Spectral Analysis

Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge Projection Screen

When designing a home theater, the screen is often the last consideration in the plan. After all, it's much more interesting to research electronics and their associated specs than to look through screen material samples and frame designs. Other than size, few of us think much about our choice of screen. Screen Innovations markets projection screens in all sizes, aspect ratios, and gain (screen brightness). In this review, we take a look at their Black Diamond Zero Edge projection screen.

Marc Audio Premium Line RCA Interconnects

Marc Audio started its business of marketing quality audio cables in its on-line store only two years ago. They did not have all of their products available at the time of launch, so we reviewed what they had, as they became available. These included the Reference Line and the Signature Line. The Reference Line is their most expensive cable, but at $870/meter-pair for the RCA interconnects, they are not all that pricey compared to many other cables out there. The Signatures are their mid-priced cables ($549/meter-pair for RCA interconnects). Now, Marc Audio has introduced the Premium Line, which is their least expensive line of cables, at $158/meter-pair. Their construction quality - and more importantly - their performance, belie their very reasonable price, and I think they are one of the best values in cables out there.

Panasonic DMP-BDT210 3D Blu-ray Player

Sales figures for home theater components are not something I really pay attention to. I'd much rather own something that works great than to have what's popular, or to have my opinion influenced by sales numbers. However, I'd be willing to bet that Panasonic has done pretty well with their 3D Blu-ray players this year because of one huge advantage they have over everyone else: The ability to include Avatar 3D for consumers. And now, you can get a 3D Blu-ray player for $200: the Panasonic DMP-BDT210.

Toshiba 55SL417U 55″ Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV

With all the hoopla surrounding 3D, the other big innovation in HDTVs has been largely forgotten – LED backlighting. For an image-quality geek like me though, this is a far more significant advance in technology. LCD panels can now play in the same black-level arena as plasma TVs. In some cases, they even exceed. As anyone schooled in imaging science will tell you, dynamic range is the single most important factor in perceived image quality. Let's take a look at this Toshiba 55" HDTV with edge lit LED backlighting.

McIntosh MX150 7.1 A/V Surround Sound Processor (SSP)

McIntosh Laboratory is well known for producing some of the finest quality luxury audio components on the market. I've always been a fan of McIntosh products and I enjoyed visiting the McIntosh suite at CES 2011 this past January. I was intrigued by the MX150 A/V Control Center, which is McIntosh's take on the ultimate home theater processor (SSP). I asked for a review sample, and a few months later couldn't believe that I actually had an MX150 on my front porch.

Melody Moore: The World Premiere of Heart of a Soldier

On September 10, 2011, one day before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, composer Christopher Theofanidis' first opera, Heart of a Soldier, has its world premiere at San Francisco Opera. A modern day hero's journey / love story, the opera tells the tale of Rick Rescorla, a multi-decorated Vietnam war hero who, years later, rescued over 2700 people from the World Trade Center before perishing in the Twin Towers collapse.

KEF Q300 Bookshelf Speakers

KEF recently introduced an all new Uni-Q driver. The Q300's are the largest bookshelf models in the "All New Q Series" speaker line. Will KEF be able to further their reputation as a high value brand with the all-new Q300's?

Home Theater Movie Renter’s Guide – August, 2011

Source Code (Blu-ray), Amelie (Blu-ray), Rango (Blu-ray), Brazil (Blu-ray), The Smurfs (DVD), Unknown (Blu-ray), Your Highness (Blu-ray), The Blues Brothers (Blu-ray), Chocolat (Blu-ray), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Blu-ray), Mars Needs Moms 3D (3D Blu-ray), The Big Lebowski (Blu-ray), Paul (Blu-ray), National Lampoon's Animal House (Blu-ray), Dazed and Confused (Blu-ray), Jane Eyre (Blu-ray)

Magnepan

Magnepan has been manufacturing innovative, world class stereo speakers for 42 years. Jim Winey, the inventor of the Magneplanar loudspeaker...

Pioneer PD-D6MK2 SACD Player and SX-A9MK2 Integrated Amplifier

The D6 SACD player and A9 integrated stereo amplifier are two of four possible combinations in the Pioneer G-Clef series of SACD players and integrated two channel amplifiers that are sold as a pair. The G-Clef series is tested and approved by AIR Studios in London and are designed for the discriminating stereo lover in mind. As quoted from Pioneer's website, "The AIR Studios quality seal is proof not only of the extraordinary engineering that has gone into these audio units, but also of the exceptionally high quality of their craftsmanship and carefully selected electronic components".

Marantz NA7004 Network Music Streamer

Almost every manufacturer these days is including some type of network support in their products. From receivers that connect to home music servers and disc players that stream music and video from the internet, we have lots of options for enjoying content with our home entertainment systems. While Marantz has been including network support in their products for a while, they have not offered a stand-alone network streamer until now: The NA7004 streams music from your computer, the Internet, and even USB thumb drives.