Mark Fleischmann

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 08, 2013 7 comments

SS-NA5ES Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

SA-NA9ES Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $19,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Scandinavian birch
enclosures
Triple tweeter array
Warm and fatigue-free
Minus
Not exactly cheap

THE VERDICT
A pricey speaker system that offers an edge to those who want the very best.

Sony has always had a sense of its own destiny that transcends any one of its multifaceted operations. To gamers, it is the guardian of the PlayStation franchise. Moviegoers know it as the owner of Sony Pictures, while music lovers know it as the home of Dylan, Springsteen, and Adele. Tech historians recall how Sony’s small transistor radios and Walkman cassette player, respectively from the 1950s and ’70s, paved the way for the iPod in the ’00s. Cutting-edge computer audiophiles are excited about the potential of Sony’s DSD file format to transform the nascent world of high-resolution music downloads.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 01, 2013 11 comments
A home theater system, as I never tire of saying, is the union of big-screen television and surround sound. Conceptually speaking, the big-TV part is not a heavy lift. But some people interested in getting into home theater may have trouble visualizing what a surround sound system might look like. And it's hard to blame them. Surround systems come in many configurations, each appealing to a different tribe of listeners. How can you, as an aspiring home theater buff, decide which surround tribe you belong to? Here are some common configurations matched to the listeners to whom they would appeal.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 04, 2013 2 comments
Bar, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin', say most audiophiles. But an increasing number of consumers begs to differ, and the audio industry caters to them with an increasing selection of soundbars. At the recent CEDIA Expo, nearly every manufacturer that makes audio-for-video products was showing a soundbar or three, and no doubt I'll be reviewing some of them over the next year. With such a proliferation of soundbars, some of them may actually be pretty good, within their inherent limits, and worth considering in a bedroom system or something other than a primary home theater system.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 02, 2013 4 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Nine amp channels
Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Excellent sound quality
Minus
No direct USB input for PC/Mac playback

THE VERDICT
Reference-worthy A/V receiver that offers great bang for the buck.

When I review speakers, I have dozens of major and minor brands to choose from. When I review audio/video receivers, the same names come up time and again. There just aren’t that many of them. You might think reviewing the same AVR brands repeatedly would leave me jaded. But it doesn’t. Every one of those heavy black boxes is a new quest. Every manufacturer has to prove itself all over again—and prove it to me, someone with a frame of reference that goes back decades. My method is pretty simple. I act as a surrogate for the consumer: I am you. I pull the product out of the box, lift it onto my rack, punch through the interface, turn it up loud, and consider both what I hear and how I feel about it.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
Satellite/subwoofer sets and stand-mount speakers were conspicuous in their near-absence from this year's CEDIA but Monitor Audio showed three different (and differently shaped) sats. From left to right: The newest member of the family is Monitor's flagship sat, the Apex 10 ($1000/pair). Though the pic doesn't show it off well, the woofer has a dimpled surface that enables it to be both thin and strong, increasing clarity and reducing distortion. The MASS (Monitor Audio Satellite System), introduced at CES, is a 5.0-channel system selling for $699. Its fabric-wrapped polymer enclosure has a distinctive shape designed to inhibit bass-bloating standing waves. The Radius ($500/pair), an existing line, has been upgraded with a one-inch tweeter and four-inch woofer. Monitor's proprietary driver material is C-CAM, a ceramic-coated aluminum-magnesium blend. In all cases complementary centers and subs are available. Oh, and the speakers plug into their stands, with binding posts for cable at the bases of the stands.
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
Yamaha's YSP-1400 BL soundbar ($450) has eight little drivers behind that metal grille. They are designed to attain 5.1-channel status by beaming sound all over the place and bouncing it off walls. Take a look at those fat cylindrical feet. Those are the subwoofer drivers. There's Bluetooth, of course, and control apps for iOS and Android. A second new Yamaha soundbar is the YAS-152BL ($350) which is said to produce virtual 7.1-channel surround and also has built-in subs, this time firing out of the bottom surface. This bar's apps can be used to fine-tune the sound in addition to the usual volume and other adjustments. Both products have Dolby Digital and DTS decoding and (no surprise at these price points) no HDMI or lossless surround decoding. Both shipping next month.
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
If your 4K or 3D video needs to travel long distances, the Integra DTR-60.5 receiver has a big plus that's rare in receivers. A back-panel HTBaseT jack lets you use cheap Cat 5e or Cat6 ethernet cable to bridge distances up to 325 feet. And if you hate fumbling with wi-fi adapters, this receiver has it built in. Integra wants audiophiles who are investing in high-res downloads to know that it supports DSD, FLAC, WAV, and ALAC with no downconversion. Room correction is the highest-quality version of Audyssey, MultEQ XT32. The receiver also has both THX Select2 and ISF certification for high-quality audio and video. Rated power is 135 watts times two and presumably a lower number into multichannel loads. Price $2300, shipping now.
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
While NAD's usual practice is to add features to existing surround receiver models, the T 758 ($1199) is the successor to the T 757. It boasts 120 watts of continuous power per channel, we assume into two channels. Modular construction, a neat feature of NAD receivers, allows for future upgrades, whatever technology comes our way. One thing this receiver does not have is an ethernet jack or any network audio features. For those step up to the even brawnier T 777 ($2999) and T 787 ($3999). Note that these list prices are lower than historical ones because NAD is aggressively courting a smaller but more committed dealer base. As a result, receiver sales have doubled, and just may triple. Clearly a lot of home theater buffs are willing to pay for great surround sound even at the expense of frilly features.
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
The Canton DM 50 sound pad (yes, we love the name too) is just about wide enough for the pedestal of a large flat panel TV. While the driver complement remained something of a mystery due to the nondetachable grille, it does have two 3.5-inch woofers firing out of the bottom. Dolby Digital and DTS decoding are present. Total power is 200 watts, Class D. Like any respectable bar nowadays, it also has Bluetooth. Price $599.
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
We hit the soundbar beat pretty hard at this show and our coverage wouldn't be complete without mention of two Bose products. The CineMate 1 SR ($1350) is said to be the bestselling bar in North America over the past nine months. It uses seven of the same tiny drivers that make the famous Bose "jewel cubes" sound pretty good (we know this, having reviewed them in another form). There are also two radiators providing side effects. And the bar's pretty control savvy, with multi-room control and Control 4, Crestron, RTI, and Savant compatibility. The same bar features in the Lifestyle 135 system ($2100) which adds a console with iOS dock and room correction.

Pages

X
Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading