equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review
Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier Review
KEF R700 Loudspeaker Review
Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC Review
Genesis G7c Loudspeakers
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Accessories (29) Acoustics, EQ & Room Tuning (14) AV Cables (12)
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Monday, 01 December 2003 ,  Written by Richard Elen
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro PC Sound Hardware
Introduction Despite its enormous name, the Audigy 2 is a worthy successor to the original Audigy and, in addition to prodigious capabilities aimed at the pro or semi-pro musician, it also is the first computer-based system to play DVD-Audio discs. The Audigy 2 ZS is a complete kit for Windows PC (there is no Macintosh version), incorporating an external I/O hub, audio card and accessories, which include a compact IR remote. The card fits into a PCI slot in the usual way, and you can also install the included joystick/MIDI bracket in an adjacent slot if you wish. The I/O box is the coolest (and most visible) part of the system, providing inputs and outputs, with the exception of speaker connections, for the system. The box is 7.75 inches by eight inches by 2.25 inches in size (WDH). It is linked to the installed card via a dual cable, one leg with special high-density ...
Sunday, 01 June 2003 ,  Written by Bryan Dailey
Nintendo GameCube Special Edition
Introduction Nintendo’s GameCube videogame system was launched in the United States back in November of 2001, so you may be asking yourself, “Why review it now in June of 2003?” When the system was originally launched, there were very few games and it was unclear as to whether Nintendo could even make a dent in the huge market share owned by Sony’s Playstation and Playstation II. There was also the fear that Microsoft’s Xbox could swallow up the entire videogame industry. Fast-forward to today and all three systems are still in production. The Xbox was not the 800-pound gorilla that many expected, Sony still leads the way and Nintendo’s GameCube has survived and prospered, thanks in part to many exclusive Nintendo franchise games not available on any other system. Now that the retail price of the GameCube is an even more reasonable $150 (down from $200) and I think the chances of seeing a ...
Thursday, 01 August 2002 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Introduction XM Satellite radio is one of the most exciting new technologies in the world of audio/video, with billions of Wall Street and privately raised dollars powering the first significant challenge to traditional terrestrial radio since FM took over from AM in the 1960s. With the unprecedented success of DirecTV satellite television as a model for success, XM radio has been rolled out this year, primarily in car audio environments, to impress music and entertainment enthusiasts. Being addicted to new AV toys and new cars, as well as being raised in a radio industry family, the lure of XM Satellite Radio was too much for me to resist, so when I sold off my 1997 BMW M3 for a 2002 Mercedes Benz ML500 SUV, I had an XM system installed within days. Since Mercedes seems to pride themselves on not adopting new ...
Thursday, 01 August 2002 ,  Written by Richard Elen
Outlaw Audio ICBM-1 Integrated Controlled Bass Manager
Introduction A look at Outlaw Audio's website makes it appear that the company's avowed specialty is audiophile quality at mass-market prices. If the ICBM-1 bass management system is anything to go by, they’re good at it. The unit costs a mere $249 and does a very important job very well for those who need bass management, as many readers are. But before we get a look at the unit itself, let’s consider bass management and why you probably don’t have something like this unit already. Modern digital audio distribution systems like DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD offer six channels of audio, all of which are full range – they can go from DC to somewhere like half the sample rate. Even a regular DVD-Video disc can handle full range audio on five out of the six channels: the “.1” in a 5.1 system is the so-called “Low Frequency Effects” or LFE channel. In the ...
Friday, 01 March 2002 ,  Written by Bryan Dailey
Microsoft Xbox
Introduction With a few exceptions, playing video games on a console has always been a more enjoyable experience than on a home computer. In the '80s, the simplicity of popping a game cartridge into an Atari 2600 or Intellivision and blasting aliens on the family television set hooked millions of Gen-Xers on technology. Personal computers soon found their way into homes around the world and computer games soon followed, but something just wasn’t right with them. The controllers were sub par, often requiring the player to control the onscreen action with a keyboard via the arrow keys. The computer speakers were all horrible, the monitors were too small and the systems would often lock up. When I heard that Microsoft was going to be putting out a Windows-based video game system called the Xbox, visions of the blue error screen of death (For all you Mac and Linux users, this is what you get ...
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