A Home Theater Build Project – Part I

We all have a spare room. Well, many of us do. And those of us bitten by the A/V bug often dream about what we would do with that room. I have such a room, and six years ago embarked on a wild odyssey to build a dedicated A/V room from scratch. How could someone with limited construction skills, moderate budget, and even more limited tool selection, go about making a clean, professional looking dedicated home theater?

PSB Synchrony One Floor-Standing Speakers

Paul Barton has been in the loudspeaker game for over 35 years and his latest iteration of speakers shows that his experience has been put to good use. The Synchrony Ones are his top of the line 3-way (5 drivers) towers that use some interesting design twists. At nearly 61 pounds apiece, they make an elegant statement of curved wood and aluminum surfaces that blend together in a flawless fashion.

Affordable Systems Reviews: Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R

Looking at a system is intrinsically more involved than looking at a single component. Evaluation of a single component typically holds the balance of the system constant so the performance of the test item can be determined. How then is a system evaluated? The test of a system examines several variables, not the least of which is the reviewer's component selections. Here, we review the Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R.

Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference Strada Speakers and TR3 Subwoofer

Anthony Gallo Acoustics has been known for many years to make very unique, high performance loudspeakers that can deliver world-class performance at reasonable prices and in everyday rooms. I was so impressed with their Reference 3.1 speakers when I reviewed them in 2007 that I bought the review pair. In the past several months, Gallo has significantly upgraded their reference line. The Reference 3.1 has just been replaced with the much more expensive Reference 3.5, but a new speaker system has taken up a new position in the Gallo line at a price point very close to the old Reference 3.1.

Rotel RSX-1560 7.1 A/V Receiver

The RSX-1560 is Rotel's flagship receiver in their new Series 15 audio components. The new cosmetic look of the 15 series is simply stunning and very elegant. More importantly, the 1560 posses two firsts for Rotel receivers. One is the use of Class D amplifiers, specifically Bang & Olufsen ICE power modules. Second, it decodes the latest high resolution movie codecs.

Mixing and Matching: The Paradigm Reference Signature C5 Center Channel Cone Speaker vs. Electrostatics

In most A/V publications, they will tell you to stick with one brand and line of speakers so that the tonality will be the same across the entire soundstage. That's true. But, if you look for neutrality in sound, you can mix and match with no problem. I have used electrostatic speakers (ESLs) in our home theater lab as a reference for years. The problem has always been the center channel. The front left and right ESL are 6 feet tall, and the center channel ESL was only 4 feet, and even then, the motorized projection screen would come down in front of it about a foot. Secondly, ESLs cannot be driven to high SPLs like cone speakers.....So, I decided to use a conventional (cone) speaker for the center channel, the new Paradigm Reference Signature C5 center channel speaker.....Was I disappointed in the results? Read our review to see.

Canton Reference 5.2 DC Floor-Standing Speakers

Back in mid-2005, I auditioned Canton's new Vento line of speakers with an entire surround package, (although the matching sub had yet to be released). I found them impeccably designed and crafted, and they sounded terrific. In this review, I take a look and listen to the Canton Reference 5.2 DC tower (floor-standing) speakers. More-terrific is what I found.

The Ongoing Career of Baritone Benjamin Luxon

English baritone Benjamin Luxon remains prized for the intelligence of his portrayals, and his unfettered directness of expression. Now 72, and devoting much of his time to theater, Luxon came to fame as a member of Benjamin Britten's English Opera Group. After creating the title role in Britten's Owen Wingrave, he proceeded to perform a wide variety of roles in many of the world's leading houses.

Canton GLE 490 Floor-standing Speakers, GLE 455 Center Channel, GLE 430 Bookshelf Speakers, and AS 105 SC Subwoofer

Amidst the many dividing lines in the world of audio and video is the line between those that believe speakers must be single purpose, and those that believe speakers can be multi-purpose. The purposes in question are often music and home theater (alternatively music or home theater depending on what side of the line you are on.) A more pertinent question for this review might be: "How well Canton goes from Pure Music to surround sound in one package?"