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Monday, 01 December 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Marantz MM8003 Power Amplifier
Introduction When I first heard that the MM8003, the companion piece to Marantz’s new audio/video processor, the recently reviewed AV8003, was going to be a 8 channel amplifier I thought it was kind of strange. Now that it is here I see that the 8 channel idea was well thought out. A 8 channel amplifier can power an entire 7.1 system with a passive amplifier such as those found in many in-wall systems; four separate stereo systems; a 5.1 system with the left, center and right speakers bi-amped or the mostly likely use, powering a 5.1 system in one zone and a stereo system in another zone. Each of the MM8003’s 8 channels is rated at 140 watts with less than .08 percent total harmonic distortion with a signal to noise ratio of 105dB. The power supply providing the juice for ...
Saturday, 01 November 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Marantz AV8003 AV Preamplifier
The Basics The AV8003 signals Marantz’s re-emergence into the ultra-competitive AV separates market.  At $2,599, the AV8003 is one of the less expensive surround sound processors, positioned to attract those on the verge of buying separates or considering one of today’s uber-receivers, but who prioritize sound quality over bells and whistles.  Utilizing a separate processor and amplifier allows the user to improve the quality of equipment over that offered by most receivers.  An added benefit is that when the processing technologies change so much that a new processor is needed, you can still keep your amplifier.  This theoretically reduces the cost and waste associated with upgrading your equipment. The AV8003 is housed in an aesthetically pleasing chassis, with rounded corners and a clean front panel that features a large display window above a drop-down door.  The window is flanked by a pair ...
Wednesday, 01 October 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Marantz VP-11S2 DLP Video Projector
Introduction Within the past year, there has been a large leap forward in DLP front-projector technology, which has thankfully been accompanied by a noticeable reduction in price.  Marantz, well known for manufacturing topnotch gear, has been at the forefront of this evolution with their VP-11S1, VP-15S1 and now their VP-11S2 projectors.  The VP-11S2 reviewed here is their current top of the line projector.  It replaces their VP-11S1, yet is priced at $14,999, smack dab in the middle of the pricing of its predecessor and the VP-15S1.  A long-throw version is also available for slightly more money. Those looking for DLP projectors now have two outstanding choices from Marantz.  The question that will face most shoppers is whether or not the VP-11S2 is worth the $5,000 premium over the already excellent VP-15S1.  While that ultimate decision has to be made by you, ...
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 ,  Written by Kevin Miller
Mitsubishi HC6000 3LCD Video Projector
Introduction Mitsubishi’s new HC6000, using advanced three-panel inorganic LCD panels (3LCD), replaces last year’s HC5000. It is the company’s latest 1080p 3LCD front projector. I was very pleased to discover that Mitsubishi made significant improvements in the critical area of black-level performance over the HC5000. Like the previous model, the HC6000 has a comprehensive feature package. Most of the features in the projector are intended to help you with the set-up and installation of the projector and to allow fine-tuning of the picture. This new model also utilizes an improved lens compared to its predecessor and, as a result, the HC6000 delivers sharp and highly detailed pictures. Let’s see how it compares with other 1080p-resolution projectors at or near its price range to determine its value quotient. Design The HC6000 is a compact, lightweight projector with a relatively small overall footprint. It measures ...
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 ...
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