Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 21, 2008 0 comments
Making receivers easy. Well, easier.

The Consumer Electronics Association recently kicked off a “Convert Your Mom” campaign to advance the transition to digital television. One thing your mom will probably never want is a surround receiver. Sure, no home theater buff in her right mind would relegate audio functions to TV speakers. But, although the receiver is the nerve center for many systems, it’s also a stumbling block to many potential users. Receivers just do too many good things—entailing setup and adjustment hassles along the way. Make them simpler, and you lose capabilities. Make them full featured, and you get an instruction manual that’s like War and Peace (minus the literary merit).

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 14, 2011 0 comments
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Price: $900 At A Glance: Clean, smooth amplification • Direct USB input and app for iDevices • Bluetooth, DLNA media access

Some manufacturers of audio/video receivers offer two different lines. There’s a value-oriented line for the hardheaded consumer who wants as many features per dollar as possible. And then there’s a higher-end line for the consumer who also wants a full feature set but is willing to pay more for better build quality and higher performance. Yamaha goes a step further, dividing its 13 receivers into three lines.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 26, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Numerous networked music options including Rhapsody • Anchor Bay VRS video processing • HDMI 1.3 connectivity excludes 3D

Features, Performance, or Both?

In Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon, a violent crime is followed by several markedly variable versions of the same story as told from the viewpoints of four different characters: the criminal, two victims, and finally a relatively neutral observer. In the same manner, readers may finish this review with wildly divergent ideas of what’s important and whether the Yamaha RX-Z7 is right for them.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 12, 2014 0 comments
Yamaha's excellent Aventage surround receiver line now features two Dolby Atmos compatible models, both with nine amp channels: the RX-A3040 ($2199, 150 watts with two channels driven) and RX-A2040 ($1699, 140 watts with two channels driven). The semi-enclosed demo, with Yamaha speakers, was crisp enough to rise above the noise of the show floor, and the height effects (from ceiling speakers) were clearly discernible. Yamaha also showed its first sound base, the SRT-1000 ($500), which features eight front "beam drivers" along with two oval mid-woofers and two bottom-firing bass drivers. Made of sturdy MDF, it is designed to hold sets up to 88 pounds and 55 inches. In addition Yamaha showed two soundbars, one with HDMI input and lossless surround decoding for $1000 and one with legacy inputs for $399. The former is the YSP-2500, which simulates "true 7.1" surround from 16 beam drivers. It is the first soundbar we've encountered with a headphone jack.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 05, 2008 0 comments
ONLY .00001 PERCENT OF THE U.S. POPULATION WILL OWN ONE, says Yamaha of its top-line RX-Z11 receiver. What Yamaha does not mention is that the other 99 point something percent are getting ready to slit their throats and steal the receiver.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 15, 2006 0 comments
Didn't get to hear them, unfortunately, but don't the Yamaha Soavos look great? They include a full surround set, shown, plus the floorstanding Soavo-1 and monitor-sized Soavo-2, not shown. Pricing TBD. Yamaha also showed the RX-V2700 receiver ($1799) with 140 watts times seven, iPod dock (of course, $100), XM satellite radio (the antenna goes for about 20 bucks), and network jack for Internet radio or connection of a multi-zone Yamaha MusicCast system. Is there an all-Yamaha system in your future?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 11, 2009 0 comments
Yamaha used a proprietary wireless connection for the yAired music system. Unlike, say, Bluetooth, it has no compression, no latency, and no delay. Look for the MLR-140 in mid October.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 03, 2009 1 comments
Price: $650 At A Glance: A/V receiver, five slim speakers, and powered sub • Slightly rolled-off treble, but pleasing sound • Good remote, lousy supplied cable

Home Theater Comfort Food

On my first trip to London, when I was much younger, my first meal was a mediocre steak in a fifth-rate restaurant full of reveling Australian soccer fans. It was one of the most disappointing meals I’ve ever had. While Britain doesn’t exactly lead the world in cuisine, you can eat well there if you know what you’re doing. The reason I got stuck with a leathery, tasteless, uninspiring piece of meat was that I was jet-lagged and desperately hungry, I didn’t know my way around, and I couldn’t find anything better. HTIBs can be like that. People who might be better served by a higher-quality component system settle for a less fulfilling one because they don’t know their way around the labyrinthine world of A/V receivers and speaker systems. Mixing and matching surround gear can be too steep a hill to climb.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 06, 2011 Published: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
The SS-AR1 floorstander ($27,000/pair) has appeared at various shows in the past and we've seen it before. But CES 2011 marked its real entry into popular consciousness as part of a Sony division that also includes ES receivers and projectors. Ray Kimber of Kimber cable and IsoMike recording fame and Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds lent their credibility to the proceedings. The speaker's blend of woods includes a cabinet of Hokkaido maple that's harvested only in November when it's at the peak of its powers. Drivers are designed by Sony and custom made by ScanSpeak. The piano black finish is done by a company that makes, um, pianos. Demos included a Nat King Cole tune in which the strings were vivid yet unhyped and the voice reproduced so well, it practically burnt a hole in our brain. We're convinced this is a very fine speaker indeed, and not at all surprised, having liked Sony's long-gone SS-series speakers from the 1990s.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 09, 2014 0 comments
Canada's Totem Acoustic has been making great speakers for the high-end market for quite some time, and by high-end standards, they're not all that expensive. But Totem reaches into the most affordable territory yet with the Kin monitor. It has a four-inch honeycomb paper woofer, 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter, and (despite its modest size) dual terminals for biamping or biwiring. The Kin ships in May for $499/pair, and can be bought in odd-numbered lots for surround use. There will also be a Kin sub ($699).


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