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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 08, 2010 6 comments

As I've written many times, the Ultimate Gear blog is intended to cover A/V products that embody extreme performance, design, and/or price. The 2010 ES line of A/V receivers from Sony—which were unveiled last week at a press event in Beverly Hills, California—might not fit any of these criteria, but they include so many unique and highly useful features that I decided I could legitimately cover them here.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 07, 2010 1 comments

Audiophiles know well the name Wadia Digital, a Michigan-based company that has been making high-quality digital-audio products for over 20 years. Now, Wadia has teamed up with California-based Qsonix to create the Q205 high-end music server, which joins the Q210 in the company's new Q2 series.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 30, 2010 Published: Jul 01, 2010 5 comments

Omnidirectional speakers are nothing new, though there are many variations. For example, Italian maker Bolzano Villetri has taken an interesting approach with its Campanile series, which includes floorstanders, a center-channel speaker, and a subwoofer to outfit a complete home theater.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 28, 2010 1 comments

In my never-ending quest for audio and video products with the highest possible performance, style, and/or price, I came across the AN-E/Sogon from British maker Audio Note and distributed in the US by Audio Federation. According to The Most-Expensive Journal, it's the most expensive 2-way speaker in the world.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 21, 2010 2 comments

It seems I spoke too soon. Last week, I profiled the <A href=" Note Gaku-On monoblock</A>, calling it the most expensive power amp I know of on a per-watt basis, which was a true statement at the time. But as soon as I posted that profile, Cornelia Davis of <A href="">Audio Federation</A> informed me of another tube-based monoblock that, watt for watt, costs even more&#151;the ML3 Signature from Brooklyn-based <A href="">Lamm Industries</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 18, 2010 5 comments

Filmmakers and musicians spend countless hours tweaking their images and sound to perfection. But when their masterworks are played on home A/V systems, that carefully crafted music might sound nothing like it did in the studio, and that hot video might look lukewarm on the average flat-panel monitor.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 15, 2010 0 comments

When you consider the price of a power amp, it's interesting to calculate the cost per watt. In that light, the Gaku-On monoblock from British maker <A href="">Audio Note</A> and distributed in the US by <A href="">Audio Federation</A> is the most expensive power amp I know of.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 14, 2010 1 comments

I'm constantly amazed at the number and variety of super-high-end speakers out there. Among the many manufacturers I'd never heard of before is <A href="">Marten</A>, a Swedish maker whose flagship is the magnificent Coltrane Supreme.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2010 3 comments

Is the NL Reference from Florida-based <A href="">Edge Electronics</A> just another high-power, high-priced monoblock power amp? I think not.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2010 4 comments

Of all the various types of audio and video products, speakers seem to offer the most potential for design variation. Case in point&#151;the Magic Flute from Swedish maker <A href="">SWSpeakers</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 01, 2010 11 comments

There are power amps, and there are power amps&#151;and then there's the Pivetta Opera One. Standing six feet tall and weighing over half a ton, this monster is designed by Pivetta Andrea (pictured here with his creation), built by the Italian company bearing his given name, and distributed worldwide exclusively by <A href="">HigherFi</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 26, 2010 Published: May 27, 2010 4 comments

Most CD players and transports are relatively featureless, boring rectangular boxes, but not the Kalista from French boutique maker <A href="">Metronome Technologie</A>. Distributed in the US by <A href="">TMH Audio</A>, the Kalista looks more like a modern sculpture, though it offers plenty of substance in addition to some serious style.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 24, 2010 1 comments

I don't typically cover so-called multimedia speakers in this blog, but when I came across an ad for the GLA-55 from <A href="">Harman Kardon</A> in an upscale magazine, I was intrigued. The cabinet looks like it was chiseled from rock crystal, and its beauty turns out to extend well below the surface.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 20, 2010 7 comments
If the Greek gods had been audiophiles, they might well have used something like the Olympus Sound System (OSS) from Adam Audio, a German high-end maker of products for the professional and consumer markets. This behemoth stands seven feet tall and weighs over 350 pounds with separate enclosures for each set of drivers.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 18, 2010 9 comments

As you may have surmised by now, the Ultimate Gear blog is dedicated to A/V products that are extreme in terms of performance, design, and/or price. I normally try to find items that embody all three elements, but sometimes, one of them takes center stage. So it is with the PrestigeHD Signature Rose LCD TV from British luxury purveyor <A href="">Stuart Hughes</A>, which can be yours for only &#163;1.5 million, or about $2.2 million as of this writing.


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