|New Kenwood Home Theater Receivers|
|Home Theater News AV Receiver News|
|Written by AVRev.com|
|Thursday, 17 April 2003|
Kenwood recently introduced its 2003 line of home theater audio/video receivers featuring five new models, including two with 6.1-channel THX Select audio certification and 6.1-channel THX Surround EX decoding. The VR-7080 is equipped with Kenwood’s new “Touch Zone” smart remote control, which illuminates only the buttons that are active for the component being operated.
All models, finished with a silver design, feature Active EQ by DSP, which optimizes performance with compact speaker systems, and three models – the VR-7080, VR-7070, and VR-7060, offer new SRS Circle Surround II, which produces 5.1-channel surround sound from any 2-channel audio source.
Both new THX Select models, the VR-7080 and VR-7070, provide component video connections and switching, preferred for digital TVs, projectors, plasma TVs and other high-quality video displays, that is compatible with progressive scan DVD players. These models also support DTS: Neo 6 processing, which derives six channels of surround sound in addition to the subwoofer channel. All of the new models offer 5.1-channel Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound processing. Suggested retail prices for Kenwood’s 2003 receivers start at $200 with the VR-705.
All receivers are finished in a matte silver tone, matching the styling of most TV monitors being sold currently, including the increasingly popular flat panel video displays.
Kenwood has equipped three models, the VR-7080, VR-7070, and VR-7060, with a discrete, six-channel audio amplifier where the sixth channel, which supplies 100 watts, can be selected to drive a passive subwoofer (in a 5.1-channel speaker system) or the surround back channel speaker required for playback of 6.1-channel formats such as THX Surround EX, Dolby Digital EX, and DTS-ES.
For the first time, Kenwood offers a THX Select receiver, the VR-7070, at a suggested retail price of $500.
New audio circuitry, called Active EQ by DSP, uses a 32-bit digital signal processor to optimize movie soundtracks and other audio sources to sound best over a compact speaker system. The circuit, which also reduces speaker overloading and distortion, has selectable listening modes for cinema, music and TV listening.
Four of the five new Kenwood receivers have newly-designed remote controls. The VR-7080’s has a new TouchZone remote. While providing control of an entire home entertainment environment, TouchZone is a “smart” remote that illuminates only the buttons that are active for the selected component. Buttons which are inactive become virtually invisible to the user, reducing confusion, even in complex, multi-component systems.
The remote’s EL (electro-luminescent ) backlight is activated by simply picking it up. A battery-saving mode automatically shuts off the remote’s illumination during periods of inactivity. TouchZone is a pre-programmed universal/learning remote, which means it contains codes for Kenwood and non-Kenwood audio/video components and TVs, and can be taught codes for most any device not already included in its large internal database.
The VR-7070 is equipped with Kenwood’s new universal/learning A/V remote control with LCD display. This remote can control both Kenwood and non-Kenwood components. The VR-7060 and VR-707 use a new universal preset A/V remote, while the VR-705 is equipped with a Kenwood system remote control that operates Kenwood components.
Additional to the VR-7080 and VR-7070 include dual-zone operation, two coaxial and two optical digital audio inputs, one optical digital audio output, eight stereo audio analog inputs, two stereo analog audio recording outputs, and stereo audio outputs for a second zone. Both also have a composite video output for the second zone.
In addition to the six-channel analog inputs for use with DVD-Audio players, the VR-7080 and VR-7070 also provide eight channel pre-outs (preamp outputs), which allows consumers to expand their system with external power amplifiers should their home entertainment needs change. An auxiliary A/V input, for analog stereo with S-video connection, is located on the front panel for easy connection of camcorders and video game consoles. S-Video switching is provided on the VR-7080 VR-7070, VR-7060, and VR-707.
The receivers also automatically sense the signal format of the digital source (stereo, Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.) and select the proper decoding circuitry.
All models offer DSP circuitry for simulating five music listening environments (arena, theater, jazz club, stadium, and disco). In the VR-7080, VR-7070, and VR-7060 the processing is handled by a high-resolution Melody multichannel 32-bit decoder from Analog Devices. The receivers’ digital-to-analog converters provide 24-bit resolution for each channel, producing smooth, authentic sound.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing and retail availability dates for Kenwood’s 2003 line of receivers are as follows:
Model Availability Price
Kenwood VR-7080 A/V Receiver May 23 $600.00
Kenwood VR-7070 A/V Receiver April 25 $500.00
Kenwood VR-7060 A/V Receiver May 23 $400.00
Kenwood VR-707 A/V Receiver April 20 $300.00
Kenwood VR-705 A/V Receiver April 1 $200.00