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 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 ...
Monday, 01 September 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Samsung LN52A750 LCD HDTV
Introduction I recently saw a CE news headline that read something along the lines of, “Report states that HDTV manufacturers must add more features and interactivity to compete in the future marketplace.” I’m not sure anyone really needed an official report to glean that pearl of wisdom. As performance and price amongst the big-name brands become increasingly similar, features and design play a larger role in distinguishing one TV from the next. With its 2008 line of high-end LCDs, Samsung has gotten aggressive in both respects. The Touch of Color aesthetic aims to catch your eye on the showroom floor, while features like media streaming and RSS feeds give the “connected” user something to be excited about. Of course, features and design don’t mean much if the TV’s performance is sub-par, but that’s not a concern here. The 52-inch, 1080p LN52A750 ...
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
SmX Theater Solutions, Pro Line Screen
Today’s AV news is filled with information on the newest projectors and how they are breaking new performance / price barriers. Yet the press does not spend much time with the other major component of a front projection system, the screen. While perhaps not as sexy as the projectors, screens have come a long way as well. Manufacturers realize this and in fact, SIM2, a long recognized industry leader has recently announced that they will be distributing SmX screens in Europe.
Friday, 01 August 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Sharp LC-37D64U LCD HDTV
Introduction I think I’ve been spoiled by my job.  Over the past year, most of the TVs I’ve reviewed have fallen in the 46- to 52-inch range.  When I first unpacked this 37-inch LCD, my reaction was, “Aww, how cute. It’s just so … little.”  But the truth is, if I were actually buying a new TV, this is probably the screen size I could afford.  The price of flat panels has fallen dramatically over the past few years, but these TVs still aren’t cheap.  It’s one thing to say that $2,500 is a good deal on a new 46-inch 1080p LCD; it’s another to actually shell out the cash yourself. In the real world, a lot of people still shop in the sub-40-inch range and consider a 37-inch TV to be a big step up from their old 27-inch CRT.  ...
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