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Monday, 01 March 2004 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Canton Ergo 5.0 Speaker System
Introduction While it’s a fairly new name to the North American market, Canton has been producing high-end speakers in Germany since 1972, reportedly capturing an impressive 25 percent of the German market with its wide variety of speaker offerings. This review features the Canton Ergo RC-A’s at $5,000 per pair used as front main loudspeakers, Ergo CM502 center channel speaker at $800, and the Ergo 302s at $1,400 per pair for rear surrounds. The Ergo line being reviewed is more traditional then Canton’s more contemporary Karat line and is a step up from the LE and Movie series loudspeakers. Both lines share many of theme drivers and other components and the build quality is the same. I was asked by Canton to review this system without a separate subwoofer, using the powered woofers in the RC-A towers to handle the low end. Canton is a fairly large speaker company, with considerable research and development resources. ...
Monday, 01 December 2003 ,  Written by Richard Elen
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro PC Sound Hardware
Introduction Despite its enormous name, the Audigy 2 is a worthy successor to the original Audigy and, in addition to prodigious capabilities aimed at the pro or semi-pro musician, it also is the first computer-based system to play DVD-Audio discs. The Audigy 2 ZS is a complete kit for Windows PC (there is no Macintosh version), incorporating an external I/O hub, audio card and accessories, which include a compact IR remote. The card fits into a PCI slot in the usual way, and you can also install the included joystick/MIDI bracket in an adjacent slot if you wish. The I/O box is the coolest (and most visible) part of the system, providing inputs and outputs, with the exception of speaker connections, for the system. The box is 7.75 inches by eight inches by 2.25 inches in size (WDH). It is linked to the installed card via a dual cable, one leg with special high-density ...
Tuesday, 01 July 2003 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Crystal View 2 CRT Projector
Introduction Despite the advent of truly exciting digital projection technology in the past few years, there is still no denying that a “big gun” CRT video projector is the best source for a great-looking video image available on the market today. While digital projectors DLPs and D-ILAs are incredibly bright and appealingly small, an eight or nine-inch CRT projector still creates a picture that looks more like film. Someday, digital projectors may surpass the performance of a CRT, but if you are in the market for the best picture money can buy in 2003, you are likely shopping for a big-time CRT projector. There is a new kid on the block dedicated to absolute video performance with a special angle towards customer service. Crystal View was formed in 2002 to address the needs of the high-end video projection customer. Co-owners Gary Guidi (also owner of HI-REZ, one of the world’s largest and most respected projector ...
Thursday, 01 May 2003 ,  Written by Ed Masterson
Conrad Johnson Premier 18LS AV Preamplifier
Introduction Over the last 25 years, Conrad-Johnson has earned a reputation for its mastery of the art of tube-based amplifier design. Many of their amplifiers and preamplifiers have received considerable praise from music lovers and AV industry professionals alike. As a statement piece, Conrad-Johnson’s ultra-expensive ART preamplifier has earned its way into some of the world’s absolute finest music playback systems. Until now, if you wanted a reference quality preamplifier from CJ, you had no choice but to deal with the maintenance and cost associated with tubes. Conrad-Johnson has released a new solid-state preamplifier, the Premier 18LS, in an attempt to satisfy those in love with CJ’s sound who simply are not willing and/or able to deal with the unavoidable hassles associated with owning a high-performance tube component. At $3,495, the Premier 18LS is the least expensive preamplifier in the Premier series. Even so, CJ spared no expense. As with all of the Premier preamplifiers, CJ ...
Tuesday, 01 April 2003 ,  Written by Ed Masterson
Classé SSP 30 MKII AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction Classé Audio has been producing high-performance audio/video electronics for more than 20 years. From their factory in Quebec, Canada, they have produced gear that has arguably performed among the absolute best of its kind, oftentimes at a much-reduced price when compared directly to its competition. For many years, I used the Classe’ CA-150 amplifier in my reference system and have long respected Classé for both value, performance and their simple yet tasteful aesthetics and exceptional build quality. The SSP 30 MKII A/V preamp represents the entry level in preamplification and theater processing from Classé. The original SSP 30 had all of the latest features in theater processing at the time of its release. Since then, several new formats have been developed, so the SSP 30 needed a major update to stay competitive in this quickly evolving market. The SSP 30 MKII is currently available at a price of $3,000. With the MKII, in addition to ...
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