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

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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 ...
Friday, 01 April 2005 ,  Written by Tim Hart
Anthem AVM 30 AV Preamplifier
Introduction For decades, manufacturers have produced high-end stereo components that deliver music playback so real that you can practically reach out and touch your favorite musician. Although home theatres with multi-channel surround systems have been commonplace since the early 1990s, there have been few options for the ultimate level in multi-channel reproduction. Such systems came at a price that invoked shrieks from even the wealthiest consumers. Many are familiar with the likes of the Mark Levinson No. 40, priced at over $30,000 and the Meridian G68 and Reference 861, at $8,000 and $20,000 respectively, just to mention a few. In the growing group of sub-$5,000 processors, can the Anthem AVM30 bring on the highest level of performance at a fraction of the cost of these mega-processors? One glance at the feature list and the $3,000 price tag tells me the Anthem AVM30 preamp/processor/tuner may well be the brightest contender on the price and performance landscape. This ...
Monday, 01 November 2004 ,  Written by Christopher Zell, Ph.D.
Anthem Statement D1 AV Preamplifier
Introduction There are a variety of corporate philosophies among audio component manufacturers, from the budget end with gobs of features and extras, usually at the expense of sonics, through those with bare bones features and somewhat utilitarian cosmetics, focusing on quality, sound and value. At the extreme opposite end of the spectrum are the manufacturers who design and offer components without cost as a primary concern. Anthem, which is part of Sonic Frontiers International under the Paradigm Corporation, has historically placed itself in an interesting position between these two philosophies. They have earned a reputation for excellent sonics at relatively affordable price points positioned well below the absolute high end. Typically, they have not reduced their feature set in the process and have gone one step further in their new Statement series of electronics. The Statement component line is designed to compete toe-to-toe with anything else on the market, regardless of price. In fact, Anthem welcomes ...
Friday, 01 October 2004 ,  Written by Tim Hart
Sunfire Theater Grand IV AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction Technology for home theater preamp/processors and receivers is fairly mature now that the addition of new surround sound formats has settled down somewhat. The risk of buying a preamp/processor that doesn’t have the latest decoding scheme has definitely diminished. At a certain price point, most components have all of the necessary capabilities to handle the different surround sound and high-resolution formats. The surround sound speaker format discussion, i.e., how many channels do we really need, has seemingly run its course. There was a time when DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX clouded the consumer’s view as to which processing option was best, as well as raising the question of how best to enjoy it. These two options have been around long enough that most savvy consumers understand what they represent. Then another question was which high resolution format was going to be the clear winner: SACD or DVD-Audio? Well, the equipment manufacturers settled that by providing ...
Saturday, 01 May 2004 ,  Written by Bryan Dailey
Adcom GTP-880 AV Preamplifier
Introduction Value-oriented high end - this is how Adcom has long branded their products and their latest series of home theater separates is no exception. Built to be a perfect match for the recently reviewed Adcom GDV-850 progressive scan DVD-Audio/Video player, Adcom’s new GTP-880 7.1 preamp/tuner is chock full of goodies and very competitively priced at $2,400. Features including multiple 5.1 analog inputs, six assignable digital inputs, “Pure Path” component video switching featuring three inputs and one output via BNC connectors with 100MHz of bandwidth for high-definition sources and Adcom’s proprietary 7.1m2 algorithm, to name just a few. This is a serious piece of AV gear, yet simple enough for almost any user to set up and operate. The GTP-880 has a fit and finish that is as beautiful as the Adcom GDV-850 DVD player. The two are so similar that they might be mistaken for one large component when stacked on top of each ...
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