Daniel Kumin

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

Remember integrated amps? I do — my first two real audio systems were assembled around examples of the one-component, preamp/poweramp combination form.

So does Pioneer. The firm’s new Elite A-20 is an unabashed throwback: two channels, no radio, a few analog inputs (no digital), a few knobs. 

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 19, 2011 0 comments

Each generation of A/V receivers brings at least a few new features — one of which will prove useful while others stick out as head-scratchers that nobody asked for. You could hardly find a better illustration of this natural law than Pioneer’s new VSX-52, the sub-penultimate model of its latest Elite A/V receiver range.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Aug 23, 2012 0 comments

For those who may harbor any doubt that Pioneer has thrown its lot wholly in with the Connected Generation, let me present Exhibit A: the VSX-60 A/V receiver. The new model’s design bears a close resemblance to those of its predecessors, and any updates in its functions and features are more incremental than otherwise. But when you add everything up, the verdict seems pretty clear.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Jun 05, 2012 0 comments

History may one day judge “offshoring” to be the macroeconomic disaster that some pundits would have us believe. Still, you can’t argue that it’s been a microeconomics windfall for American consumers.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Nov 10, 2010 0 comments

A generation ago, Sony ruled the consumer electronics world, establishing new market segments with every innovation and instantly owning whatever existing ones it chose to enter. Today, although it’s still a consumer electronics force to be reckoned with, Sony has to step into the cage and compete like everybody else.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

Sony's new flagship receiver is a brute. It's got as many or more features, channels, HDMI jacks, and control options as any competitor I can think of, along with a snazzy new rotation of onscreen menus. The STR-DA5800ES is also the latest to join the 4K brigade, being able to pass-through, and upscale to, the possible-future Ultra HD video format. More on this in a year. Or two.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments

It's been a little while since I've had a Sony receiver up on the gear rack, so I was looking forward to renewing the acquaintance, especially?as our subject is a mid-market model, and Sony has always been fiercely competitive at the most popular price points. So it's not too surprising to find its new STR-DN1030 jammed with features that were strictly the stuff of high-end models perhaps 18 months ago: AirPlay compatibility, DLNA network audio streaming via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an iPhone/Android control app, to name just some.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Jan 26, 2011 0 comments

There's a trend afoot in A/V-land to make even Flagship receivers simpler (at least on the outside), easier to use, and physically more compact and less intimidating. Now Yamaha has boarded this bus, not just with a single model but with an entire new family of AVRs it's calling Aventage (rhymes with fromage). Cheesy names aside, the news here is that, for once, "new and improved" really is: new form factor, new user interface, new network-ability, new remote control, and lots of new (or at least evolved) audio and video technology.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 19, 2011 0 comments

I have something that I must confess: I’ve got a love/hate thing with soundbars. On the love side, these one- or two-piece, flat-panel-pandering “surround” systems have rescued tens of thousands of innocent suburbanites from the horrors of tinny TV tintinnabulation.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

RSL Speaker Systems is the current manifestation of Rogersound Labs, a SoCal company that goes back a few years — 30 or so, in fact. Like many speaker makers, RSL got its start through garage tinkering, in this case by Howard Rodgers, owner of a well-known retail chain of the same name. (How the “d” got dropped from the company name is a story for another day.)

Despite a long, successful run, the original RSL, again like many other speaker companies, eventually faded away. But after regaining rights to the company name just last year, the firm was reincarnated after a long hiatus by its founder and his family.

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