equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
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
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Saturday, 01 July 2006 ,  Written by Bryan Dailey
Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Player
Introduction Format wars. Everyone hates them, but they are a fact of life and HDTV owners who long for more performance than DVD has to offer are smack dab in the middle of a dilemma. Blu-ray or HD DVD – that is the question. Sony has never fared well in past AV format wars (remember Betamax, Mini-Disc and SACD?), but they are betting on their new Blu-ray technology big time. HD DVD rolled out several weeks prior to the Blu-ray launch; the players have so far received cheers for their picture and jeers for their glitchy performance and sloppy interfaces. The mixed reviews have left the door open for Sony’s format to swoop in and impress. The first player to hit the streets is the $999 Samsung BD-P1000. Being the only Blu-ray player commercially available at the time of this review (other than the players available in Sony VAIO computers), the obvious comparison ...
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 ...
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