Your new A/V receiver's front panel seems friendly enough with its softly winking LEDs and ergonomic layout of buttons and knobs. But turn that sucker around, and you'll find a menacing thicket of jacks, terminals, and other connectors - some familiar, some not.
When shopping for amplifier power, most of us calculate, consciously or otherwise, watts-per-dollar. I’m here to suggest another metric: pounds-per-watt, (kilos, if you prefer), divided by dollars. Amplification by the pound.
Typical tower speakers arrive with so many wonderful opportunities for self-injury: When you take them off the truck and when you haul them into the listening room, for starters. And that’s not to mention when you unpack them and set them up and when you adjust placement (especially with carpet spikes). But Oregon’s Aperion Audio, God love ’em, has finally delivered a tower speaker that even the most physically challenged audiophile can love: the Verus Forte.
AT A GLANCE Plus
Outstanding seven-channel power from uncommon amp topology
Dirac Live auto setup and room correction
Winning remote handset
Reference-grade seven-channel power, an unusual (and unusually effective) auto-EQ system, and refreshing simplicity and straightforward ergonomics in a pricey, albeit very attractive and well-executed package.
Arcam’s new flagship A/V receiver, the AVR850, is about the most expensive receiver you can buy today: $6,000 here in the Land of the Free(-ish) (not counting a slightly more expensive, similarly spec’d model sourced by Arcam for AudioControl). That’s a lot of simoleons for a box that, on the surface anyway, doesn’t do quite as much stuff as the big-brand models, doesn’t have as much claimed-on-paper power or as many colored lights or flashing displays, and which exudes a substantially simpler design aesthetic. So what do you get for your extra couple of kilo-clams?
Artison is a new speaker company with more going for it than just a clever name. It also boasts an impeccable pedigree (creator Cary Christie was a founder of industry pillar Infinity), some classy, smart industrial design, and a well-considered answer to the puzzle of how to mate plasma TVs with serious home theater speakers.
AT A GLANCE Plus
True bass from truly tiny sub
Highly flexible setup, including wireless option
Beautifully made and
Finite upper-volume limits
Display too small to discern easily
If you demand real bass from a really small subwoofer (and you have $1,000 to pay for it), Artison’s got your micro-sub.
Ever since the first hominid bashed another hominid over the head (with the femur of a third hominid), humankind has pursued one arms race or another. From the atlatl to the AR-15, man’s competitive genius always finds a way to up the ante. One rather more constructive expression of this innate drive can be seen in the long-standing contest to extract more and more bass out of smaller and smaller boxes.