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AV RECEIVER REVIEWS

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uavKim Wilson Posted: Jun 11, 2008 0 comments

New technologies have a way of becoming less expensive over a shorter period of time with each passing year. Case in point—the RX-V663 A/V receiver from Yamaha, which provides a complete 7.1-channel system (95Wpc) with some of the most advanced features available in an AVR for less than $600.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 12, 2008 0 comments
Now this is the way to set up a system.

This month, we break new ground in Spotlight Systems. Normally, we pair off a surround speaker package with surround electronics. But that ignores the whole subject of signal sources, without which, after all, all of our systems would be dark and silent. So this time out, we’re mating an up-to-the-minute receiver, the Sony STR-DA4300ES, with an oh-so-hip Blu-ray player, the Sony BDP-S500. And no, Sony didn’t slip me a suitcase full of cash for doing this.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 07, 2008 0 comments

According to Wikipedia, a flagship is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels that is usually the fastest, largest, newest, or most heavily armed. In terms of home-theater electronics, a flagship model is the company's top-of-the-line design, with cutting-edge features, capabilities, and technologies.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 04, 2008 0 comments
Let’s face it: The French have a better shape.

To Americans accustomed to seeing other Americans waddling through shopping malls—and let me be the first to admit I’ve been doing a fair amount of waddling myself lately—the streets of Paris come as a pleasant shock. How do people who feast on duck liver and red wine stay so lean and sexy? Perhaps that eternal mystery springs from the same source as Cabasse’s fashionably thin Artis Baltic Evolution tower loudspeaker. Like one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s amazing cantilevered houses, it seems to defy gravity, the sphere holding its coaxial driver array floating on a skinny diagonal slash of solid wood. I suspect that the people who designed the speaker sat down to an excellent dinner afterward.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 14, 2008 1 comments
Connected where it counts.

Marantz is a brand name. It was once an individual as well. What would Saul Marantz have made of the SR8002 A/V receiver? It bears little resemblance to the hi-fi products he hand-built in his home in Kew Gardens, New York, during the 1950s—or to the Japanese-made receivers that popularized component audio systems in the 1970s. Saul lived until 1997, so he was not unfamiliar with the concept of surround sound by the time he passed away—but his younger self would have been astonished to see 11 pairs of binding posts on the back of the SR8002. Not to mention some unfamiliar jacks labeled HDMI. What are those for?

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 02, 2008 Published: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
From the company that goes itself one better.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 18, 2008 0 comments
Sense and sensibility and connectivity.

One of the home theater industry’s greatest sins is modesty. If excessively modest people hide their lights under a bushel, speaker and receiver manufacturers go them one better, hiding their achievements in boxes. Boxes with drivers on the front, boxes with buttons and knobs that sit in a rack—boxes. True, surround speaker packages that break away from the boxy norm are slowly making inroads into the conservative milieu of home theater, just as some clever surround receivers boast digital amps and slim form factors. This month’s Spotlight System does none of those things. To divine what’s special about it, you’ll have to look deeply into its soul.

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Kim Wilson Posted: Mar 17, 2008 0 comments
Never has the field been so full of top-quality A/V Receivers and the competition is fierce among the top manufacturers for these types of components. It used to be that low-end models kept costs down by eliminating features and seriously compromising sound quality. However, consumers have come to expect the most bang for the buck, at any price, significantly raising the bar on less expensive models such as the $749 Denon AVR-888.
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uavKim Wilson Posted: Mar 13, 2008 0 comments

If a Pioneer A/V receiver is given the distinguished Elite status, you can bet it's going to provide top-level features and performance. So it is with the Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH, a 7.1-channel, THX Select2-certified AVR that employs Pioneer's proprietary Advanced MCACC (Multi-Channel ACoustic Calibration) speaker and EQ configuration along with a Faroudja DCDi video scaler. It also features Pioneer's Home Media Gallery, which lets you access audio files from PCs and receive Internet radio stations.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 07, 2008 0 comments

The A/V receiver marketplace is a crowded world these days. At one end are low-cost models sold through retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City, while the other end is occupied by upscale brands with upscale prices. (Interestingly, some of these upscale brands are now showing up at the big-box retailers as the average selling price of AVRs increases, due in part to the influence of Blu-ray.)

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Feb 10, 2008 0 comments

In <I>Donny Darko</I>, Drew Barrymore's character, Ms. Pomery, says that a famous linguist once proclaimed "cellar door" to be the most beautiful phrase in the English language. I'm here to recommend we consider "Marantz" for that title, because it reproduces the most beautiful sounds in <I>any</I> language. Be it Zoot Sims on JVC XRCD, Claudio Arrau playing Beethoven sonatas from a Philips CD, or that gawd-awful good <I>Transformers</I> movie on HD DVD, the Marantz is beauty personified!

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 03, 2008 0 comments

With nearly 100 years of history behind it, Denon Electronics has high standards for any product it releases. The company is particularly strong in AVRs (audio/video receivers), with products ranging from the budget class all the way up to high-end models surpassing the $5000 mark.

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Kim Wilson Posted: Jan 21, 2008 0 comments
Sony offers two lines of A/V components and has always saved the best features and performance for the ES Series. While more stripped down than some higher-end models, the STR-DA4300ES offers an abundance of state-of-the art features and performance including onboard decoding of Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, plenty of power for a full 7.1 home theater system, automatic set up and room calibration, HDMI ver.1.3 switching and Sony's powerful Xross Media Bar user interface.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 04, 2008 Published: Jan 04, 2008 0 comments
From Youngstown with love.

There are people who claim to read your future in your palm. Others reach conclusions about your income, taste, and character according to what type of shoes you're wearing. For my own part, I can look at your selection of loudspeakers and know exactly what kind of home theater person you are.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 18, 2008 Published: Dec 18, 2007 0 comments
Dress your home in cherry and amber.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect some kind of hands-across-the-water design coordination in this month's Spotlight System. When the people at Aperion Audio hit upon the handsome cherry veneer finish that graces the Intimus 533 Cinema HD speaker system, the last thing on their mind was the amber display, a longstanding traditional trait, incidentally, of Yamaha receivers. Nonetheless, a harmony did arise between the two golden hues. Of course, the speakers also come in a high-gloss, piano-black finish, but then, the receiver has a black chassis. This merely proves my point, doesn't it?

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