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AVRev.com's Best Of 1997 List  Print E-mail
Home Theater Feature Articles Best Of & Top 100 Lists
Written by AVRev.com   
Monday, 01 December 1997

The Best of 1997

1997 has been a great year for The Audio Revolution. In the past 12 months our readership has grown 250 percent, we have added writers like Ken Kessler, Kim Wilson, Milton Chu, Jason Karsh and John Sunier to provide more original content than any other high end A/V magazine on the Internet plus we even got few advertisers to sponsor our new contests so you can win some of the best gear money can buy for free.

In rapping up our first full year of publication (actually we are 16 months old) The Audio Revolution would like to highlight a few products that we have reviewed (or are going to be publishing reviews on soon) that are extraordinary performers. This is best of the best for 1997.

The Product of The Year
The Sunfire True Subwoofer MII
The Sunfire True Subwoofer is clearly the most innovative and ground breaking product of the year. The legendary Bob Carver jumps into the subwoofer game with a tiny (about 11"x11") woofer that has a big impact for a modest $1295 price. The really exciting part of the Sunfire True Sub is the fact that it can bring real bass to systems that physically never could have had a larger, conventional woofer. Runner up: Mark Levinson No. 39.

Best Loudspeaker
Martin Logan Re-Quest
The Martin Logan Re-Quest is a loudspeaker system that for $4500 competes with cost no object loudspeaker systems with a midrange performance that might be the best money can buy. Runner up: The Cello Stradivari Legend.

Best Loudspeaker Under $2000
B&W; 604
The B&W; 604 ($1600/pr) kicks ass where other "tweaky" speakers wimp out. They image very well, they have punchy dynamics, you can tune them to your room and they have stong bass. They're worth more than $1600 but we won't tell B&W; .

Best Amplifier
Mark Levinson No. 333
I know the review hasn't been published yet however you are going to have to take my word for it... The Mark Levinson No. 333 ($8495) is an amp to lust after. Its got big time power with tonality worthy of the lofty Levinson reputation. Even the seemingly little details are taken care of to the highest level including the best speaker connectors I have ever worked and a communication port for touch screen remote systems.

Best Preamp
Sonic Frontiers Line II
The Sonic Frontiers Line II ($3295) wins our best preamp award in that along with a warm, resolute sound, The Line II has every feature and option one could want. From a highly thought out, round remote control to a built in headphone amp to one hundred plus increments of volume control for perfect volume control during late night listening sessions.

Best Digital
Apogee DA 1000
and Mark Levinson No. 39

This one is a tie. The Apogee DA-1000 ($2995) is the professional recording industry's high end digital conversion (both A/D and D/A) leader and can reveal more detail than high end DACs costing 2 or 3 times more. The Mark Levinson No. 39 ($5995) CD Processor (CD player/preamp) is a landmark product in that it combines a great sounding Levinson CD player with a super cool drawer, a killer No. 38 inspired remote and a preamp section that can take up to 2 digital inputs. Put it with a great sounding amp and your favorite speakers and you could have all you ever were searching for.

Best Inexpensive Digital
Rotel RCD 975

The RCD 975 ($750) continues the Rotel tradition of delivering high end digital on a tight budget. So what do you do for digital when funds are tight but you CAN hear the difference with the good stuff. You got it... the RCD 975. Runner up: Theta Chroma HDCD DAC ($725).

Best Cable System
Transparent Reference XL

The Transparent Reference XL System is about the most expensive cable system one could buy. How good do they sound? That good. Transparent earns fans with a very liberal trade up policy and a staff of experts who work with you right over the phone or by e-mail to help you design a solution that meets your needs. Runner up: Cardas Golden Cross.

Best Picture
Vidikron Vision Projectors

The Vidikron Vision One ($50,000) and Two ($38,000) have the single best picture The Revolution has seen to date. On numerous occasions including CEDIA, HIFI 97 and in client's homes the Vidikron looked absolutely awesome. Vidikron also gets high marks for its custom color, Pininfarina-esque design and auto convergence. Runners up include: The Snell and Wilcox Interpolator ($30,000) , Runco 980 ($19,000), Faroudja VP 400a ($24,000).

Best Home Theater Product
Magnavox DVD 400 AT

The Magnavox DVD 400 AT was the best example of the most exciting new playback format since the CD. While DVDs didn't pack all of their promised punch in 1997, 1998 will most likely bring us both AC3 and DTS soundtracks, more high end players and best of all more titles. Runner up: Sunfire Cinema Grand 5.1 channel amp ($2395).

Best Home Theater Loudspeakers
Magnepan Home Cinema

Magnepan's Home Cinema System have become Kim Wilson's reference in that they combine the finesse of a high end planar loudspeaker with the power needed for home theater all for around $2500. Runner up: NHT 1.2 system.






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