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Audio Player Reviews

Cambridge Audio 840 Series CD Player, Stereo Preamplifier, and Stereo Power Amplifier

Cambridge Audio 840 Series

My wife, who I affectionately refer to as "the music Anti-Christ" often calls me "He without Brains" when it comes to purchasing audio gear. Our latest interchange of pleasantries began when I announced that I needed a new CD player in the $1500 to $2000 range.  She found one at Costco for considerably less than a hundred bucks and thought I would be very pleased.  "You just don't get it" I said, to which she replied "Neither will you".  I think she meant it in so many ways.

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Marantz SA-7S1 SACD Player

Marantz SA-7S1 SACD Player

Marantz has been a renown audio company for a better part of the 20th century. Although it changed hands several times over the years, the quality never wavered from being superb. The average consumer these days may think of mass market receivers when the name Marantz is mentioned, but they also build some of the best high performance products in the consumer arena. The SA-7S1 is Marantz' top-of-the-line SACD player. It is fully balanced throughout - thus having XLR outputs along with the standard RCA unbalanced outputs - and has some of the lowest distortion bench test results I have ever measured. It sounds as smooth as satin whether playing SACDs or standard "old fashioned" CDs, and is built to make sturdy equipment racks creak when you place it on the shelf. Last, but not least, it is beautiful to look at whether it is playing or not.

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DViCO TViX HD M6500A Media Streamer

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I found both video and audio quality of the TViX M6500A to be exceptional, and over the last few months, some of the firmware updates have already made this unit significantly more stable and better than its previous versions. Given that DViCO has been quite adamant in providing support for existing products and continually improving them, I have no doubt they will succeed in turning this unit into an ever more powerful item over the upcoming months.

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NAD C565BEE CD Player

NAD C565BEE CD Player

I well remember the day I got my first NAD product back in the 70's. I have long since forgotten the model number, but it was a stereo receiver. I remember listening to it and thinking how great it sounded compare to the old Marantz it was replacing. I knew back then that moving up to the NAD meant that I was no longer just listening to tunes. I had moved up into the realm of being a lover of music, an audiophile.

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HD Digitech HDX900 HDTV Media Streamer

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The HDX900 is an HDTV streamer based on the Network Media Tank (NMT) middleware platform by Syabas. If you don't know what a streamer is yet, think of the AppleTV but without any of the Apple restrictions. Consider a player that will play all of your movies, in file format, including Blu-ray, DVDs, or any popular format you might have on your computer hard drive, as well as pictures and audio, but doesn't require you to pay a monthly iTunes bill.

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Earthquake Sound iQuake IQ-52B iPod Dock

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There are plenty of iPod Docks out there for you to plug in your iPod and listen to your music using speakers instead of earphones. Some of them are very inexpensive and others somewhat more, but what sets the Earthquake Sound iQuake IQ-52B apart from the rest are its sound quality and features. Read our review to see how flexible this little package really is.

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mStation 2.1 iPod Dock Amplified Tower Speaker System

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The mStation 2.1 tower is an all in one solution for taking your iPod music out of your ears and into your room. The tower consists of one down firing 5.25" woofer, and two speaker modules with 2 – 2" midrange and 1 – 1" tweeter per speaker. There is a docking station a USB port and a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo miniplug jack. All in a four foot tall, 14" wide aluminum tower.

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Focal XS 2.1 iPod Amplified Speaker Dock

Focal XS 2.1 iPod Dock

The past seven years has seen rapid proliferation of the iPod dock market. Unfortunately, while many of the products have succeeded in following the Apple aesthetic, rarely is there substance behind the flash. Is the entry by Focal merely more eye candy or is there something more compelling? The XS 2.1 distinguishes itself by offering something beyond your typical iPod speaker dock.

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Qsonix Q110 Media Server

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The Qsonix Q110 is a media server meant to be put in by a custom installer, but you can do it yourself because it is very easy to work with. It has a 250 GB hard drive that will hold hundreds of CDs in lossless compression format and serves four zones simultaneously. The user interface is a dream and employs a touchscreen that has drag and drop functionality, using your finger to bring music into the que for playback.

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ISTAR Mini Network Media Tank

ISTAR Media Tank

Every now and then you run into a product you are so impressed with you just have to share.  The ISTAR Mini Network Media Tank is one of those products.  By all accounts the product is another media extender set top box that you plug into your TV that plays video, music and photos from an attached hard drive or home network.  There are lots of these products on the market.

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Microsoft Zune 80GB Portable Music Player

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The portable music player (PMP) or digital audio player (DAP) market is evolving in a major way. Many DAPs are actually better described as personal media players or PMPs, with as much focus on functionality in video and additional features as the core audio performance. Another major paradigm shift is the move to flash memory based devices, and correspondingly…away from hard drives, but for some users, flash still doesn't offer the needed storage capacity.

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