equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive II Preamplifier Review
SOtM iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter And tX-USBhub Review
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Thursday, 16 April 2009 ,  Written by Roger Coakes
Sony VPL-VW70 Projector
Sony has placed the VPL-VW70 at the top position of their current home cinema projector line.  I found the design to be reminiscent of the Playstation 3 shell, but with a refined, stylish grace.  The midnight black, curved panels on the upper and lower sections of the unit are slick, glossy and frame the unit perfectly.  The position of the cooling fans is indiscernible and the front of the projector features a motorized lens cover that effortlessly slides open when the power is turned on.  It would almost be a shame to hide the projector from view in a custom home theater installation.  The VPL-VW70 (MSRP: $7,999.99) utilizes three SXRD 1920 by 1080 display panels and their Bravia Engine 2 digital video processor to produce a high definition 1080p image.  Sony claims that it’s capable of 60,000:1 contrast ratio using ...
Monday, 02 February 2009 ,  Written by Tom Volotta
Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player
Released in the Fall 2008, Sony’s third generation BDP-S350 Blu-ray player offers consumers Profile 2.0, BD-Live interactive features along with improved performance all around without having to pay the premium early adopters did for the first and second-generation players, or to buy a Playstation 3.  Still considered the optimum target platform for Blu-ray Java and BD-Live content because of its processing power, the PS3 was a difficult notion for many to grasp since it was primarily known as a game machine.  For customers looking for the most powerful Blu-ray player, most sales people in big box stores weren’t much help in sorting out Profile 1.0, Profile 1.1 or Profile 2 features and benefits.  Either they didn’t know one from the other or they were pushing the higher priced, typically inferior standalone Blu-ray players over the cheaper, higher performing PS3.The BDP-S350 ...
Monday, 01 December 2008 ,  Written by Andrew Robinson
Stewart Filmscreen Starglas Video Screen
Introduction When discussing front-projection video, many of us focus solely on the projection aspect of the equation and with good reason.  If your projector is sub-par, the surface you point it at doesn’t much matter.  This said, with a few exceptions, the projector market seems to have hit a plateau, with nearly every manufacturer offering a 1080p-capable device at increasingly lower prices to consumers.  This year’s CEDIA show in Denver proved this more forcefully than ever in recent memory, with top-flight manufacturers claiming 1080p to be the final frontier.  2k and 4k resolutions are coming, but for those looking to the next level of performance from your video system, I suggest we take a look at video screens. When it comes to screens, no one does it better than Stewart Filmscreen.  Stewart screens are used in more professional ...
Saturday, 01 November 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Sony KDL-40Z4100 LCD HDTV
Introduction Since the arrival of 120Hz TVs, the technology has generally been treated as a premium performance feature, reserved for use in a manufacturer’s highest-end lines.  As with any popular feature, 120Hz is now slowly starting to trickle down into less-expensive models, like Sony’s Z Series.  The Z Series, which includes screen sizes of 40 and 46 inches, is the step-down line from the company’s XBR Series.  These TVs don’t employ all of Sony’s most advanced imaging technologies, but they still offer a higher level of a performance and an excellent complement of features. all for a few hundred dollars less than similarly sized XBR models. The KDL-40Z4100 is a 40-inch 1080p model, priced at $2,199.99. Features and Set-up In the design department, the Z Series follows the current trend of offering thinner, more discreet bezels.  The KDL-40Z4100 sports a simple gloss-black cabinet ...
Saturday, 01 November 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray Player
Introduction With Profile 2.0 players like the $400 Sony PlayStation3 and the $600 Panasonic DMP-BD50 now on the market, one might think that all other manufacturers would feel compelled to only release players that rivaled those two models in terms of functionality. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Even at the recent CEDIA show, manufacturers were displaying soon-to-be-released Blu-ray models that are only Profile 1.1. It seems counter-productive to me, but then again, so have a lot of the decisions related to Blu-ray since it’s release. A couple of manufacturers – namely, Samsung and Sony – chose to bridge the gap between Profiles 1.1 and 2.0 by offering models that were originally designated as “BD-Live-ready.” These players were Profile 1.1 upon their release, meaning they contained the needed audio and video decoders to display picture-in-picture (or BonusView) content but lacked BD-Live Web ...
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