PREMIERE DESIGN

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 27, 2010 5 comments
Just because a product isn't the company's most expensive doesn't mean it can't perform exceedingly well. Take, for example, the Maestro Utopia, which occupies the middle of Focal's Utopia III lineup.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 26, 2010 1 comments
Last month, I profiled the Puccini CD/SACD player from British dCS, an all-in-one package and the company's least-expensive audio-disc spinner at a mere $18,000. At the other end of the scale is the Scarlatti, a 3-box system that costs—well, a lot more.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 25, 2010 2 comments
Wolf Cinema is well known for its DCX series of high-end home-theater DLP projectors—in fact, I've profiled them here and here. Now, Wolf is tackling the challenge of LED illumination in its new DCL-200FD.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 24, 2010 Published: Aug 25, 2010 1 comments
I've seen plenty of horn-based speakers, but nothing like the Vox Olympian from British Living Voice. This magnificent monster is as much sculpture as it is speaker.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 23, 2010 0 comments
For most audiophiles, speakers are the last link in the signal chain before the music reaches their ears. But the acoustic interaction between the speakers and the room can cause all sorts of problems that are completely avoided by using headphones instead. And the ultimate headphones are widely considered to come from Japanese maker Stax, especially the flagship SR-007 MK2. Unlike most products I profile here, I actually got to try these amazing headphones for myself, and it was an experience not soon forgotten.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 20, 2010 0 comments
As my previous profiles of the Titan Reference and Titan Reference 3D projectors from Digital Projection International (DPI) make clear, they are nothing if not ultimate gear. But if $70,000 to $104,500 is a bit too much for your bank account, you can still get 3-chip DLP performance for much less with the company's HIGHlite Cine 260 models.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 17, 2010 0 comments
And now for something completely different—a subwoofer that looks like a fan and can reproduce frequencies down to 1Hz and below. Yep, you read that right—1Hz and below. Developed by Bruce Thigpen and available from Eminent Technology, the Thigpen Rotary Woofer Model 17 (TRW-17) breaks entirely new ground at the very bottom of the sonic spectrum.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 16, 2010 2 comments
When I came across Stereophile's review of the SPM 14000 Ultimate monoblock power amp from UK-based Chord Electronics, I knew I had to cover it here. Hey, any product with the word "Ultimate" in its name is fair game for Ultimate Gear! And it's the perfect mate to the CPA 8000 preamp, which I profiled last April.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 13, 2010 9 comments
The Italian high-end bastion Sonus Faber is well known among audiophiles for its superb speakers. Just over a month ago, the company introduced its latest creation—the Fenice—at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 12, 2010 2 comments
According to the company's website, Audio Research is one of the oldest continuously operating manufacturers in American audio, having opened its doors in 1970. Among its many current products is the flagship Reference 610T monoblock power amp.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 10, 2010 0 comments
Perhaps best known for founding and heading Sonus Faber from 1983 to 2005, Franco Serblin now has a new venture—the Ktêma speaker, named for the Greek expression, Ktêma eis aei, "a possession forever."
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 10, 2010 2 comments

Last year in this blog, I profiled the high-end DCX-series 3-chip DLP projectors from Wolf Cinema. Last week, I joined Tom Norton and Shane Buettner for a tour of Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA, where DCX projectors are being used in two historic screening rooms.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 10, 2010 0 comments

Network music servers perform several distinct functions—acquiring and storing digital-audio files, managing and selecting what you want to listen to, streaming those files over a wired and/or wireless network, and receiving those files so the music can be played on a sound system. Most music-server products provide all these functions in an integrated system, but Scottish high-end long-timer Linn has taken a different approach. It's Digital Stream players, including the flagship Klimax DS, are strictly client devices that receive audio streams from the network and play them on any sound system.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 05, 2010 11 comments

Many have tried, but few have succeeded in simulating a convincing surround soundfield with conventional headphones. Several years ago, I heard a demo of one such system from UK-based Smyth Research, and it really knocked my socks off. That was a prototype, but the technology, known as Smyth Virtual Surround (SVS), is now available in a commercial product called the Realiser A8.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 03, 2010 0 comments

Photo courtesy Surround Sounds, Perth, Australia

If you've been reading about home theater for any length of time, you've probably heard of Stewart Filmscreen, a family-owned company that represents the lion's share of the consumer and commercial projection-screen market. Its product range is vast, so I'll focus on three high-end home-oriented offerings—CineCurve, Director's Choice 2.0, and StarGlas.

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