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Chris Lewis

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Chris Lewis Posted: Jan 01, 2003 0 comments
The new flagship from the creators of the form.

Where's the first place you look when you saddle up to the bar at your favorite watering hole? Some may say the waitress station or the sorority party in the back room; but, when it's time for business, you look at the top shelf. For it's in that rarified air that you'll find the 30-year-old Springbank, the Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, or the Old Rip Van Winkle. Then you scan the middle sections and find the 8-year-old Springbank, the Wild Turkey 101, or maybe some Crown Royal. Finally, it's down to the bottom shelf for the Banker's Club, the bottle that just says "whiskey," or my personal favorite: the jug with three Xs.

Chris Lewis Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments
Another contender emerges among entry-level separates.

In case you hadn't noticed, the bell has rung, and the blows are flying in the $3,000-to-$5,000 range for electronics systems (i.e., preamplification, processing, and amplification). It's easy to characterize this as a melee between receivers and separates, which is a key component of what we're seeing at this price level. Receivers are sounding better and getting more expensive; separates are getting more user-friendly, offering more features, and dropping in price.

Chris Lewis Posted: Mar 18, 2005 0 comments
The Canadians and the Brits are at it again.

If you know your history, then you already know that the Canadians and the English can do some good things when they get together. While we were taking care of our business down at Utah and Omaha, the Canadians and the Brits were giving the Germans a pretty good working-over of their own up the beach at Normandy. They even teamed up rather effectively against us during the American Revolution and War of 1812, managing to hang on to Canada despite our various efforts to take it and, in the process, preserving one of England's last real toeholds in the New World.

Chris Lewis Posted: Dec 19, 2002 Published: Dec 20, 2002 0 comments
A flagship pre/pro, Arcam's way.

If there's one thing I know about Arcam, it's that they like to do things their own way. Yes, this is a high-end company and, as such, is relatively small—which usually means that they wouldn't have the resources to do major product overhauls or built-from-scratch developments very often. This being Arcam, though, it didn't surprise me when I heard that they were spending gobs of time and money developing a new statement pre/pro for their top-shelf FMJ line. Back in February, I spent some time with their DV27 DVD player—another built-from-the-ground-up effort—and was sincerely impressed, so I was curious to see what these fellows across the pond could accomplish when they set their sights on the world of flagship pre/pros.

Chris Lewis Posted: Feb 02, 2002 Published: Feb 03, 2002 0 comments
Don't believe us? Just check out Arcam's DV27 DVD player.

Killing time on an airplane is never an easy thing to do. Thankfully, over the past couple of years, I've developed an entertaining way to do just that on my return trips from our industry trade shows: reliving all of the bizarre things people have told me over the previous days. The source of these statements is broad-based: manufacturers, PR people, dealers, and even my fellow journalists (yours truly, of course, has never said anything dumb at a show—as far as you know). Maybe it's the long hours and lack of sleep or the rivers of free booze that wind their way through these events. At this year's CEDIA Expo, a representative from a large manufacturer (which will go unnamed) resolutely declared that, outside of the lowest price ranges, nobody is going to buy a DVD player that doesn't process DVD-Audio or SACD. Maybe he was trying to appeal to my well-documented affinity for these high-resolution formats, or maybe he hadn't quite sobered up yet. I imagine that my dumbfounded look made it clear that even a biased audio fellow like myself certainly couldn't agree at this stage in the game—if ever.

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Chris Lewis Posted: May 26, 2000 Published: May 27, 2000 0 comments
A modular twist to the home theater concept.

Having spent the first 18 years of my life in the great state of Alaska, it seems only natural that I've developed a taste for some of Canada's finer exports. As if hockey, some tasty rye whiskeys, and all that fresh powder that sweeps down upon the western ski resorts from the north weren't enough, the disproportionately high number of quality loudspeakers produced there intrigues me, as well. There may be fewer speaker manufacturers in that entire country than in certain regions of the U.S., but I'll wager that Canada's ratio of solid to subpar speaker offerings will hold its own against any other country in the mix.

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Chris Lewis Posted: Oct 22, 2005 0 comments
Diamonds can be everyone's best friend.

If truth be told, I have little use for diamonds in their conventional form. This probably stems from all the pomp and pageantry that surrounds them—not to mention my disdain for those people who drape themselves in the stones and attempt to outshine everyone else with their brilliance. This hardly means that I have little respect for diamonds, though, even if this respect is far more about material than materialism. Since ancient times, mankind has recognized the value of the diamond for pragmatic applications, in everything from grinding and engraving tools, to drill bits, to turntable styli and semiconductors.

Chris Lewis Posted: Feb 15, 2005 0 comments
Good sound made easy by Lexicon and Canton.

In case you didn't believe we were serious about dedicating more of our pages to the overriding reality of home theater—the necessity of individual components coming together to form a cohesive system—we offer exhibit B, our new Spotlight System review. Exhibit A, for those keeping score, is our Hook Me Up column: Sometimes it includes reviews, and sometimes it doesn't, but it always keeps an eye on system issues, especially connections. This new column contains all of the elements of a standard gear review, with the notable exception of being focused on a system, rather than individual components.

Chris Lewis Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
High-end home theater for the rest of us.

Home theater in 2004 is like America in the 1950s, with a middle class that has steadily been building momentum and now finds itself in the midst of a major breakout. The same philosophy of the good life at a better price that spawned a culture of suburbs and credit-card debt in the '50s is spawning an unprecedented emergence of high-end home theater components at mid-level prices in the '00s.

Chris Lewis Posted: Mar 18, 2005 0 comments
It's a speaker system away from an HTIB, with more bang for the buck.

Back in the days before HTIBs, there was another kind of home-theater-in-a-box—better known as an A/V receiver. In this era of consolidation, we probably don't entirely grasp the impact that A/V receivers had when they debuted some 25 years ago. A preamplifier, processor, and amplifier all in one box (literally), with a radio tuner thrown in for good measure, was impressive stuff back in the early '80s. Receivers were the Swiss Army knives of home audio, and they, along with surround sound itself, are probably as responsible as anything for the audio explosion amongst the masses that we now know as home theater.

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