Crystal Acoustics is a niche-within-a-niche kind of company. It sells high-value speaker systems directly to customers through the Internet. Not just any speakers, though. Crystal specializes in THX certified home theater systems. I've reviewed several Crystal Acoustics speakers, ranging from smaller THX Select certified floor-standers, up to their THX Ultra2 certified TX-T3SE. Now comes the TX-T2 SE, a mid-sized floor standing speaker that carries the THX Ultra2 badge. Are the TX-T2 SE's the best of both worlds, combining a smaller size with Ultra2 performance?
Integra has produced a high-quality, high value product in the DTR 50.3 7.2 receiver. It has all the bells and whistles you could ask for in a modern receiver, and still has that clean, neutral Integra sound. Read our review and find out why we say, "Definitely recommended!"
Emotiva is a U.S. based Internet-direct manufacturer, known primarily for their high-power solid-state amplifiers. However, Emotiva makes other products, including three different lines of speakers, and several subwoofers. In this case, we review the X-Ref subwoofer, which has a 12" driver and 600 watts of amplifier power, all at a very reasonable price.
Crystal Acoustics is an Internet-direct manufacturer that specializes in THX certified 5.1 and 7.1 systems.
The term "separates" was once reserved for the upper crust of the home theater world. Only those with the most discerning ears (and fattest wallets) considered purchasing a separate preamp/processor and multi-channel power amplifier. That time has long gone, thanks in part to the rise of Internet-direct firms such as Emotiva. They manufacture monoblocks (single-channel amplifiers) and multi-channel amplifiers, up to the XPA-5 which has five channels. The current review explores their three-channel amplifier, called the XPA-3.
It was five years ago that I first heard Crystal Acoustics speakers. Crystal is a British-based OEM speaker manufacturer that started making THX certified speakers under its own name. Because Crystal sells direct through the Internet without the costs of a distribution network, it offers very low prices for its products. I was quite impressed by the price/value proposition of its TX-3D12 THX Select certified 5.1 speaker system.
I described the last Paradigm Reference sub I reviewed, the Reference Signature Sub 25, as the "Mother of All Subwoofers". Then Paradigm came out with the even more massive SUB 1 and SUB 2 models. So when I agreed to review the Seismic 110, a small barrel-shaped sub that measures barely 13" in any direction, my expectations were set accordingly.
MK Sound, successors of the former Miller & Kreisel company, started with a "don't mess with success" philosophy. At first, it sold legacy products like the renowned 150 THX speakers, and introduced consumer products like the M Series that were previously available only to the professional market. More recently, MK Sound developed a new tweeter for its MPS 2510P and 1611P professional monitors. The new tweeter was developed in conjunction with Peerless of Denmark (now part of Tymphany), M & K's driver component partner for 34 years. MK has incorporated the new tweeter into its newest consumer speakers, the 950 series.
When you think of subwoofer manufacturers—and we're talking about companies that pay the bills making and selling subwoofers—Velodyne is one of the first names that comes to mind. Since 1983, Velodyne has produced an extensive range of highly regarded subs, including its Digital Drive series and "1812" subwoofers. They also make small subs, in this review, we cover their MiniVee, which uses an 8" driver.
KEF is the venerable British-based loudspeaker company founded in 1961 by former BBC electrical engineer Raymond Cooke. The company first became famous for its monitors and Reference series speakers. In 1988, KEF introduced the revolutionary Uni-Q system, which mounted a neodymium-based tweeter in the center of the woofer voice coil. Since then, KEF has expanded its product line to include the ultra high-end Muon down to the entry level C Series speakers. The subject of this review, KEF's Q Series speakers, is the next step up from the C Series. As the name implies, it offers the Uni-Q technology in each of the five main speakers.
This is the third in a semi-regular series looking at affordable front projector systems, particularly projectors that don't require a dedicated theater space. So far, we've looked at Sanyo and Mitsubishi projectors. Until recently, I had not considered Sony's SXRD front projectors as candidates, for a couple of reasons. First, Sony projectors were not what I would classify as "affordable," with MSRP's typically starting at $5,000. Plus, the Ruby and Pearl models were really designed for dedicated rooms; they have limited lens adjustments and are not known for exceptionally bright output.
Not so long ago, the word subwoofer meant one thing: a squat, black cube-shaped box sitting in the corner of your listening room. These days, subwoofers are made to fit in walls, ceilings, floors, even tucked under a couch. There are cylinder-shaped subs, wireless subs, and itsy-bitsy subs sure to please the wife. But there will always be a place in the hi-fi world for the mega-sub, the Beast, the Mother-of-All-Subwoofers.
Integra keeps putting out high-quality, value-priced products year after year. The company, which is the "high-end" of the Onkyo brand, sells primarily to custom installers and boutique A/V resellers rather than Internet and big-box stores. In this review, we examine the new DTR-8.9.
They're baaaaack! A long time ago (1973 to be exact), Walter Becker of Steely Dan asked Ken Kreisel to design a reference subwoofer suitable for mixing their Pretzel Logic album. For more than three decades, Miller & Kreisel was the name in speakers for music and motion picture studios. M & K also developed a tremendously loyal following in consumer audio, the MK 150 series speakers in particular creating fanatical devotion among owners.
Ross Jones is an intellectual property lawyer in northern California's Telecom Valley, where he works with technology companies and manufacturers. He has a background in music theory, and has played bass guitar for 30 years in Los Angeles and Bay Area bands (which explains why he has five subwoofers in his home). "