When I left home for college in 1984, I brought my stereo system along. It consisted of a Kenwood receiver, Technics turntable, and a pair of Fisher 3-way speakers. After discovering a few high-end stereo shops in Boston, and having my turntable set up properly; I started shopping for a better amp. My meager funding ruled out separates but the proprietor of a small hi-fi shop pointed me to that now-familiar brown box. I returned to my dorm room clutching a brand-new NAD 3020, for which I believe I paid around $220. My reward was the cleanest sound I'd ever heard, bar none. I used that amp all through college and probably for another 10 years after. Today, NAD has recreated this amazing product for the digital age. Where we once relied on vinyl and ferrous tape, now it's all about bits and bytes. The timeless philosophy of clean high-quality sound, versatile operation, and a low price has now given birth to the all-new D 3020 Hybrid Digital Amplifier.
Pass Labs is renown for their high end preamplifiers and power amplifiers, but they also have integrated amplifiers as well, which include the INT-30A and the INT-150. Here, we review the INT-150, which, as you can imagine from the model number, outputs 150 watts x 2 (into 8 ohms). It has the same massive build quality as the other Pass components I have reviewed, and also, its own distinctive sound, as I have found with the others.
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.
In the two years since 3D displays first became commonplace, I've seen many demos; and only a few of them really impressed me. When you watch for a few minutes and you get that "gotta have it" feeling, you know you've seen something special. So far I've seen exactly zero flat panels that affected me that way. They just don't immerse the viewer the way a projector does. I've found for the 3D effect to be truly convincing, the edges of the screen have to be outside my peripheral vision. Front projection is, of course, the answer; but 3D capable models are only just now trickling down to the affordable level. The Optoma HD33 is a DLP projector with 3D capabilities and has full 1920x1080p native resolution. All for less than $1,500.
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2011 exceeded expectations......so many exhibitors and attendees. Great Show! Exhibitors filled the Denver Marriott Tech Center this past week, October 14-16. Jim Clements, Senior Editor, covered the show for SECRETS of Home Theater this year. And was it busy...some very special sounds and spectacular products. Jim's coverage includes many great names in Audio.....Linn, Legacy Audio, Harman Kardon family, Velodyne, Naim, NAD, Clarus, ClearAudio, OPPO, Acoustic Signature, DynAudio, Emotiva, and so much more.
Wrap-up Commentary......All images are in......50 plus!!!!
The 2011 installment of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest turned out to be the tale of two technologies. I am personally something of a generational 'tweener'. I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom Generation - but I'm not really a Baby Boomer and I'm not really a GenXer. I am young enough that there was a computer in my HS math class. I am old enough that I completely grew up on analog audio.
MartinLogan has recently expanded its line to include the Ethos, which is a hybrid electrostatic speaker, meaning that it has not only an electrostatic panel, but a cone woofer. Using woofers to handle the bass is necessary in smaller electrostatic speakers because the surface area of the panel is not large enough to move much air at the lowest frequencies. In the case of the Ethos, the woofer has a built-in amplifier to drive it.
The bell of a cymbal contributes much more to the sound than one migh realize. Nowhere is this more illustrated that in a cymbal that has no bell, such as this 20" Meinl Byzance Jazz Club Ride. It has a dry, light ping that is perfect for small club venues. It has four rivets that add a subtle note to the wash which is very intense compared to the ride ping.