There is no question that soundbars are a "hot item" for home theater enthusiasts. The soundbar category grew a whopping 68% over all of 2012, with a monumental surge in Q4 2012 alone. Unit sales for Q4 versus Q3 were up 158%, even better, the category of soundbars with a companion subwoofer increased 126% in 2012 versus the prior year. This according a new report from Quixel Research. I can't think of any major speaker manufacturer that does not offer at least one soundbar in their line up.
Back in my college days, I had a roommate that had a nice stereo Pioneer receiver. It cost him a few hundred bucks. Since it was pre-digital, the inputs were pretty basic. Simply hook up to a cassette deck and turntable and we reveled in the audiophile sounds that its 30 watts/channel produced. Ah, the 70's were the "golden era" of audio. Point being, everybody has to start somewhere in their journey to musical nirvana. Fast forward to 2013 and now for around $500 you can get a 7.1 surround, network capable, DSP loaded, phone/Android integrated, Bluetooth, 80 watt/channel Elite receiver from Pioneer. True, the VSX-43 is their entry level Elite receiver, but it is packed with features that would have cost you a lot of money, even just a few years ago. But does the VSX-43 have what it takes to be the brain and brawn you are looking for in a modern home entertainment system?
Made in Canada, Newform Research manufactures unique ribbon loudspeakers and sells them factory direct worldwide. Their ribbon designs offer the transparency, detail and sound staging of the classic large panel electrostatic and ribbon loudspeakers, but because of their narrow compact footprint, are easier to drive and setup, even in smaller rooms. Here, we review a pair of their ribbon towers, which are a hybrid design, with a 15" ribbon as the tweeter, and six conventional cone drivers for the mid/bass.
I have always wanted to experience the MartinLogan planar speaker systems, but I lack the room size that is needed to really allow them to breathe. ML's new Motion® series allows for a planar speaker that is designed to resemble a more conventional box speaker, and is designed for placement under a flat panel HDTV.
Since the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has always been known as the home for the greatest movie monsters. This review will showcase a collection of 8 of the greatest, most iconic movie monsters every enshrined on celluloid by Universal Pictures and Carl Laemmle and his son: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933 ), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941), The Phantom of the Opera (1943), and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). Full high definition 1080p and they all sound fantastic.
So here is the problem. Actually, there are two problems. Problem one: the new HDTV flat panels are getting thinner and thinner. The speakers inside those panels are also getting thinner and thinner. The sound from those speakers…well...
ZVox comes to the rescue with a powered speaker system that sits underneath the pedestal of your flat panel HDTV. Called the Zbase 555, it retails for only $399.
The late Jim Thiel and company have been making speakers in the heartland of Kentucky for over 30 years. THIEL has amassed a staggering 55 accolades from international press, including the high performance audio industry's most prestigious publications. The SCS4T is part of the J.E.T. series and offers the most affordable line of speakers that THIEL currently manufactures.
I consider myself a lucky guy. Not only did I get a chance to go to Las Vegas to cover CES, I also got to sit down with Sandy Gross and have a personal audition of his new Triton 2 towers. Sandy has had an illustrious career with Polk Audio and Definitive Technology and has more recently helped start up a new company called GoldenEar Technology. Here, we review their new SuperCinema 50 Home Theater Speaker System.
As general rule of thumb, I try not to review equipment from manufacturers of products that I personally own as it can lend an air of bias on my part. I'm just letting you know up front that I own a UMC-1 pre/pro and three amplifiers from Emotiva. I find their products to perform very well and are true bargains in the A/V world.
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".
Every so often I get to review a product that sets itself apart from the "other guy" stuff. You know, the mass produced stuff that we often see in the brick-and-mortar stores. The special products are ones that are intelligently designed and built to exacting standards. It's sort of like comparing a Mercedes to a Chevy. Nothing wrong with a Chevy, but just slamming the door on the Mercedes can make you go, "Whoa! Now that's quality"! In this review, we cover the Cary Audio Design CD-500 CD Player.