Riddle Me This
In this blog a couple of months ago, I asked readers to vote on whether you wanted more audio reviews with fewer objective measurements or fewer reviews with more measurements, a choice I had to make in the face of budgetary constraints. Your input was very helpful, so now, I have another question for you...
Here it is: What specific products would you like to see reviewed by UAV? According to our Web-traffic metrics, the most popular product reviews are flat panels, A/V receivers, front projectors, and speakers, so that's what I've been concentrating on. But even within those categories, there are way too many products to review, so I must choose which ones get the cheese. My first goal is to provide reviews of the products that are of most interest to our readers, which is where you come in.
Which flat panels do you want to see reviewed? Are you more interested in high-end or budget models? What about preferred sizes? Of course, I'll continue to include as many products as I can from the big guys—Sony, Samsung, Pioneer, Panasonic, LG, Sharp (which has been much less forthcoming with review samples than just about any other company for some unknown reason), and so on—but I've also arranged to look at a NuVision at the higher end and a Westinghouse at the budget end, both of which you'll see on the site soon. I'm also awaiting one of Vizio's new models, which have represented the low-cost category with distinction in the past.
When it comes to AVRs, I've decided to review only those that can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Kim Wilson is currently working on a couple of low-cost models—that is, well under $1000—with these capabilities, so look for those soon. At the other end of the spectrum are über-receivers. My minimum decoder requirement leaves out the Lexicon RV-5, a $4000 model that would otherwise merit a review, but I think the ability to decode the new audio formats is a must in today's A/V world, don't you? David Vaughn is working on the Yamaha RX-Z11, and he's waiting to get the Denon AVR-5308CI. Are there any others you'd like to see?
Front projectors have always been a staple of UAV, and they will remain so. Tom Norton's review of the JVC DLA-HD100 will soon be posted, and he just got the Planar PD8150, both of which list for less than $10k. I'm working on the Panasonic PT-AE2000 and Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 UB, which are in the $3k range. Of course, we could also be looking at projectors that cost much more if you're interested.
Speakers are among the trickiest products to review—they require much more time to set up than most other products, and complete systems can be mega-expensive. I'm trying to get some less-pricey systems, such as the Magnepan MMG, which lists for less than $1k—look for Wes Phillips' review this week. Other candidates include the Klipsch RF-52, Quad L-ite, and Mirage Nanosat Prestige, each of which carries a system price in the $2k range. Also interesting is the Phase Technology DARTS system, which crosses the $10k barrier. Are there any speaker systems you've been curious about? What about subwoofers?
Of course, we will also review other types of products, particularly Blu-ray players as they become available. I'm also very interested in media-center PCs—in fact, I just got the Sony TP25, which offers a Blu-ray player, Internet TV, and HD DVR capabilities.
And we will certainly not forsake surround preamp/processors—David Vaughn recently reviewed the Onkyo Professional PR-SC885, and Gary Altunian is working on the Anthem D2. I have no multichannel power amps lined up, mostly because the ones I've been offered require more dedicated AC power than most reviewers have in their home theaters, but if you'd like to suggest one for consideration, I'm all ears.
I invite you to leave a comment after this blog or write to me at the e-mail address below with your suggestions and requests for reviews. With your help, I can deliver the information you and your fellow readers need to make the best possible purchase decisions.
If you have an audio/video question for me, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.