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AV Preamps (48) Stereo Preamps (35)

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Monday, 01 April 2002 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Mark Levinson No. 32 Reference Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction When Mark Levinson announced they would be introducing a $16,000 preamp ($18,500 with the phono section) there was a group of long time loyalists who scurried to authorized dealers to put down deposits while other audiophiles and music enthusiasts simply shook their heads in amazement. $16,000 is a lot of money for a preamp even for the first “Reference” preamp from Mark Levinson. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t just a bit curious as to what Madrigal could do if cost was no object and with the No. 32 clearly cost isn’t the concern – performance is. With time and dramatic changes to my music system, the need (OK you can call it a lust) for a reference preamp became evident. I arranged for a review sample and then the fun began. After unpacking, careful inspection revealed a beautifully designed and assembled product. The No. 32 looks great with its twenty first ...
Friday, 01 March 2002 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Anthem AVM 20 AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction It was only a few years ago that a great separation was drawn between those who indulged in the passions of music reproduction, and those with a passion for video and movies. Rarely did the hardware for the two combine at a level of ultimate performance. The new millennium has ushered in a whole new breed of consumer electronics enthusiasts, passionate about watching movies or listening to music, but also enjoying the prodigious world of complete home entertainment including video games, music in multiple formats and more. At the core of any multi-channel audio/video system is the Surround Sound Processor (SSP) or AV preamp, responsible for providing digital signal processing for multi-channel movies, music and games. The Anthem AVM20 is a high-performance Surround Sound processor, preamplifier and tuner that retails for a competitively priced $3,199, available in either silver or black finished front plates. The most typical configuration for surround processing comes in the form ...
Thursday, 01 November 2001 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Adcom GTP-830 AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction The GTP-830 ($1,200) is the latest home theater processor from Adcom, and their first to offer 7.1 processing. The GTP-830 surprisingly features a RDS (Radio Data Systems) AM/FM tuner in addition to its preamplifier and processor section. The preamplifier-processor section of the unit has five video inputs (three with S-video), a CD input and a tape loop. There are also three digital inputs, one toslink and two coaxial, which are linked to the first three video inputs. Lastly, there is also a 5.1 input for multi-channel SACD or DVD-Audio. The Adcom comes with a variant of the Theatermaster learning remote and also features a 12v trigger to aid in integrating with the rest of your theater system. The Adcom is a full-featured processor with both Dolby Digital and DTS capabilities. 24-bit 96kHz digital to analog converters are used throughout as well as true 24-bit signal processing for sources at that level of resolution. The 5.1 input ...
Sunday, 01 July 2001 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Conrad Johnson Premier 17 LS Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Many audio/video enthusiasts find themselves in a position where their desire for the ultimate A/V system exceeds their actual budget, finding themselves perhaps an inheritance or two short of the money to actually purchase their "perfect system." For those of us in this category, we must carefully build our ultimate systems one piece at a time. There has long been debate as to which product is best suited to build your system around. If you don’t have a good power amplifier, you likely can’t build your system around the speakers, as your dream speakers might need more and better power. I don’t think anyone would dispute the validity of building your system around your source equipment, such as a CD player, but with imminent change to the digital format (DVD-Audio, SACD), this might not be your best option right now. What the next digital format will be is anybody’s guess. In my opinion, ...
Thursday, 01 February 2001 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
B&K Reference 30 AV Preamplifier
Introduction The B&K Reference 30 ($2,800) is the replacement to the Reference 20 reviewed on AudioRevolution.com in 2000. The Reference 30 incorporates the features of the Reference 20 and expands upon them, this article will focus mainly on the differences between the two units. Features new to the Reference 30 include THX and THX EX processing, 5.1 inputs, 7.1 outputs, 96k/24bit A/D and D/A converters and processing, selectable subwoofer crossover frequency and slope, room equalization and last but not least, a IEEE 1394 port. The IEEE 1394 port will need a controller upgrade to become operational and I expect that soon after the IEEE 1394 standards are implemented B&K will provide the upgrade. The Asaho-Kasei 192 kHz 24 bit ADC’s and DAC’s share the same pin format with their 192 kHz 24 bit counterparts allowing for an easy upgrade path after the new 192 kHz 24 bit standards are implemented. Setting up the Reference 30 ...
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