Americans tend to prefer quantity over quality. Given the opportunity, we build McMansions. We drive Hummers. We wash down our Whoppers with Big Gulps. And we always buy the biggest AV receiver we can, because you can't be too rich, too thin, or have too many watts. More is <I>better</I>.
Approximately 500 million years ago, a phenomenon known as the Cambrian Explosion was in full swing here on planet Earth. After billions of years of relative stasis in which life consisted of little beyond bacteria, plankton, and algae, the fossil record of the Cambrian period shows a sudden explosion of diversity. In just 40 million tumultuous years—a geologic eye blink—most of the major groups of animals, or <I>phyla</I>, that exist today appeared for the first time.
For a company that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, Harman Kardon looks maahvelous. Consider the sleek industrial design of the company's new AVR-series receivers. With minimalist gloss-black front panels and distinctive, ring-shaped, blue-illuminated volume controls, these components look both strikingly modern and a tad retro—an appropriate synthesis coming from the company that introduced the world's first receiver back in 1954.
A month or two ago, I was on my way home from work when my wife called and asked me to swing by Costco to pick up a pound of our favorite Newhall Blend coffee beans. "We're out," she informed me. "And this time, please don't forget to grind 'em before you leave the store!"
Back in the misty days when 2-channel stereo was still an exciting new format and tubes ruled the land, Sherwood was a brand name to be reckoned with. Together with such companies as Harman/Kardon, Fisher, Marantz, and McIntosh, Sherwood was instrumental in launching the American hi-fi industry on a path that would culminate in today's high-end audio gear—grist for our sister publication, <I>Stereophile</I>.