The S-550i is the larger of two new integrated amps from Krell. Both of these amps feature circuit boards that utilize surface mount components. This means they can pack more power into smaller chassis than ever before. The S-550i is rated at 275 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and that doubles to 550 wpc into a 4 ohm load. This being from a box that is less than 6 inches tall. So now you can get tons of Krell goodness in a small package and at a very affordable price.
1983. The compact disc is introduced and record companies everywhere rejoice at the prospect of selling everyone worse sounding versions of music they already own. The universe, however, seeks a balance. The same year, Naim unleashes the first Nait integrated amplifier and the product category is never the same. The runtish, low-powered amplifier was controversial on many fronts, but its astonishing degree of musicality was never in dispute. The Naim Supernait 2 integrated amplifier does not deviate from their unique path that began more than three decades ago.
Suddenly the ESS SABRE DAC is showing up everywhere. At first it was only in high-end audio products like the Oppo BDP-95 and BDP-105 Blu-ray players. Now we have seen it in the Pioneer SC-79 receiver and in a pair of SSPs (Surround Sound Processors): The Krell Foundation and the Yamaha CX-A5000. From bench test numbers to listening tests, the SABRE offers up performance that is at the top of the DAC chain. Many of us just assumed we wouldn't see it in a processor or receiver due to the price. The Yamaha CX-A5000 11.1 SSP uses a pair of ESS SABRE 9016 DACs to support its 11 channels. A step down from the 9018, the SABRE should provide the Yamaha with superior jitter reduction, less tonal noise floor, and slightly greater dynamic range compared to the other DACs at its price. Is the rest of the CX-A5000 engineered around the SABRE up to the task?
The NAD HP50 is the latest headphone design from Paul Barton, founder of PSB, a sister company of NAD, and features a new trademarked concept called RoomFeel. RoomFeel attempts to recreate the sound of listening to high-end speakers in a room. Most listening rooms add a low frequency bump to the sound that is often not taken into account when designing headphones. A room gain compensation transfer function was developed to add a +3 dB per octave boost from 200Hz down to 50Hz in order to replicate the fuller, warmer sound of a room. Clearly a lot of time and engineering has gone into the development of these headphones, the only question is, did it pay off? Yes it most certainly did.
Horn speakers have been around nearly a century. They were used in movie theaters when the films became "talkies", and their advantage is that they are extremely efficient, which is good, because the power amplifiers in the theaters during the 1930's were very low powered. Linn Audio has built horn speakers for several decades, but most hi-fi enthusiasts may never have heard a horn speaker. They are characterized by wonderful, effortless midrange. The Linn Audio Athenaeum horn speakers are reviewed here.
Projectors are often described as having a "film-like" image. We are all trying to replicate that movie theater experience at home and so it seems that achieving that look is what we would strive for. The SIM2 SUPER LUMIS has shown me that in a modern projector; film-like is no longer what we want. All our sources now are pixel-perfect digital sources. Ideal projectors are razor-sharp and incredibly bright. We can focus down to a single pixel on the screen. Very little we see in the theater today is film sourced or projected from film, and nothing we watch at home is stored on film. So "film-like" is not what I'm after in a projector. What I'm after is something that shows me every last detail and imperfection in what I'm watching. A projector as true to the source as possible. With that in mind, the SIM2 SUPER LUMIS projector is a machine that is capable of doing just that. Powerful, precise, and utter revealing of everything it projects onto the screen.
Listening to my records one night, I received an email from Susan Johnson asking if I would be willing to review the Emotiva Stealth DC-1. Would I ever! Last year I tried the Emotiva USP-1 preamp and UPA-200 amp in my system and I have been very happy with the combination. Needless to say I was very curious to see and hear this reference piece from Emotiva.
Don't you often wonder why expensive televisions are sold with speakers that sound like they're made of tissue paper and powered by a cell phone? No matter what the price of the set, it always seems that sound quality receives little of the design budget. This results in predictable audio quality – tinny, prone to distortion, and adequate only for the most basic of dialogue. The good news is that there ARE alternatives! Pinnacle Speakers offers an array of high quality powered sound bars, surround speakers, subwoofers, and in-wall/in-ceiling speakers that can bring your television's sound to life!
The new "X" line of M&K Sound subwoofers consists of three models: the X8, X10, and X12. When asked how the new "X" line subwoofers were different from the previous generation, Claus Glaesner, President of M&K Sound USA, replied, "These subwoofers are a major step up in every way from our previous subwoofers. The build quality, driver quality, and sound quality represent a new reference level of subwoofer that was previously not available on the market."
Anthem's second-generation MRX receivers now offer more HDMI inputs, dual HDMI outputs, 4K upscaling and pass-through, faster HDMI switching and come in three models with the primary difference being the amount of amplification and number of channels. The entry level receiver is the MRX 310, which offers 80 watts per channel for 5.1 channels. The MRX 510 is the middle receiver in the MRX lineup and offers 100 watts per channel for 7.1 channels. The flagship model is the MRX 710, reviewed here, which offers 120 watts per channel for 7.1 channels. As for other differences between models, the MRX 710 and MRX 510 allow the front left and right speakers to be bi-amped. The MRX 710 and MRX 510 have seven rear and one front-panel HDMI input, while the MRX 310 has seven rear HDMI inputs. All three models support software updates via USB.
Marantz is one of the legendary names in audio and has remained a brand noted for high quality audio devices from power amplifiers to CD/SACD players, integrated amplifiers, home theater receivers and processors. The PM6005 integrated amp and CD6005 CD player are part of Marantz' Slim Line components and are updated versions of the PM 6004 integrated amplifier and CD 6004 CD player reviewed by Secrets' writer Jared Rachwalski in May, 2012.
Compared to mounting a flat panel TV, installing a projector is a pain. You need to get the screen perfectly level and flush with the wall. Then you have to mount the projector to precisely line up with the screen. It has to be perfectly parallel to the screen or you'll see distortion. Getting the projector perfectly level usually means lifting it up to make small adjustments to the feet, placing the projector down, and checking again. Since I review multiple projectors every year, I do this dance too many. By the time I get a projector perfect it's almost time to box it up and send it back to the company. The PJT40 projector mount from OmniMount is designed to make this easier than before and so I decided to install one in my home theater to find out.
The ADE-24.1 Analog Digital Enhancer is an accessory that has been around for a long time. It works at low voltage (e.g., RCA analog output from CD player, iPod, etc.) and manipulates the harmonics. I got one of these units at the California Audio Show and the demonstration definitely indicated that it could improve sound (make it sound more appealing, and widen the sound stage), so I decided to bench test it to see what it does.
In 2012, Sony produced my favorite projector of the year, the VPL-HW50ES. While many other projectors did certain things a little better, none has the combination of attributes that the HW50ES has. From movies to sports, bright rooms to dark, it managed to excel at everything I asked it to do. In 2013, we some improvements with the VPL-HW55ES, including longer lamp life, contrast ratio, and brightness.
The REL T-9 subwoofer is the largest sub in REL's "Serie T" line. It is a solidly built sub with a 10" Ultra Long Throw main driver, a 10" front-firing passive radiator and a 300 watt Class A/B plate amp. In keeping with REL innovation (and tradition), theT-9 has a number of flexible hook up schemes, the most unique being by way of the included high level hook-up cable.
I am probably in the minority now. I am still a dinosaur that watches almost all of their movies off of physical discs instead of streaming, downloads, or Pay-Per-View. I do watch plenty of streaming content, as it is convenient, but I can't bring myself to pay for an inferior quality product that I download compared to buying a disc at the store. Now after spending a month with the Kaleidescape Cinema One Media Server, I can see a future, one that is very close, where I won't buy a disc again. I see a reality where convenience and quality are not mutually exclusive. What does the Kaleidescape do that has managed to change my mind about this? A lot.
While Marantz was showing off their new AV7701 preamplifier at CEDIA 2012 last September, there were already quiet rumors at the show that something else was in the works. I remember being at the show wondering why Marantz wasn't showing any products with the latest Audyssey room correction while their partners over at Denon were offering new products with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 functionality. Just two months later, Marantz put the rumors to rest by officially announcing the AV8801 AV preamplifier/processor. The AV8801 features support for 11.2 channels and includes the latest Audyssey MultEQ XT32 processing. The AV8801 enters the market at a price point which is still well below the premium processors on the market while offering a wide array of functionality. Let's take a closer look at the features of the AV8801 and see how well Marantz's flagship processor performs.
Pass Labs recently introduced their new Xs Preamplifier and XS 300 Pure Class A (300 watts) monoblock power amplifiers. They are a completely new design compared to their previous components, and have a sound that is almost beyond description in words.
For the past decade, we've been hearing about a miraculous new technology called OLED that will reshape our lives. Both Samsung and LG now produce and sell OLED TVs, which cost around $10,000 retail - in both flat and curved form factors.
I've reviewed a lot of Blu-ray players now and don't often get surprised. So when I took the Toshiba BDX6400 out of its shipping box I was a bit taken aback. I knew it was coming, but I expected a standard size black box. Instead I found a tiny little player that's even smaller than a Nintendo Wii. The tiny size made me instantly attracted to the BDX6400. Blu-ray players can only output HD content over HDMI now, so there really is no reason every player is a large box. A smaller unit like the Toshiba BDX6400 still has every connection you likely need, but is easier to store away. So just how much does this little player manage to pack inside?