Brian Florian

Low-Profile Speakers for the Audiophile in Challenging Space?

I am somewhat spaced constrained and am looking for speakers (5-10K range) that are relatively low profile and, more importantly, are designed to be placed up against the wall. Many of the speakers I have sampled require a placement at least 12-18" from the wall. The room is approx.: 14 x 21. Ideally the speakers would be placed on the 21' wall. In wall speakers are not a good option (old plaster & lathe walls on 2/4 studs). I am looking for a 2 channel audiophile solution to replace an older system. Our listening preference is primarily classical (symphonic) and jazz with the occasional R&R. Generally prefer imaging over brightness.

- Submitted by: Peter R
Seattle, Washington

Which AVR Should I Choose: Anthem 710 or Pioneer SC-79?

My dream of owning a Statement ended when I woke up realizing it wasn't going to happen. So, now I have narrowed my choice of AVR down to two. It's between a Pioneer SC-79 or the Anthem 710. Which would you recommend I go with. I would be looking for whichever one to be able to handle a medium to large size room. Bells and whistles don't mean a whole lot just the sound. I'm not a big music guy so most of its use would be for gaming and movies. I currently own the VSX-84txsi and have enjoyed it for seven years, but the 710 is very interesting to me (not to mention the fact, it's a thousand dollars cheaper). Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated and please keep up the good work. Thanks SECRETS!

- John Z.
Cockeysville, Maryland

Power Protection: Fancy Power Protector or UPS or Simple Surge Protector?

I just bought a Samsung UN65F8000 LED TV, a Piooneer VSX-1128-K receiver which will power a pair of polk audio RTiA1's a CSiA4 Centre and PSW10 Sub. Also in the setup is HD Satellite box, a PS3 and a PS4 when it arrives in three weeks along with a BoxeeBox and some other crap. My question is about power protection. Should I get a fancy power protector for several hundred dollars, a UPS or simple surge protector? I don't mind spending a few hundred bucks if it will serve a purpose. Our power isn't bad but goes out acouple times a year and we get a brown-out now and again.

- Jack M.
Halifax, Canada

Graphics Cards with HDMI output and 5.1 Audio?

I currently have a Windows 7 PC connected to my TV via VGA and stereo audio. I use this setup to watch Netflix and Hulu. I would like to be able to get 5.1 sound, which Netflix (and maybe Hulu) says they support if the hardware in the PC supports it. Are there graphic cards that have HDMI output that also include 5.1 audio over the HDMI cable? I should then be able to connect it to say a Yamaha RX-V375 receiver and have 5.1 audio.

- Ken L
Boston, Mass

Paradigm Monitor 7 Series Speakers

Speakers however are one of the last bastions of long term value and investment. Simply stated, good speakers will never be obsolete. My father has a pair of Paradigm Monitor 7se speakers which are almost 25 years old... and not only are they in great shape, but are still an enviable, excellent sounding pair! Here, we review the Paradigm Monitor 7 Series, which includes the Mini-Monitor, the Center, and the Surrounds.

Paradigm SE Series Home Theater Speakers

Forever it seems here at Secrets (and everywhere really) people come asking for a home theater gear shopping list, hoping there is some inside knowledge to be unearthed which will get them world class audio for a ridiculously low price. More sympathetic to the notion of "limited funds" I could not possibly be, but fact is, with speakers at least, it is quite literally impossible in that unlike electronics and "digital" stuff which gets smaller and cheaper by the minute, speakers are inherently analogue, physical, mechanical devices. Top shelf quality IS going to cost you something.

Anthem AVM50v Audio/Video Processor

It started way back in 2001 when I reported to you on the exquisite AVM20, which to this day for various reasons still represents to me a watershed. Two years later came the "V2" upgrade for the AVM20 wherein we swapped out the processor board for a more powerful one, opening up the then much enthused about Pro Logic II, upgrading the THX suite to Ultra2, and adding more bass management options.

Spendor A5 Floor-standing Speakers

Ah...British Hi-Fi. Say no more and an entire wing of audiophiles suddenly get giddy. When I was offered a pair of speakers for review from Spendor, renowned speaker manufacturer since 1969, I simply had to take advantage and hear for myself the state of British Hi-Fi today.