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Michael Fremer

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 13, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,200 At A Glance: Ultra-sophisticated setup and calibration system • Punchy-sounding ICEPower amplification • Versatile LAN-based Home Media Gallery with iPod connectivity

Too Much Functionality?

One step down from Pioneer’s flagship $7,000 SC-09TX A/V receiver, the SC-07 offers an equally dizzying feature set and plenty of ICEpower. It’s all packed into a far more compact, shelf-friendly package, and it sells at a steeply lower $2,200 price point. If you lusted after the SC-09TX (HT, November 2008) but were put off by the price, consider what the SC-07 offers for so much less.

Filed under
Michael Fremer Posted: Oct 03, 2011 11 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,100 At A Glance: Nine Class D amps that sound good • Most fun you can have with a remote smartphone app • Home networking champ, including Apple AirPlay

I’m usually suspicious of celebrity endorsements of audio gear (think Dr. Dre’s association with the Beats headphones bearing his name). But the Air Studios logo on the front panel of this attractive-looking, innovative flagship Pioneer Elite A/V receiver represents more than a casual association.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 19, 2002 0 comments

What makes one of today's complex A/V receivers friendly, and another model with identical features off-putting? I didn't ask that question when I began setting up and using Pioneer's latest, the Elite VSX-49TX , but the answer appeared as I explored this superbly-thought-out receiver, and was confirmed when, returning after a week out of town, I was able to easily take advantage of its many functions without getting lost or even needing the instruction manual.

Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 30, 2002 0 comments

RBH Sound has been around for 25 years, but don't think you're out of the loop if you haven't heard of the Layton, Utah company. My introduction came only a few years ago, and I've been in the loop a long time. RBH built speakers for other brands for many years, but began concentrating on establishing its own brand name about six years ago, when the home-theater boom began. Today their products are sold through 400 dealers and custom installers. After spending a few months with one of RBH's top-performing, most expensive systems, I can tell you that finding one of these dealers will be well worth your while.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jun 20, 2011 1 comments
Price: $599 At A Glance: Compact cube houses 8-inch long-throw woofer • 125-watt class A/B amplifier • Simultaneous high-level and LFE inputs with independent level controls

Small Acorn, Big Tree

In a 1970s television commercial, storm clouds brewed and thunder rolled ominously after an embarrassed Mother Nature tasted Chiffon margarine and pronounced it butter. “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” admonished the announcer, Mason (“with a name like Smucker’s”) Adams.

Michael Fremer Posted: Oct 20, 2010 2 comments
Price: $4,998 At A Glance: Superior surround processor sonics • Excellent ergonomics • Cool-running ICEpower amp lacks definition

The Ladder to the High End

You’ve got to have sympathy for sound- and build-quality-oriented A/V electronics manufacturers like Rotel. You can go online, and for four hundred bucks and change buy a “630-watt” 7.1-channel AVR from a big-name manufacturer with all the latest lossless audio decoding from Dolby and DTS, video processing, 1080p HDMI switching, upconversion, and more. Since many people these days don’t care about good sound and because they’ve never actually heard it, they think, “Everything sounds the same.” And they think they should get it all for a pittance.

Michael Fremer Posted: Oct 15, 2004 0 comments

"Yes, but can you live with it?"

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 27, 2005 0 comments

When Apple introduced the iPod, many industry observers scratched their heads, wondering why Sony hadn't been the first to deliver such a product. After all, Sony had invented the Walkman—the first speakerless, portable personal audio cassette player, and Sony has a strong presence in the computer market. Perhaps heads get buried in the sand when you're promoting a new high-resolution audio format and the world is heading in the other direction. It's human and corporate nature.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 10, 2002 0 comments

You want to believe. I want to believe. We all want to believe that, some day, a tiny chip the size of a 35mm transparency in a video-display device the size and weight of a slide projector will be capable of producing a moving video image so exquisitely filmlike that it will banish bulky, expensive, tweaky CRT projectors to the trash heap of technological history.

Filed under
Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 04, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $10,095 At A Glance: Bodacious, well-controlled bass • Clean, effervescent high frequencies • Room-filling, three-dimensional spaciousness even in two-channel mode

German Brew, U.S. Bottle

Many home theater enthusiasts may be unfamiliar with the name, but among audiophiles during the 1990s, veteran German audio designer Joachim Gerhard achieved near-legend status throughout the world for his extensive and remarkably varied line of high-performance loudspeakers marketed under the Audio Physic brand.

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