equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
SOtM sHP-100 Headphone Amplifier & DSD DAC Review
Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amplifier & CD5005 CD Player Review
Musical Fidelity M6si Integrated Amplifier Review
Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review
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Thursday, 01 May 2008 ,  Written by Andrew Robinson
Lexicon MC-12 HD Music and Cinema Processor
Introduction If you’ve contemplated building a home theater with the utmost performance in mind, you’ve no doubt considered the Harman International brand Lexicon. When it comes to outfitting true performance-based home theaters that rival some of the best movie houses in the business, Lexicon has to rest somewhere near the summit. No other brand, save maybe Genelec and JBL, has such a storied history in professional cinema and mastering applications as Lexicon. However, in recent years, rapid evolution surrounding video formats and connection options, mainly high-definition video and HDMI, have given companies like Lexicon a moment of pause. This has allowed large, mass-producing giants from Japan to muscle their way into the playing field and even briefly take it over. However, with the arrival of the Lexicon MC-12 HD processor, the once mighty king of home theater has returned and is ...
Thursday, 01 May 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
McIntosh Laboratory MX-136 AV Preamplifier
Introduction McIntosh has been nothing short of an American institution in the world of high-end audio for over 50 years. While McIntosh is best known for their stereo gear from the tube era, they have kept their line current with modern components such as music servers and multi-zone audio-video preamps, or “controllers,” as McIntosh calls them. McIntosh’s newest such controller is their MX-136, which at $9,500 (as configured with TM-1 tuner) occupies the top position in the tier of McIntosh AV preamps. Opening the MX-136, I found that McIntosh eschewed trendiness in favor of tradition. While most of the new A/V preamps I have seen at recent trade shows are small to medium in size, with either TFT screens or multi–line LCD and rows of same-sized buttons. The MX-136 is a full-sized unit with a nine-inch-tall by 17-and-three-quarter-inch-wide faceplate on an 18-and-three-quarter-inch-deep ...
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 ,  Written by Andrew Robinson
Integra DTC 9.8 AV Preamp/Processor
Introduction High-end home theater processors are quickly becoming the hot topic amongst home theater enthusiasts, and not because they’re the best. No. Home theater processors, the once-touted peak of all things audio/video, have taken a hit in recent years, largely due to the ever-changing HD landscape and a little thing called HDMI. When HD was in its infancy, component cable was king and 720p/1080i seemed to be the best anyone could hope for – for a while, it was. Even when 1080p reared its head, it took some time before it became the norm. However, the HDMI cable inevitably became the chink in HD’s armor, causing massive amounts of confusion and frustration among manufacturers and consumers alike, forcing many high-end brands to simply wait out the storm. It was during this time that many larger, mid-fi foreign brands took up the ...
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 ,  Written by Matthew Evert
Outlaw Audio Model 990 AV Preamplifier
Introduction A growing trend in high-value audio video retail sales is to actually remove the physical retail store from the buying process. In recent years, speaker companies like Aperion and Orb Audio have made headway against the brick and mortar entrenched brands, leaving their customers with a glowing feeling when they open the boxes to realize just how much speaker they got for the money. On the electronics side, Outlaw Audio has become an AVRev.com staff favorite, with their powerful yet affordable amps, truly competitive subwoofers, feature-packed receivers and, in the case of this review, a $999 flagship AV preamp that comes loaded with many of the latest bells and whistles found on state of the art AV preamps, at one-tenth the price. Among factors tempting consumers to buy are an in-home 30-day guarantee, a five-year warranty, 800-number tech support and ...
Thursday, 01 March 2007 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Sunfire Theater Grand Processor V
Introduction Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I pull out all the stops by fully decorating the house, buying enough candy to put a normally healthy adult into diabetic shock and generally reveling in the fun of dispensing goodies to those in need. It is possible Bob Carver felt the same emotions when he designed the Sunfire Theater Grand Processor 5. Available in a black or silver finish, the TGP-5 is designed to be the hub of a high-end, high-performance home theater, providing all the flexibility and connections you could need. Offering HDMI switching, video transcoding, an integrated AM/FM tuner, the ability to handle seemingly any surround sound format and direct stereo bypass for two-channel listening, as well as extensive options for controlling an independent second zone, few processors in the world of home theater offer what this one does, especially for its modest retail price of $3,499. The TGP-5 provides both single-ended and balanced outputs ...
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