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AV Preamps (48) Stereo Preamps (37)

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Sunday, 01 October 2006 ,  Written by Tim Hart
Classé SSP-600 AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction The idea of having it all is something the world of audiophiles never seemed to understand. You could have the warmth of tubes, but not get the impact and power of a great solid state amp. Stereo preamps offered the best sound, but couldn’t control the increasing number of inputs, most of which also were attached to video components. From now on, no matter how hardcore an audiophile you are or may have been, I want you to know – after extensive testing, listening, watching and drooling, you can in fact have it all. Thus begins the review of the Classe SSP-600 Delta Series preamp/processor ($6,500), which offers even the most critical listener the ability to have the control and flexibility that you need to run, manage and enjoy the most sophisticated of today’s surround sound audio and home theater systems. The Classe SSP-600 is built with striking corners and the vertical black anodized ...
Monday, 01 May 2006 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Sherwood Newcastle P-965 AV Preamplifier
Introduction The Sherwood P-965 is a full-featured AV preamplifier that can serve as the centerpiece of a multi-room theater system without blowing even modest budgets. This piece is at the tops of the Sherwood Newcastle line and has just about every feature one could ask for in a high-end AV preamp, yet it is smartly designed to leave out many superfluous features that you don’t need but often pay for in more expensive components. The P-965 is priced at $1,495 and is indicative of Sherwood’s longtime philosophy of foregoing frills in order to keep its pricing competitive. When I received the P-965, I found it well packaged inside a box within a box. When I removed the box, I noted that the unit was standard in size at 17-and-three-eighths by seven-and-three-quarters inches by 17-and-three-quarters inches deep and weighed a respectable 26 pounds. The front panel was attractively finished in aluminum, with two large knobs that ...
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 ,  Written by Tim Hart
Linn Kisto System Controller
Introduction The proliferation of home theaters has been the driving force and market growth area for the audio industry for the last decade or so and has inspired the design of some really great gear for home theater components. As AV manufacturers gained more practical knowledge on how their products are used, the integration of audio and video control has gotten much better and far simpler to use. In the case of the preamp/processor, never has it been more critical that this component in your rig pull everything else together. It used to be that you wouldn’t dare run a video signal to anything other than your display for fear that it would be adulterated by the less than awe-inspiring video section of older preamps/processors. And if your audio requirements are for CD, DVD-Audio or SACD, are you always sure that the set-up for each format is correct? It’s not always obvious or straightforward. Audio ...
Sunday, 01 January 2006 ,  Written by Andrew Robinson
Outlaw Audio Model 970 AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction Comedian Dane Cook recently said, “More than sex, every man would rather be part of a heist.” While many of us will opt not to knock off our local Wells Fargo, we do still take a little pleasure in sticking it to the Man. Well, the folks over at Outlaw Audio wouldn’t want it any other way. For years, the men and women at Outlaw Audio have been designing and manufacturing world class home theater electronics and offering them direct to the consumer at low prices by selling them exclusively through their website. Don’t let the “Internet business” moniker fool you; they’ve earned countless awards, as well as a very loyal following from budget-minded consumers worldwide. Even though their products may cost less than the competition, don’t call them “budget” when it comes to performance. Now, with the release of their new 970 7.1 Pre/Processor and 7075 multi-channel amp, Outlaw is poised and ...
Sunday, 01 May 2005 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Meridian G68 Digital Surround Controller
Introduction There is no piece more important to your home theater than your AV preamp. It is the brains, the heart and the soul of your entire AV system. It’s your system’s interface, switching unit and arguably the piece of gear that is more responsible for the sound of your system than any other. If your surround controller is easy to use and sounds great, your system will sing – anything less than that and you could be riddled with frustration and/or stuck with sound that doesn’t meet the standards you should expect when making a significant investment in high-performance audio/video electronics. I have had most of today’s best surround preamps in my system and have determined that this is the area where you least want to short yourself. At first glance, all comparably-priced surround controllers appear similar, yet when you are able to live with them for an extended period, you’ll find specific likes ...
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