2010 Top Picks of the Year Page 2
Best Surround Processor
With Google Earth–sized circuit boards crammed with tons of high-performance discrete and integrated components, Classé wins the no-kill-like-overkill award for its bulletproof CT-SSP surround processor. Purring with the finest multichannel sound a film director could imagine, this ergonomically seductive, technically flawless processor puts you into the mix like no other.
Cary Audio Cinema 11a Surround Processor, $4,000
This beauty is a beast. The 113-pound Classé CT-5300 offers five balanced inputs with the quietest background levels of any 300-watt-per-channel amp you’re likely to hear. Offering up that elusive jump factor that many attempt but few achieve, the superbly sublime CT-5300 will make any speaker your bitch.
Best Source Component
In an industry that’s becoming more commoditized by the day, Kaleidescape is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. More than a mere media server, the Kaleidescape system is a networked, multiroom media distribution system driven by a powerful, metadata-enriched user interface that anyone can use. A movie
lover’s dream come true.
Sonos Bundle 250, $999
Best Budget Product
This feature-packed A/V receiver sports 3D-friendly HDMI 1.4a, THX Select2 Plus certification, Dolby’s Pro Logic IIz height mode, and a full Audyssey suite
2EQ auto setup and room correction, Dynamic EQ/Volume low-volume listening smarts, and DSX height/width enhancement. That hissing sound you hear is the helpless fuming of other manufacturers.
Logitech Squeezebox Touch Media Server, $300
Product Of The Year
This year, as always, there was a long line of worthy candidates for our Product of the Year. But 3D is the talk of the hour, and the Panasonic TC-P50VT25 is, so far, as good as it gets for 3D at home. It shines in 2D as well. While it isn’t exactly a blue-light special, the price is remarkable for the quality it offers.
Runner-Up Kaleidescape 1U Server and M500 Player, $16,470