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Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge Projection Screen

When designing a home theater, the screen is often the last consideration in the plan. After all, it's much more interesting to research electronics and their associated specs than to look through screen material samples and frame designs. Other than size, few of us think much about our choice of screen. Screen Innovations markets projection screens in all sizes, aspect ratios, and gain (screen brightness). In this review, we take a look at their Black Diamond Zero Edge projection screen.

Toshiba 55SL417U 55″ Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV

With all the hoopla surrounding 3D, the other big innovation in HDTVs has been largely forgotten – LED backlighting. For an image-quality geek like me though, this is a far more significant advance in technology. LCD panels can now play in the same black-level arena as plasma TVs. In some cases, they even exceed. As anyone schooled in imaging science will tell you, dynamic range is the single most important factor in perceived image quality. Let's take a look at this Toshiba 55" HDTV with edge lit LED backlighting.

McIntosh MX150 7.1 A/V Surround Sound Processor (SSP)

McIntosh Laboratory is well known for producing some of the finest quality luxury audio components on the market. I've always been a fan of McIntosh products and I enjoyed visiting the McIntosh suite at CES 2011 this past January. I was intrigued by the MX150 A/V Control Center, which is McIntosh's take on the ultimate home theater processor (SSP). I asked for a review sample, and a few months later couldn't believe that I actually had an MX150 on my front porch.

Melody Moore: The World Premiere of Heart of a Soldier

On September 10, 2011, one day before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, composer Christopher Theofanidis' first opera, Heart of a Soldier, has its world premiere at San Francisco Opera. A modern day hero's journey / love story, the opera tells the tale of Rick Rescorla, a multi-decorated Vietnam war hero who, years later, rescued over 2700 people from the World Trade Center before perishing in the Twin Towers collapse.

KEF Q300 Bookshelf Speakers

KEF recently introduced an all new Uni-Q driver. The Q300's are the largest bookshelf models in the "All New Q Series" speaker line. Will KEF be able to further their reputation as a high value brand with the all-new Q300's?

Home Theater Movie Renter’s Guide – August, 2011

Source Code (Blu-ray), Amelie (Blu-ray), Rango (Blu-ray), Brazil (Blu-ray), The Smurfs (DVD), Unknown (Blu-ray), Your Highness (Blu-ray), The Blues Brothers (Blu-ray), Chocolat (Blu-ray), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Blu-ray), Mars Needs Moms 3D (3D Blu-ray), The Big Lebowski (Blu-ray), Paul (Blu-ray), National Lampoon's Animal House (Blu-ray), Dazed and Confused (Blu-ray), Jane Eyre (Blu-ray)

Definitive Technology

Definitive Technology has been committed to building superior sounding home audio and home theater loudspeakers since 1990, when the company was founded by Sandy Gross, Don Givogue and Ed Blais lifelong audiophiles and experts in speaker design, acoustics and marketing.

Home Theater Movie Renter’s Guide – April, 2011

The Next Three Days (Blu-ray), Little Fockers (Blu-ray), Babe (Blu-ray), The Fighter (Blu-ray), I Love You Phillip Morris (Blu-ray), The Ten Commandments (Blu-ray), Tangled 3D (Blu-ray), Black Swan (Blu-ray), Every Day (Blu-ray), Tron (Blu-ray), Tron Legacy 3D (Blu-ray), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Blu-ray), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (Blu-ray), The Resident (Blu-ray), Somewhere (Blu-ray), Taxi Driver (Blu-ray) A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Blu-ray),  Fiddler on the Roof (Blu-ray), Rabbit Hole (DVD), The Incredibles (Blu-ray)

Emotiva XPA-3 Three-Channel Power Amplifier

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.

Toshiba BDX3000 Blu-ray 3D Player

By now you've heard lots about 3D TVs. Every manufacturer has at least one 3D-capable model and even the projector companies are offering new products that include this technology. The display is not the only component required to view 3D however. You will also need, at a minimum, a new Blu-ray player. The format itself has not changed but a 3D model is required to view Blu-ray 3D discs. No matter what the brand, every 3D flat panel has a companion player. In the case of the Toshiba WX800 Cinema Series LED panel, recently reviewed at Secrets, that player is the BDX3000.

A Collection of New Vinyl Releases for the Audiophile – March, 2011

Folks who know these things'll tell you about how the Drive-By Truckers can black out your night in a distorted ocean of guitars and whiskey-soaked rock and roll attitude. They're right. On their latest, "Go-Go Boots," they take a different tact. This is a cleaner affair, but that's all relative, of course. A barroom bathroom is typically cleaner than a music festival portable toilet, but you still wouldn't want to lie down there.

Crystal Acoustics TX-3D12 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System

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.

Earthquake Titan Tigris Floor-standing Speakers

Earthquake Sound is a company best known for producing knock your socks off subwoofers and amplifiers for home theater. They also manufacture several lines of speakers, including the Titans. The Titan Tigris weighs 89 pounds each and stands nearly 5 feet high, with an MSRP of $9,500 per pair. They are certainly imposing speakers that look the part, and are priced to compete with the crème-de-la-crème of tower speakers. In this review we'll see how they perform.

Marantz AV7005 7.1 A/V Processor

In 2009 I got to review the Marantz AV8003 processor and amp, and they helped to convince me of the benefits of separates over a receiver, and with how important it is overall to the performance of your whole system. In this review, we take a look at the AV7005 7.1 A/V Surround Sound Processor (SSP), which has an excellent feature set, including fully balanced analog audio XLR outputs for all channels.