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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2013 0 comments
CEDIA began its annual event in 1989. At that time it was launched in a modest venue full of table-top exhibits and educational seminars, with a strong emphasis on the latter. This was appropriate, as we all had a lot to learn about home theater.

I’ve been attending CEDIA since 1994, when then Stereophile publisher Larry Archibald decided it was time to begin a new publication dedicated to the burgeoning home theater business—the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater. But even in the first year or two I attended, accompanied by Archibald, the Guide’s founding editor, Lawrence B. Johnson, and the requisite marketing crew, you could cover all of the exhibits in a couple of hours.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 22, 2014 1 comments
Last week Meridian Audio held a reception in Los Angeles, one of many across the country for the U.S. launch of its new special edition, digital loudspeakers, the DSP 5200SE, DSP7200SE, and DSP8000SE (For others yet to be held, go to

This year is the 25th anniversary of Meridian’s first digital loudspeaker, so it’s no surprise that all three of these designs are powered by their own internal amplifiers and accept only digital inputs. In most installations such inputs will come from Meridian’s own electronics, but other digital sources, such as a music server, may also be used to feed the speakers’ inputs.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 01, 2010 0 comments
I vividly recall those freeway signs that once littered the sides of the clogged Los Angeles freeways. “If You Lived in Nutty Oaks, You Could Be Home by Now,” they trumpeted.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 26, 2010 0 comments

Build Quality
Price: $2,625 At A Glance: Sweet sounding yet detailed • Wide dynamic range • Big soundstage • Limited subwoofer extension

More for Less

The new Image line of speakers from Canadian manufacturer PSB follows on the heels of two other PSB ranges: Synchrony and Imagine. While they aren’t exactly blue-light specials, the Images provide an intangible quality that today’s speaker buyer demands: value. And with the increasing costs of domestic manufacturing, value most often means overseas production. All of PSB’s new models, including the Imagines, are engineered in Canada but made in China. This is an increasingly common practice in the speaker industry.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 13, 2009 0 comments

Build Quality
Price: $5,690 (with SubSeries 300 subwoofer substituted for discontinued SubSeries 6i, updated 3/10/15)
At A Glance: Open, clean, and detailed • Expansive, cinematic sound • High value

Imagine: Airy Soundscapes

When deciding whether or not to set product priority for evaluation, every reviewer (consciously or unconsciously) applies a filter based on his or her previous experience with that manufacturer. Of course, there are always breakthrough products that demand to be covered and new companies that deserve to be discovered. But given the options available in the speaker world—including the new and the fascinating but rarely the revolutionary—you look first to those that have proved that they can make a great product.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 02, 2004 0 comments

I've had a soft spot for PSB speakers ever since I reviewed the first Stratus Gold for Stereophile back in 1991. Counting updates (the Gold i was introduced in 1997), the Gold has been PSB's flagship speaker for 12 years. That's quite a run in speakerland, where new models sprout like mushrooms.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 04, 2008 0 comments
Apart from the occasional foray into cutting-edge technology that doesn't always pan out (ionic tweeters, anyone?), speaker technology is relatively stable—glacial, even, compared to other consumer-electronics products like flat-panel displays. The manageable pace of speaker development has allowed small- and medium-sized speaker companies to thrive. Most of them make nothing but speakers that remain in production for years, which is a plus for buyers. Unlike that flat-panel display you just got, when you buy a new set of speakers today, you can be reasonably sure they won't be yesterday's news tomorrow.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 01, 2007 0 comments

We haven't spent a lot of review time here at <I>Ultimate AV</I> on two major trends in speaker design. One of them is euphemistically referred to in the industry as "architectural speakers." That is, speakers designed to be mounted either in or on a wall. The other, an outgrowth of the on-wall category, is the tall, slender column speaker that takes up little floor space.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2011 Published: Jan 09, 2011 0 comments
At $700/pair, PSB's Imagine Mini (second from left, on stand) may turn some heads. It did not have any deep bass, but was clean as far down as it went, and even when played loud (though not unreasonably loud) did not fall to pieces. With a good subwoofer, five of them plus a spare (unfortunately they are sold only in pairs), or four with an Imagine center, could make for a sweet, small room home theater setup.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 08, 2007 0 comments

HDMI connections, combined with a pristine source and a great display, can produce beautiful images, perhaps the best ever available to consumers. But the format has not been trouble free. Even if we ignore consideration of which version of HDMI we're dealing with, and the length limitations of the connections, more than a few videophiles have had problems getting HDMI some combinations of source, display, and switcher to work together.


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