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Fred Manteghian

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
The KEF V300, part of a KEF’s new V series, is a nice desktop system for anybody with a tall monitor. The three piece system is comprised of two tall, narrow and relatively thin (about 3”) free-standing speaker panels. Driving them is a control unit that features two 50 watt Class D amplifiers. Each speaker has two 3-1/4” low frequency drivers and between them a 3-1/4” Uni-Q driver that fills in the midrange and high frequencies. The control amplifier has a single HDMI input and an optical digital input. Hooked to your TV’s HDMI audio return channel, you would control the volume by your TV’s remote. This ensemble looked very attractive, and being KEF, I would expect a clean seductive sound, albeit one unable to alter the laws of physics in the bass. For that, KEF has left you with a subwoofer output (RCA) on the rear of the control amplifier.
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Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
Sonance announced Soundbar, a non-powered center channel with adjustable widths meant to exactly match your TV. Soundbar are available in two sizes, one to match TV in the 50” to 65” diagonal range, the other for TV’s in the 70” to 80” diagonal range. However both are true three-way designs, offering six 4.5” Kevlar + Nomex lower frequency drivers and three 4.5” coaxial (midrange / tweeter) drivers. The units ship with all required mounting hardware. Pricing has not been finalized but expect at or under $2,000.
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Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 25, 2013 0 comments
Vutec broke the brightness barrier on the eve of CEDIA 2013 by announcing SilverStar2.2, a high gain (2.2:1 gain) screen that is ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) certified. High-gain screens typically lack in picture quality what they make up in brightness and the ability to move to a large screen with the same amount of projector light. Delivering better than double unity gain while still securing ISF certification is a huge deal.
Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 06, 2013 1 comments

SP3 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
9B SST² Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $17,595 At A Glance: No-compromise musicality in a home theater • Clean and powerful • No-frills design

If you’ve ever spent an afternoon at a big-box store courting eye strain and knee pain comparing the lineup of AVRs, then you’ve doubtless discovered that, superficially at least, the offerings have more in common than not. Sure, the more you spend, the more buzzwords are silk-screened across the front panel, the more HDMI connections you find around back, and, when it comes to power, the more exaggeration you get. One thing about Bryston and power—it’s not within theirs to lie. My first audiophile speakers, Magnepan MG-IIIa speakers, didn’t turn amazing until they met a Bryston 4B amp. If current is what your speakers crave, a Bryston amp could be their best friend.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 27, 2012 2 comments

Cinema 12 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
Model 7.125 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $8,990 At A Glance: Excellent detail and resolution • Music jumps alive • No video processing

Over a decade ago, while writing for a now-defunct audio magazine, my editor shipped me a pair of monoblock Cary tube amps he’d never gotten around to reviewing. Something must have shook loose during transit, because instead of music, all I got when I powered them up was a wisp of smoke as one monoblock sadly committed hara-kiri! The Cary Cinema 12 and Model 7.125 are an eternity of light years away from those fragile forays into bottle socketry. They exude an air of quality and reliability that physically and musically justify their significant price.

Call me weird, but I get excited when I see XLR connectors on my audio gear. Time spent in my fledgling home studio has taught me why pros prefer them. The Cinema 12 offers both single-ended RCA and true, differentially balanced XLR outputs, an arrangement and circuit design mirrored on the Model 7.125 amplifier. The Cinema 12 even offers a pair of stereo analog XLR inputs and a single balanced digital input beyond the roster of seven single-ended analog input pairs. Audio purists will appreciate the fact that you can bypass all digital conversions for your analog sources, including the 7.1 analog input you might use with an SACD player.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 14, 2011 5 comments
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,600 At A Glance: Future-proof modular construction • Great ergonomics • Trades features for performance

Oh, it’s coming, all right. Are you ready for it? That’s right, Smell-O-Vision! I’m not talking about old-school scratch-n-sniff cards, but the real, electrified olfactory emitters specified in the HDMI 1.5 standard. OK, I’m clearly exaggerating the contents of the next HDMI version, but even if that travesty comes to pass, NAD’s Modular Design Construction topology means the T 757 can be upgraded by your dealer, instead of a forklift.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Feb 23, 2011 3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,000 At A Glance: Light on bells and whistles, heavy on high-end sound • Anthem Room Correction worth the additional effort • High value from a true high-end brand

Anthem Lite and Right

When I hear “Anthem,” I also usually hear “ka-ching!” Anthem’s Statement D2v surround processor sells for a cool $8,500, which is enough cash to keep a Colorado hippie blazing in medical marijuana for years. The MRX 700 is the company’s welcome foray into the world of down-to-earth-priced AVRs, punctuated by the inclusion of the same Anthem Room Correction (ARC) system the company uses in its costlier separates. Anthem’s proprietary room correction alone might be enough to swing some consumers’ decision. Those who’ve used ARC with Anthem’s separates (including some people employed by this fine publication) hold it in high regard. An AVR at the MRX 700’s $2,000 price point is going to be up against a lot of stiff competition. Will Anthem pull it off, or is its first attempt at a killer AVR for the masses about to go up in smoke?

Fred Manteghian Posted: Dec 06, 2010 0 comments
Price: $1,595 At A Glance: CD quality, or better, in an easy-to-use iTunes wrapper • iPhone or iPod touch remote control not included

From Air to iTunity

I used to say, “Disk is cheap,” even back in the ’80s when, let’s be honest, it really wasn’t. A 40-megabyte disk drive—go ask your dad what a megabyte is—went for $400 and was about enough to store a 4-minute CD track. Today, I have a pair of 250-gigabyte external drives that ran me half that amount even a few years ago. Together with my laptop, I’ve got a system that easily fulfills my every iTunes fantasy—except one. I still have to rely on an iPod and iPod docking station to get music from the computer rig to my main system across the room. If that’s been bugging you too, check out the Micromega AirStream WM-10. It’s an 802.11n wireless router that your iTunes library can connect to, all for a price that—well, there’s the rub. This thing ain’t cheap.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 29, 2010 3 comments
Price: $2,699 At A Glance: Gobs of clean power • Super ergonomics and my favorite onscreen display • Super-detailed audio

A Bigger Boat

So the red-felt-topped pool table with the Bud Light (get it?) lamp suspended above it in your man cave doesn’t illicit “oohs” and “aahs” from visitors like it once did? Maybe it’s time to re-create that 1980s Crazy Eddie’s look by installing a showroom’s worth of speakers and driving them with the Onkyo TX-NR5008 AVR.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 21, 2010 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $18,000 At A Glance: Audio is smooth yet highly detailed • Amp has power to drive cattle • Great ergonomics • Spartan video

HT editor Shane Buettner laughed at me when I told him I spent two months strength training before the Revel Salon2 speakers arrived at my home last year.

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