
Even though I haven’t got any ALLPlay speakers I did use the ALL1C to stream from my phone, laptop and PC to my living room HiFi and I was suitably satisfied with the results.
Setting up the Panasonic SH-ALL1C was easy and the Music Stream app is clear and intuitive to navigate. The device itself has a quality finish and will not look out of place with the other bits of audio-visual tech you might have.
Unfortunately, as I do not own any ALLPlay compatible speakers nor were sent any with the unit, I feel like I have missed out on one of the main points of the SH-ALL1C. It does work extremely well as an audio streamer and, thanks in part to its DAC, the sound was great though my Hi-Fi.
The Panasonic SH-ALL1C retails around the £199 region and, in my opinion, should definitely be one to check out if you’re looking for a networked audio solution, especially if you don’t want to be hemmed in to one single brand.