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This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review
Denon AVR-S700W& Envaya Bluetooth Speaker Reviews
CLONES Audio 25p Power Amplifier Review
Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers Review
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Monday, 02 February 2009 ,  Written by Julianne Stilson
Audio Research Reference 3 Preamplifier
The Basics:Coming from audio equipment designer and manufacturer Audio Research, the Reference 3 Preamplifier is high-end, high-performance equipment whose internal components were designed from the ground up. This new design is characterized by an innovative, unique circuitry that features a tube-regulated power supply and uses four 6H30 twin triode tubes. This means the Reference 3 provides twice the energy storage than older models. As a result, this valve-powered, line-level preamplifier can offer some truly powerful capabilities.Its standout design includes a large, green vacuum-fluorescent display with enhanced functionally that surpasses LED readings in older models. A combination of text, numbers, and graphical scales deliver alerts like channel balance, tube life, volume, and more. In addition, the front panel is laid out cleanly with spring-loaded switches for input selection and volume on either side of the generous display. Below the display is ...
Saturday, 01 November 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Marantz AV8003 AV Preamplifier
The Basics The AV8003 signals Marantz’s re-emergence into the ultra-competitive AV separates market.  At $2,599, the AV8003 is one of the less expensive surround sound processors, positioned to attract those on the verge of buying separates or considering one of today’s uber-receivers, but who prioritize sound quality over bells and whistles.  Utilizing a separate processor and amplifier allows the user to improve the quality of equipment over that offered by most receivers.  An added benefit is that when the processing technologies change so much that a new processor is needed, you can still keep your amplifier.  This theoretically reduces the cost and waste associated with upgrading your equipment. The AV8003 is housed in an aesthetically pleasing chassis, with rounded corners and a clean front panel that features a large display window above a drop-down door.  The window is flanked by a pair ...
Friday, 01 August 2008 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Benchmark DAC1 PRE D/A Converter - Preamplifier
Introduction While most AV enthusiasts at the very high end of the market strive to achieve the best audiophile grade surround sound system, many of us still hold to the merits of two-channel audio for its breadth of content, ease of install, overall simplicity and pure sound.  Personally, my sources have evolved from LPs to CDs to the now-defunct DVD-Audio and SACD discs to the current full-resolution, uncompressed AIFF files stored on an Apple Mac Pro’s internal terabyte hard drive.  Thanks to the commercial death of the higher-resolution audiophile formats, I find myself more and more drawn to files on my computer for my dedicated theater and my audiophile system, as well as for my network devices.  This said, I am still an audiophile and the urge to make these CD quality files sound better is in my blood.  Enter the ...
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Denon AVP-A1HDCi AV Preamplifier
Introduction The AV world has undergone an unheard-of number of changes in the past few years and, while many companies have been slow to adapt, Denon just released an AV preamp more up-to-date and with more features than ever before imaginable. The new Denon AVP-A1HDCI is described as an “Ultra Reference 12-Channel A/V Home Theater/Multimedia Preamplifier with Network Streaming and Wi-Fi” and that just starts to define what this piece can do. The Denon AVP-A1HDCI is designed to be the hub of an advanced AV system and can easily control two independent home theaters or one with up to three accessory zones. This AV preamp offers any feature you could dream of and has more flexibility than a Cirque de Soleil contortionist. Retailing for an even $7,000, it aspires to be the last AV preamp you’ll ever buy. We started with composite ...
Sunday, 01 June 2008 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Anthem Statement D2 w Room Correction
IntroductionThe most frequently overlooked aspect of a great-sounding audiophile or dedicated home theater system is the room itself. No matter how good your components are, you can’t beat the physics of a badly designed and/or optimized room without a little help. While there are many devices to control reflections such as diffusers and bass traps, in the real world, most of us have our systems installed in multi-use rooms of our homes, like the living room, that are subject to significant wife acceptance factor. We can’t treat all the corners with traps and pad the walls. In fact, our wives would think we needed to live in padded rooms just for making the suggestion. Even in multi-use rooms, getting professional acoustical advice is always the best bet, but the cost, aesthetics and effort often leaves us looking for other, more ...
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