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Categories in section: Home Theater Preamplifiers
AV Preamps (48) Stereo Preamps (38)

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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 ...
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, 08 April 2008 ,  Written by AVRev.com
Conrad Johnson CT6 Composite Triode Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Conrad Johnson is one of most well-known and respected names in the world of tubed audio gear. The CT6 preamplifier reviewed here is the result of trickle-down technology from the company’s famous ACT preamplifier, which itself descends from the legendary ART preamplifier. At $5,000, it is roughly a third of the price of the current ACT II preamplifier that shares its composite triode circuit design. For those of you interested in a technical description of this circuit, I recommend a look at the Conrad Johnson website, which provides more information on this circuit design. The Upside Turning on the CT6, I was surprised by the long wait for the unit to warm up, during which no control input is accepted.  I quickly learned to simply leave the unit on and muted in between a day’s listening sessions.
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 ...
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