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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2009 1 comments

The company may be more widely known for clever ads that play on its naim than for loudspeakers, but Naim Audio's new Ovator S-600 might just change all that. There's enough innovation here to fill a review-length discussion, but the main feature of the system is the BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) midrange/tweeter. The latter covers the entire spectrum from 380Hz to above the audible range. The dispersion is claimed to be similar that of a conventional midrange and tweeter array, but with the superior coherence possible when all the mid/high frequencies are coming from the same location. A brief listen indicated more than a little promise. The BMR also seems to be ideally suited to a center channel design, though there appear to be no immediate plans to offer one. The S-600 is expected to sell for just north of $10,000. A somewhat smaller, less expensive sibling is also expected.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2009 0 comments

The Hegel room was one of the first good-sounding rooms I heard, and remained one of the most affordable. Hegel? It's a Norwegian company that has been doing business almost everywhere in the world for about 20 years, but this is their first serious foray into the U.S. market. A tough time to start, but they come well equipped. The demo featured the H200 integrated amp ($4400), which at 200W per channel is one of the more powerful integrateds around, the CDP2A mk II CD player ($2650), and the new HD10A D/A converter ($1200) featuring USB and SPDIF digital inputs. The speakers that completed the system were the Dali Helicon 400s.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2009 0 comments

The 2009 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was held earlier this month in Denver, Colorado, as it has for several years now. While my main beat these days is home theater, both for <I>Ultimate AV</I> and, increasingly, for <I>Home Theater </I> magazine, once an audiophile always an audiophile, so I was anxious to find out what was happening in the world of hair-shirt Hi-Fi.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 17, 2005 0 comments

<I>Ah, fall in the Rockies. Crisp weather. Clear blue skies. Hi-Fi.</I>

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 22, 2014 0 comments
The annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was held in early October in the Marriott Hotel at the Denver Tech Center. For at least the past 10 years this has been the biggest of the many audio shows now jostling for position around the U.S. Depending on who you ask, the Newport Beach (CA) show, held in June, is nipping at its heels but isn’t quite there yet.

Manufacturers (not to mention the press) must be tearing what’s left of their hair out trying to support all these shows, which now include RMAF, Newport, (northern) California, Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., and Toronto. Let me know if I’ve missed one! And this doesn’t even include the trade-only CES (and, for some, CEDIA EXPO). For small manufacturers this is a major expense, and many of them only attend one or two. If they support two, it’s most likely they’ll include RMAF and CES).

Unlike many present-day audiophiles I keep one foot in the audio/video world of home theater and surround sound and the other in the 2-channel world of high-end audio. I regret that multichannel, even for music alone, remains anathema to many audio fans. As for film sound, for many that’s clearly the spawn of the devil...

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 07, 2006 0 comments

When we think of a power amp today, we think of that large, heavy, hot-running, often ugly block of metal we hide away so we don't have to look at it. Or, if it's impressively large or expensive we proudly display it on the floor&mdash;an amp that's large, impressive, and expensive enough to show off is too heavy to put anywhere else! There, we willingly subject our ankles and shins to its sharp heat sinks on the sacrificial altar of great sound.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 13, 2005 0 comments
Home theater in the World's Biggest Log Cabin
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 10, 2012 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $10,000 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Excellent color • Top-class video processing

Projection lamps: Can’t live without ’em, can’t shoot ’em. Until recently, that is.

Projection lamps are slow to turn on and off, hot, often unstable, and have a nasty habit of getting dimmer with age, while their color balance deteriorates. If you’re fussy about your video—and if you’re reading this review you should be—the 2,000-hour useful lifetime that’s usually specified (to half brightness) for projection lamps will likely be closer to 1,000 hours or less. With a replacement averaging around $400, that’s about $0.40 per hour of use, not including the bottom line on your electric bill.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
No model number, price, or availability date was given for this Samsung 27-inch PC monitor/3DTV combination. But it can handle all 3D formats (the image on screen shows the side-by-side format in its native form before it's processed into a single, unsqueezed 3D image. The display includes an antenna input (it has a built-in tuner) and an HDMI port. You will need active glasses to watch 3D on it (it is not autostereoscopic).
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2014 2 comments
Samsung’s new Auto Depth Enhancer, on its 9000 and S9 Ultra HD sets, analyzes different areas of the screen and adjusts their contrast separately to provide a greater illusion of depth with 2D sources. In a side-by-side comparison with one of Samsung’s 2013 sets, it definitely worked. There was a bit of the cardboard cutout 3D look, but since the depth enhancement, while appealing, was subtle, this wasn’t bothersome.

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