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This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Eastern Electric Mini Max Supreme DAC Review
DH Labs Mirage USB Cable Review
SOtM sHP-100 Headphone Amplifier & DSD DAC Review
Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amplifier & CD5005 CD Player Review
Musical Fidelity M6si Integrated Amplifier Review
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Home Theater Media Servers
Categories in section: Home Theater Media Servers
Home Theater/Media Center PCs (24) Music Servers (29) Satellite & Cable Receivers/PVRs/DVRs/TiVo (15)
Video Servers (4)

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Monday, 01 May 2006 ,  Written by Thomas Garcia
Qsonix Q100 Digital Music System
Introduction In the two decades since the Compact Disc (CD) was released, few can argue about the significant ways in which it has changed our habits in accessing and listening to music. Its durability, diminutive size and capability to be played universally in our homes, automobiles and portable players gave consumers the opportunity to take their tunes virtually anywhere. This had a phenomenal plus side over the previous dominant format, the vinyl LP, with its limited durability and restricted playback options. Unfortunately, the CD’s additional flexibility created the potential problem of having your music scattered throughout a multitude of listening environments and devices. Personally, I've struggled for years to keep all of my CDs organized and easily accessible. My collection has had a large amount of attrition due to lost and loaned discs, not to mention the mysteriously disappearing CDs that I keep buying repeatedly. As mentioned in a previous review, I have used computers to archive ...
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Escient Fireball SE-80 Music Server
Introduction Escient’s Fireball SE-80 is their latest entry-level music server offering. The SE-80 features an 80 GB hard drive, as well as an internal CD-RW drive, which can be used to load music onto the hard drive, create music discs from the music stored on the hard drive or as a CD player. Like the E2 and other Fireball units, the SE-80 also has a built in Internet radio receiver, file sharing and web server capabilities, all for the slim price of $995. The SE chassis and industrial design is consistent with the rest of the Escient family and measures 17-3/8 inches wide by four-and-five-eighths inches high and 11-7/8 inches deep. The chassis is finished in the same attractive brushed black aluminum as the E2 and other Fireballs. The front panel features a curved accent stripe, an oval CD drawer and a row of transport control buttons. The back panel of the SE is quite ...
Thursday, 01 December 2005 ,  Written by Bryan Dailey
Dish Network Dish Player 942 HD Satellite Receiver/PVR
Introduction For almost a year, I have enjoyed having the ability to record and play back high-definition programming from Dish Network on my Dish Player 921 satellite receiver/PVR combination machine. It has been a true workhorse, recording my favorite shows without fail, having virtually no downtime and other than the occasional lock-up that usually just requires a simple re-boot (these PVRs are essentially computers in an AV-like metal box), it has been a nearly flawless performer. It has powered my main home theater and has given me hundreds if not thousands of hours of HDTV viewing bliss, but something was seemingly missing. I recently cooked up the idea of adding a second television to my living room/kitchen area downstairs, but I didn’t want to have to install a second dedicated satellite receiver and PVR to control this TV. Enter the Dish Player 942 dual mode HDTV satellite receiver/PVR. Dish Network last year released an ingenious product ...
Tuesday, 01 November 2005 ,  Written by Thomas Garcia
Sonos ZonePlayer ZP100/ Controller CR100/ Loudspeaker SP100
Introduction Convergence is a terminology and process that seems to have permeated every facet of our daily experiences. Convergence technologies will eventually be ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives. So what is “convergence technology”? It all depends on the type of application. It includes, but is not limited to, the popular act of taking pictures with a cell phone or surfing the Web on a television. More sophisticated uses include wireless and wired voice and data transmissions, various forms of security, voice over IP and data networking technologies, all converging to create a seamless integration and solution for our personal and professional needs. Nowhere is this more evident than the merging of consumer electronics and personal computers. There are a plethora of companies that are providing unimaginable functionality that was science fiction a mere decade ago. One exciting new entry into the arena of personal computer and home music convergence is the Sonos Digital Music ...
Friday, 01 July 2005 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Escient Fireball E2-300 Music Server
Introduction The Fireball E2-300 is yet another high-tech solution from Escient to the ever-growing problem of media management. The E2-300 is a hard drive-based digital music manager with a large internal 300GB drive. It also serves as the brain or control center for up to 1200 compact discs in a daisy chain of players. The E2 controls CDs by managing up to three of Sony or Kenwood’s 400-disc changers, which can be routed through and switched by the E2. The E2 also has an internal CDR-W drive which can be used to load music onto the hard drive, create music discs from the music stored in or controlled by the E2, or even as a CD player. Like the other Fireball units, the E2 also has a built-in Internet radio receiver for more increasingly good music choices. The E2-300 retails for $3,999. The E2 is the same size as other units in the Fireball family, ...
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