Published on October 29th, 2014 | by Greg0
Sherwood RX4508 Stereo Receiver: Living Color
Things have changed a lot since 1953. Electronics, especially, are radically different- from the advent and rapid improvement of wireless technologies to impressive lithium ion batteries. But, a bit surprisingly when you think about it, most home theater equipment has remained not only recognizable but essentially identical in function, shape, and size. DLP projectors are brighter than ever, and video game consoles, HD media streamers, and Blu Ray players are the newest sources, but home theater receivers are basically the same.
The Sherwood RX-4508 Stereo Receiver (link unavailable at press time) would be immediately understood by anyone stepping out of a time machine from 60 years ago, when the company was first founded. The glossy black is sleeker, and and the blue LEDs are suitably modern, but much of the rest feels very classic. For instance, you won’t find any new-fangled HDMI ports- or anything digital or optical, unfortunately. Instead, you’re getting an old-school set of quality components focused around dual analog inputs, a phono input and an AM/FM antenna input. It’s not built for video, just audio, and doesn’t offer Dolby this or 5.1 that, simply basic stereo output via the headphone front output or the two speaker wire outputs on the rear.
One thing that does set the RX-4508 apart from many others is the inclusion of the Bluetooth 3.0 protocol, which includes A2DP, AVRCP, and aptX protocols for high-quality and near-lossless streaming from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Connectivity is simple, and we had no issues with dropouts or noise- in fact, this is one of the better Bluetooth streaming receivers that we’ve seen. Stereo receivers are an audiophile’s world, and to that end, Sherwood used only discrete electronics, beefy capacitors, and a very large heat sink to offer a total of 100W of power across the two channels. The results are transparent, crystal clear, and very very clean, even driving challenging speakers. We loved the booming, brash quality in classical tracks like Stravinsky’s Firebird and the depth in Neil Diamond’s Gold, but found the preamp a little weak for analog use with our Sumiko Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (check out Musical Fidelity for our more expensive favorite)
The remote is a little too complex but good enough, and Sherwood gear has always held up well for us. And the price is pretty fair for a quality stereo receiver- it might seem at first glance a bit high compared to a traditional A/V receiver, but with dedicated key components, you’re getting a piece of equipment that won’t grow old. We did miss the digital output for use with a DAC, but audio lovers in need of a futuristic-looking but traditional-quality stereo receiver will like the Sherwood RX-4508, available soon for around $500.