Jim Clements

“Imagine” (NAD Blu-ray Player and Receiver, PSB Speakers)

Welcome to the inaugural Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity system review! We are planning to publish a series of similar reviews to highlight system packages in the Low (up to $2,500 MSRP), Medium ($2,501 - $5,000 MSRP) and High (over $5,000 MSRP) price categories. The systems will all include a source component, receiver (or prepro and amp), speakers and sub (optional). We will also evaluate products in the burgeoning soundbar category. We will strive to select balanced systems that will offer the best value in their respective price ranges. These reviews will be focused on helping readers select turnkey systems for new installations or upgrades.

PSB SubSeries 6i Subwoofer

The PSB Subseries 6i subwoofer is a very unassuming-looking product, albeit a little on the large size by today's standards. It has a single 12" driver in a ported enclosure. There are two ports that exit at the bottom front of the cabinet. The volume and crossover controls are mounted along the bottom of the front part of the cabinet as well. This arrangement allows the 6i to be mounted inside a cabinet.

PSB Imagine B Bookshelf Speakers

The Imagine speakers are PSB's newest speaker line. There are four models in this line – The Imagine T towers, the Imagine B bookshelf speakers, the Imagine C center speaker and the Imagine S surround speakers. I opted to review the Imagine B's for the mains versus the much more common towers for two reasons – first, this is the inaugural Secrets system review and the point is to review affordable system and the bookshelf speakers are somewhat less expensive than the towers and secondly, my system works better with bookshelf speakers.

NAD T587 Blu-ray Disc Player – Benchmark

The NAD T587 represents NAD's first foray into the Blu-ray arena. NAD started big by building the T587 to the Blu-ray Profile 2.0 spec. The T587 can also handle CD and DVD discs among other formats such as DiVX. It is not a universal player and will not spin DVD Audio or SACD discs. Its circuitry is based on the Broadcom decoder. A nice touch is that the player comes with auxiliary feet that closely resemble Vibrapods.  This player is reviewed as one of the Imagine Affordable System components.

NAD T 747 AV Surround Sound Receiver

The NAD T747 AV Surround Sound Receiver is a 7-channel two zone receiver that is capable of decoding bitstream inputs of all the latest high-resolution audio formats. I like its understated styling a la NAD. The minimalist front panel has a simple two-line VFD display in the center of the panel. The characters on this display are about 3/8" high. This is a major improvement over the super small logos that are commonly found in so many of today's receivers and processors.

Emotiva ERT-8.3 Tower Speakers, ERM-6.3 Monitor, and ERD-1 Surround Speakers

Emotiva has been recognized as a value/performance leader in amplifiers for quite some time. Recently, they have ventured into the speaker arena with several models. In this review, we cover the new ERT-8.3 Towers, ERM-6.3 Monitor (used as the center channel), and ERD-1 Surrounds. I enjoyed these speakers about as much as any I have ever had in my system. They are well-designed and solidly constructed. They represent an excellent value as well. Learn more about these exciting new speakers by clicking on the photo to read our review.

ZVOX Z-Base 550 Surround Sound Solution (Sound Bar)

ZVOX is an e-tailer based in New England. They currently manufacture and market seven different models of sound bars. Their products are available on-line direct from the manufacturer. All purchases carry a 30-day no-risk guarantee.The low profile Z-Base 550 is one of their products. It is designed to support a stand-mounted flat panel display. Will a compact 20-pound single box surround system prove worthy of recommendation?

Velodyne Optimum-12 Subwoofer

I remember marveling at the sound being produced by a pair of small bookshelf speakers during a recent visit to a local high-end dealer's shop. I asked the salesman, "The bass extension on these speakers is amazing for their small size. How do they do it?" "Technology" was his reply. I sat there stone faced for a second while the wheels turned. Great bass extension with useable output is still governed by the laws of Newtonian physics. Technology can't violate those laws. The designer must work within the framework of the laws to produce a design that will fulfill their objectives. Velodyne has worked within these laws to produce a compact subwoofer that will surprise you with its amazing bass output. Read more about what Jim Clements has to say.