POWER AMPLIFIER REVIEWS

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Michael Berk Posted: Aug 03, 2011 0 comments

In a sure sign that the low-cost DAC is finding its place as an object of mass consumer desire, NuForce has released a 24-karat gold plated version of their uDAC-2 converter-and-headphone-amp combo unit

Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 04, 2011 9 comments

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Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Receiver priced, separates performance and power • Next-gen Internet connectivity and versatility • Sophisticated sonics, simplified setup

Everybody’s Been Burned

Are you weighed down by a boat anchor of an expensive, powerful, but obsolete A/V receiver that doesn’t have HDMI inputs or processing for the latest lossless audio formats? You’re not alone. Everybody’s been burned by fast-moving technological change. You could unload your boat anchor for a few hundred dollars on eBay or AudiogoN and start over. But should you? Consider that today’s cost-conscious race-to-the-bottom A/V receivers and even some separates seem to be getting cheaper but worse sounding, not better. But if Marantz’s AV7005 surround processor and MM7055 amplifier are as good as the hype suggests, this could be the way to go. And in case of future obsolescence, at least now you’re into separates, which makes upgrades a less pricey proposition.

Michael Fremer Posted: Oct 20, 2010 2 comments
Price: $4,998 At A Glance: Superior surround processor sonics • Excellent ergonomics • Cool-running ICEpower amp lacks definition

The Ladder to the High End

You’ve got to have sympathy for sound- and build-quality-oriented A/V electronics manufacturers like Rotel. You can go online, and for four hundred bucks and change buy a “630-watt” 7.1-channel AVR from a big-name manufacturer with all the latest lossless audio decoding from Dolby and DTS, video processing, 1080p HDMI switching, upconversion, and more. Since many people these days don’t care about good sound and because they’ve never actually heard it, they think, “Everything sounds the same.” And they think they should get it all for a pittance.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 21, 2010 1 comments

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Price: $18,000 At A Glance: Audio is smooth yet highly detailed • Amp has power to drive cattle • Great ergonomics • Spartan video

HT editor Shane Buettner laughed at me when I told him I spent two months strength training before the Revel Salon2 speakers arrived at my home last year.

Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 12, 2010 0 comments

Cinema 11a Surround Processor
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Model 7.125 Amplifier
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Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Minimal video-switching capabilities • Maximum sound quality • Amplifier made in America

Core Audiophile Values

During the last decade or so, specialty audio manufacturers have seen the marriage of home theater and high-performance audio become contentious at best and life threatening at worst. These days, companies have fewer financial resources and longer R&D lead times. Relatively small audiophile-oriented companies that sought the A/V path have been overwhelmed. Sometimes, fast-moving, shelf-life-shortening developments­—such as the adaptation of new audio and video formats—have burned these companies outright.

Kris Deering Posted: Jul 27, 2009 0 comments

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Price: $15,000 At A Glance: State-of-the-art video and audio performance • Customizable amplifier • Sets the bar for connectivity • Tedious GUI and remote

Both Guns Blazing

The separates market has long been the pinnacle of audio performance for high-end home theater setups. But you’ve always had to pay a price for that performance: the lack of bleeding-edge features. While standalone processors typically set the bar for pure audio performance, many of them lack the latest features that A/V receivers offer. I’ve been guilty of envious glances at the latest high-end receiver designs, wishing that those cutting-edge features would find their way into a reference-level surround processor. But unfortunately that hasn’t been the reality—until now, that is.

uavKim Wilson Posted: Feb 05, 2009 0 comments

Like any job, once in a while a project comes along to remind us why we chose our profession in the first place, something that really gets us excited and enthusiastic again. So, it was with great pleasure and even a sense of honor that I accepted the assignment to review the Denon AVP-A1HDCI surround preamp/processor and POA-A1HDCI 10-channel power amplifier for <I>UAV</I>.

uavGary Altunian Posted: Oct 17, 2008 0 comments
I love big, beefy power amplifiers for the same reason I enjoy high-performance automobiles. An economy car will get me to my destination, but it's just not as much fun.
Michael Fremer Posted: Oct 13, 2008 0 comments
An Antidote to the AVR

With flagship A/V receivers approaching apartment building size and black-hole heft, there’s a great deal to be said about separating the brains of the operation from the brawn. If you choose separates, it means you never have to borrow a construction crane to hoist a feature-laden, mega-watt seven- or eight-channel receiver onto a tall equipment rack.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Oct 06, 2008 0 comments
Separates Are What Keep Us Apart

Back in the days when CRT front projectors roamed the earth, any serious home theater required a separate surround processor and amplifier. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon to find a Tri-Amplisauri from Parasound, Proceed, and others covering those three all-important front channels. Of course, technology has advanced significantly in the past decade. These days, unless you have some very special needs, you can’t go wrong with today’s powerful and reasonably priced one-piece receivers. Many have more amplified channels than Hillary Clinton has pant suits. Rotel makes a number of A/V receivers. I even reviewed one for UltimateAVmag.com a few years ago. But the separates I reviewed here are not simply a case of cutting the baby in half. This here is a new species.

uavGary Altunian Posted: Sep 22, 2008 0 comments
A power amplifier is the last electronic component in the audio chain—well, next-to-last if you count the speakers—and it has several important tasks. It must amplify a very small audio signal without changing the signal's characteristics, it must precisely control each speaker in the system, and it must instantaneously deliver adequate voltage and current to each speaker on demand. As such, the power amp is where the rubber meets the road.
uavKim Wilson Posted: Aug 20, 2008 0 comments

In the world of cars, any make and model will get you where you need to go. Some will get you there faster, and others will get you there in style. However, only a select few exude an air of sophistication and grace.

David Vaughn Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments

Performance
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You've probably never heard of a company called Wyred 4 Sound. Neither had I until I was offered the opportunity to review one of its multichannel power amps for UAV. W4S is a California-based company whose goal is to design, engineer, and manufacture high-end audio products with audiophile performance at affordable prices.
Jerry Kindela Posted: Jul 23, 2007 0 comments
Pushing the technology envelope.

Founded in early 1972 by Ivor Tiefenbrun, Scottish manufacturer Linn Products has consistently been on the cutting edge of audio development and delivered products that have enamored many audiophiles. Just think of the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, the Sondek CD12 compact-disc player, or even the Komponent speaker system that Michael Trei reviewed in these pages (in the March 2006 issue). Linn has routinely pushed the boundaries and treaded ahead of the manufacturing pack. Case in point: the Chakra range of amplifiers, which rely on switch-mode power supplies, plus other proprietary developments on the audio-circuit side.

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