When we select gear to review at Sound & Vision, we shy away from stuff that seems inferior or merely mimics what's already available. We look for products that represent an important trend or new development - whether a technological breakthrough, a leap in performance, or a bold design statement.
We all long for big, bodacious home theater systems. Unfortunately, many of us, especially urban dwellers, find ourselves shoehorning 100 pounds of gear into a 10-pound space. Some videophiles even resort to pitiful little satellite speakers the size of Ping-Pong balls.
Tannoy has been designing and manufacturing speakers in the United Kingdom for as long as anyone can recall. The word "Tannoy," in fact, is as generic in Britain as "Scotch tape" is here. If a Brit tells you that he just heard something on the "Tannoy," you're more likely to be in a train station than a hi-fi shop, and he's talking about an announcement on the PA system.
Location, location, location. What's important in real estate is just as important in subwoofer perfor-mance. (And speaker performance in general, but that's a story for another day.) While agreement on recommendations for subwoofer placement is less than complete—some say "in the corner," some say "anywhere but the corner"—everyone agrees that the location of a subwoofer and its relation to the listening area can have a major influence on how the sub sounds.
JVC's first foray into fixed-pixel, rear-projection TVs a few years back was a big, embarrassing disappointment. The D'Ahlia, as the product was called, was introduced at a gala Times Square press extravaganza. The sets on display used Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier (D-ILA) technology, JVC's variant of liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS).
When Paul Barton was a youngster, he showed great promise as a violinist—so much promise that his father spent an entire year building him a violin based on one of Antonio Stradivari's most thoroughly studied instruments. Barton still has that violin, and still plays music regularly, but he long ago decided that the musician's life was not for him as a primary vocation. Instead, Barton decided to design speakers.
Back in the misty days when 2-channel stereo was still an exciting new format and tubes ruled the land, Sherwood was a brand name to be reckoned with. Together with such companies as Harman/Kardon, Fisher, Marantz, and McIntosh, Sherwood was instrumental in launching the American hi-fi industry on a path that would culminate in today's high-end audio gear—grist for our sister publication, <I>Stereophile</I>.
Since Revel's formation in 1996, few other speaker makers have garnered as much critical acclaim for their products. Revel speakers have a reputation for not only sounding wonderful, but also measuring well and having striking good looks. The only problem with Revel's original Ultima series speakers was their price, at which even veteran audio reviewers blinked twice.
The STR-DA9000ES is Sony's entry in what has become a new trend in home theater: receivers that seriously challenge separate components. That challenge is extended not only in features and performance, but in size as well. Many of these new behemoths equal the sheer bulk of more than a few preamplifier-processor and amplifier combinations.
DVD is not only the king of the home theater, the benefits have been trickling down to the portable realm for years now, raising both the standards and the subsequent expectations of mobile power-users. Here are three of the most innovative and enjoyable products to come our way.