Kris Deering

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Kris Deering Posted: Sep 17, 2014 0 comments
No matter how much you pore over the layout of your home theater and its dimensions, you’re going to need acoustic treatments if you want to experience your system’s full potential. Chair and speaker placements only do so much to counteract natural obstacles such as standing waves, modal peaks/nulls, and reflections. Even the best audio equipment and speakers can’t fully compensate for them; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Bad room acoustics can make the very best gear sound horrible.
Kris Deering Posted: Jun 12, 2014 3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Handpicked parts and proprietary audiophile touches
Nearly plug and play
Supports all high-resolution formats
Reference level audio and video quality
Minus
Needs a tablet for easiest interface
Still only as good as what you plug it into

THE VERDICT
A no brainer if you seek audiophile performance from a media server without a lot of homework and trial and error. Customer support is exceptional and takes the IT guesswork out of the equation.

We have recently come to an enormous crossroad in entertainment. Physical media as a whole is withering on the vine and everything is moving to either streaming playback or file downloads. While I’m all about the convenience that this offers I hate the idea (and reality) of the compromise this situation can create in the quality of the content. We’ve already seen the music industry destroy the quality of music recordings to appease the iPod generation, and regardless of the convenience provided by Netflix and a host of other video streaming services, they cannot match the quality of Blu-ray video playback. So what do you do if you want to enjoy instantaneous access to your media but don’t want to compromise the quality of the material? Baetis Audio may have a few answers for you.
Kris Deering Posted: Apr 23, 2014 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Raises the bar for contrast
Excellent dynamic iris
performance
Minus
HDMI slow to lock on to signals

THE VERDICT
With the introduction of its first dynamic iris system, JVC has set a new standard for black level and contrast.

My dad worked on helicopters when I was growing up. In our garage was a picture of the latest Army Chinook, with the tag line “Only the Silhouette Remains the Same.” When I started my review of the DLA-X700R, JVC’s latest 3D LCOS projector, that phrase came back to mind. The projector looks exactly like my reference DLA-X75R—but on the inside, almost everything is new. After about a month of extensive use, I’ve discovered that JVC has achieved a massive step up in performance, making their new line of projectors the best they’ve delivered yet.

Kris Deering Posted: Mar 28, 2014 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $399

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Full 3D and UHD support
Blazing fast switching
Options for legacy device support
Minus
USB location may be tricky for some

THE VERDICT
DVDO redefines what to expect from an HDMI switcher and lets your older gear play nice with the new stuff.

When I think of a video switcher, my mind’s eye typically sees a boring little box (with some buttons on the front) that does nothing more than link one of its inputs to a common output. DVDO’s Quick6 is entirely different. Not only is it the fastest HDMI switching device I’ve ever come across, but it also has a ton of useful features that can help both new and old systems alike with today’s cutting-edge gear.

Kris Deering Posted: Feb 07, 2014 19 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Darbee video enhancements
DSD file support
Zero-compromise video playback
Minus
Still looking for one

THE VERDICT
Our Top Pick Blu-ray player only gets better with onboard Darbee video processing and full support for DSD file playback.

Awarding a Top Pick rating is always a big deal with us, but I don’t think we’ve ever had two Top Pick products merge into one. That, however, is exactly what we have with Oppo’s latest generation of Blu-ray players, the BDP-103D and BDP-105D. The second D stands for Darbee Edition, as Oppo has thrown Darbee video processing right into the players. I reviewed the Darbee Darblet DVP 5000 standalone video processor in 2012 and proclaimed it a must-have for making the most out of your display. But the BDP-103D, reviewed here, is more than just a BDP-103 with Darbee processing. Oppo has done a few more tweaks to their player, making it an even stronger Top Pick than before.

Kris Deering Posted: Dec 24, 2013 3 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $350

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-resolution audio chops
Reference-quality 2D and 3D Blu-ray playback
Streaming-video paradise
Minus
No support for SACD, DVD-Audio, or DSD formats

THE VERDICT
Spectacular video performance at a budget price point, but not the best choice for true audiophiles.

How things have changed since Blu-ray arrived on the scene. Debut players from the larger electronics companies were pretty full-featured, with substantial build quality. Now it seems that most mass-consumer players are in a race to the bottom when it comes to price and build. While I understand that’s probably the market most of the country buys in, I’m always surprised that most of the big names in consumer electronics don’t keep at least one model for enthusiasts who don’t want to buy a featherweight piece of plastic for a principal player in their home entertainment system. Panasonic evidently feels the same way this year.

Kris Deering Posted: Dec 02, 2013 1 comments
This year’s CEDIA convention had a lot of high profile products that generated a lot of buzz. One of the companies that caught my eye was Vicoustic, whose booth featured an assortment of acoustic panels that looked nothing like the boring rectangles and squares we typically associate with room treatments; instead, they looked like something you’d find in the lobby of an upscale office or hotel.
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Kris Deering Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Triad decided to give their renowned Platinum line of speakers a new big brother. Though they weren’t being demonstrated at the show, their new flagship will be available later this year. Pictured here is the top of the line offering with massive drivers and a folded horn tweeter. I plan on taking a trip to their factory down the road in Portland early next year to get a listen when they’ve revamped their demo room with them. At $15,000 each they aren’t for everyone but they should be able to deliver massive sound to even the largest custom home theater room.
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Kris Deering Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Cambridge Audio showed their Azur 752BD Blu-ray player that garnished our Top Pick earlier this year. Recently Cambridge Audio released a firmware update that enables full DSD file playback from an attached hard drive, memory stick or NAS. The firmware update is available from their website for the amazing price of free.
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Kris Deering Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Magico’s new QSub subwoofer features dual 18” custom drivers and a 4,000 watt digital amp. At the remarkably low price of $36,000 I was considering buying a pair on the spot, but the wife shot me down. While these will displace a large portion of your bank account they’ll also displace a massive amount of air in your room with their deep extension.

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