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Monday, 01 May 2006 ,  Written by Kevin Miller
Sim2 C3X DLP Video Projector
Introduction Price erosion in the home theater business is even reaching the upper echelons of ultra-high-end video. Thanks to Infocus dropping the price of their 777 three-chip DLP projector from $30,000 list, at that time the least expensive three-chip on the market, to an unbelievable $15,000 back in September of 2005, other manufacturers have been forced to drop their prices as well. Enter the Sim2 C3X, the most compact of the heavyweight three-chip DLP projectors, which carries a list price of $18,000. There are two major advantages to three-chip vs. one-chip DLP projector designs. The first is much more light output. The second and perhaps more important from a picture quality perspective is far superior color saturation. Sim2s C3X is a light cannon that will easily drive nine-to-10-foot-wide screens with ample light output, and it has an ultra-compact design with an extremely small footprint. It measures 17.13 x 7.48 x 16.93 inches (WxHxD), and weighs just 24.2 ...
Monday, 01 May 2006 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Sherwood Newcastle P-965 AV Preamplifier
Introduction The Sherwood P-965 is a full-featured AV preamplifier that can serve as the centerpiece of a multi-room theater system without blowing even modest budgets. This piece is at the tops of the Sherwood Newcastle line and has just about every feature one could ask for in a high-end AV preamp, yet it is smartly designed to leave out many superfluous features that you don’t need but often pay for in more expensive components. The P-965 is priced at $1,495 and is indicative of Sherwood’s longtime philosophy of foregoing frills in order to keep its pricing competitive. When I received the P-965, I found it well packaged inside a box within a box. When I removed the box, I noted that the unit was standard in size at 17-and-three-eighths by seven-and-three-quarters inches by 17-and-three-quarters inches deep and weighed a respectable 26 pounds. The front panel was attractively finished in aluminum, with two large knobs that ...
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Sunfire Ultimate Receiver II
Introduction The Sunfire Ultimate Receiver II is the newest in a long line of high-end products made by the legendary Bob Carver, who has been making innovative audio gear since he founded Phase Linear in 1970. Carver has made numerous advances in amplification and power supply technology for the audio industry since he started in the business over 35 years ago, and this new receiver benefits from all his research and development. The Ultimate Receiver II is a complete 9.1-capable A/V receiver, designed to be the hub of a high-end home theater or multi-room system. In this newest version of the Ultimate Receiver, video transcoding and Dolby Pro Logic IIx have been added. The receiver is capable of producing 200 watts per channel into eight ohms and 400 watts per channel into four ohms into all seven channels, making it the most powerful receiver on the planet. Included are many of the bells and whistles ...
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 ,  Written by Jeremy R. Kipnis
Sony KDS-R60XBR1 SXRD Rear Projection HDTV
Introduction It seems like new televisions are coming out all the time now. The most interesting of these are the new 1920 x 1080p sets. Increasing the pixel count by 225 percent versus a 1280 x 720p set improves the portrayal of fine details and textures, creating a spellbinding quality. While these sets can theoretically accept a 1080p source, there are currently very few (if any) to choose from on the market. Generally, the highest resolution any HD format (HD-DVD, HD cable or satellite, D-VHS, Xbox 360 etc.) goes is 1080i, but the extra pixels are far from wasted. The most recent rear-projection offerings have provided outstanding picture quality with extraordinary resolution, high light output, and very accurate yet deeply saturated color fidelity, along with extended black level reproduction at a somewhat pricy point: the Qualia 006 in particular, followed by certain DLP designs. The sudden proliferation of the 1920 x 1080 native resolution projector in today’s ...
Sunday, 01 January 2006 ,  Written by Andrew Robinson
Sony STR-DA7100ES Receiver
Introduction When you think of consumer electronics, one of the first names that comes to mind is Sony, and rightfully so, as Sony remains a formidable leader in CE technology. Under the Sony moniker, there are several offshoots, such as their new flagship Qualia line of products, as well as Bravia LCDs and the long-established “ES” lineup. Sony ES, which stands for Elevated Standards, is Sony’s brand name for their higher-end consumer electronics. The ES line of products includes several SACD and DVD players, as well as audio/video receivers. One of their latest product offerings, the STRDA 7100ES receiver, features a number of today’s modern connections, as well as a new digital amplification section. Out of the box, the STRDA 7100ES is rather striking in its sleek aluminum skin. It actually feels more like a product from the likes of Krell than a mass-market giant. The 7100ES is substantially smaller than some of the receivers ...
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