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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
"When Harman, Datasat, BMW, Volvo, Pioneer, Arcam, Emotiva, Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus want digital audio optimization solutions, they turn to Dirac," boasted a sign at the Dirac exhibit. But the demo was not of the Swedish company's world-beating room correction systems but of a newly developed system to enhance headphone listening for virtual reality and gaming.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
Among the better Dolby Atmos surround demos at the Venetian was one featuring Arcam and KEF products.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 3 comments
Emotiva, the champion of value-packed audio products, will release 37 of them this year. The RMC-1 surround pre-pro is among them.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
Damson Audio's small and affordable S Series Home Theatre System is one of the few to win THX certification.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
Bluesound's Pulse soundbar raises an intriguing question: Sub or no sub?

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
Where wireless options are concerned, Onkyo asks: Why limit yourself?

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
NAD is now shipping several products previously announced at CEDIA. Here's a quick rundown.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 03, 2017 0 comments
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that it will support Auro-3D in some disc and “digital” titles. Auro-3D is an unusual method of immersive surround encoding that one-ups Dolby Atmos and DTS:X by offering not one, but two, height layers above the floor speakers in a 13.1- or 11.1-channel native mix. Until now it has been scantily supported in software, with just a few dozen Blu-ray releases, but this might be a game changer for the plucky little Belgian company. Auro-3D has also firmed up its hardware support with new (and more mainstream) receivers and pre/pros from Denon, Marantz, and Lyngdorf that support the necessary surround processing. (Note that the Denon and Marantz products require an optional $199 update.) Height-enhanced surround sound may be about to become a three-way horse race.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 03, 2017 8 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Nine amp channels, 11.2 (7.2.4) pre-outs
Automated angle and height calibration
Minus
No Auro-3D

THE VERDICT
Yamaha’s new flagship receiver packs nine amp channels into a well-built package.

Buying an A/V receiver has always been a challenge, even to the well informed. Incoming technologies add still more complexity. Sometimes, however, they also generate new priorities and narrow your choices. Sure, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X require you to add more speakers and make your system more elaborate. But if you want to run those formats in their most effectively enveloping configurations, your shopping expedition for a receiver has suddenly become a lot simpler.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 28, 2016 2 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,047 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Concentric mid/tweeter
Pinpoint imaging
App-driven, room- correcting sub
Minus
Extra power required
App required for sub control

THE VERDICT
Speaker designer extraordinaire Andrew Jones continues his work for German manufacturer Elac with some of the best monitor-class speakers we’ve ever heard plus a provocative, app-driven sub.

There are a lot of ways to put together a home theater system. Small speakers—or, as I call them, monitors—are among the best foundations for a multipurpose room that isn’t cavernous in size. The audio industry used to pump out so many potentially interesting passive monitors (not to mention towers) that we could barely review a fraction of them. But with the increasing emphasis today on soundbars and powered lifestyle speakers at the lower end of the market, it’s becoming increasingly hard to put together small-speaker configurations for surround sound.

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