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Fred Manteghian

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Mar 27, 2005 0 comments

Meridian, noon, the sun's highest point in the day, a reference for mariners, the pinnacle of light. I almost hated putting the gorgeous Meridian G68ADV surround processor and G98DH DVD player to work in my Salamander Synergy cabinet. For a week, before Ken Forsythe of Meridian America arrived to help me set them up, the two units sat atop my bar in a position of prominence. With fine, architecturally interesting lines and finished on all sides (only the rear panel speaks strictly to function), these star Meridian designs were far more handsome in person than in print. Still, this $8999 processor and $5999 DVD player were here to perform. And what a virtuoso performance.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 05, 2004 0 comments

Canadian speaker manufacturer Paradigm Electronics is but a 90-minute drive from Niagara Falls, New York, home of the classic heart-shaped-tub honeymoon suite. The few months I spent with the Paradigms were a honeymoon of sorts. An Armenian and a sextet of Canadians—and they said it wouldn't last! Now, after two months, the honeymoon may be over—but will the magic go on?

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Oct 16, 2004 0 comments

A cross between a torque-driven Datsun Z and a rev-happy Mazda RX was the first thing I thought of when I read the model designation of Yamaha's new flagship receiver: RX-Z9. I wasn't far off. This baby is a beast of a receiver with enough horse under the hood to drag you kicking and spitting into a 21st-century home theater beyond reproach. The list of standard features is as long as a dragster's tailpipes, but starting with the 170W to each of seven primary channels (and another 50W for two Presence channels), Yamaha's intentions are quite clear: This is all the receiver you need!

Fred Manteghian Posted: Oct 15, 2004 0 comments

V, Inc.'s Bravo D1 was the first inexpensive ($199) DVI-equipped DVD player on the market. The D2 is V, Inc.'s response to a little competition from some bigger names in the field, but nobody can beat the D2's price: $249. If you're still not hip to what DVI is, it's probably because you don't have a DVI input on your TV or projector. Simply put, the Digital Visual Interface (DVI) keeps the video signal in the digital domain all the way from the disc to your TV. And if you're the owner of a new plasma or LCD panel, or a DLP or LCD front or rear projector with a DVI input, you should be very excited indeed.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Oct 15, 2004 3 comments

From the high hills of Boulder, Colorado, comes a $6000 DVD player that doesn't also play SACD or DVD-Audio discs—or, as is increasingly demanded, both. In fact, there are no analog audio outputs at all, only digital. Still, the Ayre DX-7 offers something that can't be ignored: a beautiful picture that, in some cases, compares with the best I've seen in my system. Welcome to the mile-high high end.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 02, 2004 0 comments

I keep hearing that thin is in. While my goal of joining the slender set has always been a struggle between food and evil, I'm at least beginning to surround myself with the trappings of that lifestyle. Gone is my bulky 36-inch direct-view CRT, replaced by a Belgian-waffle-thin plasma. Now comes this quintet of speakers from the original manufacturer of thin-is-in speakers, Magnepan. This was not my first experience with planar-magnetic speakers—a long-gone pair of Maggies was my first true audiophile love. But love is no substitute for food. Could these new Maggies sustain me?

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Fred Manteghian Posted: May 23, 2004 0 comments

<I>Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Chad Michael Murray. Directed by Mark S. Waters. Aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (anamorphic), 4:3. Dolby Digital 5.1. 93 minutes. 2003. Disney 31852. PG. $29.99.</I>

Fred Manteghian Posted: May 16, 2004 0 comments

The Stage One is Aragon's second-generation surround processor, replacing and retiring the original Stage. The Stage One combines a strikingly machined front panel with the latest thinking in surround processing, including no processing at all for us vinyl buffs. And in a concession to those who think there might still be something on the public airwaves worth listening to in this ClearChannel world, the Stage One also throws in an AM/FM tuner. Visually, the robust 5-channel Aragon 3005 and 2-channel 3002 amps share the Mondial-inspired "M" design with the Stage One.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Apr 18, 2004 1 comments

Denmark is home to Dynaudio, one of the world's finest speaker manufacturers. After beginning modestly as a maker of speaker drivers, Dynaudio rapidly gained accolades from OEMs and the international do-it-yourself speaker-building conspiracy. But don't let their industrial background mislead you. Dynaudio's Contour and Confidence speaker lines are among the most classically striking speakers in the market today: business and beauty bundled together, in a high-end showroom near you.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 04, 2004 0 comments

While large Japanese electronic firms have always raced neck and neck to bring consumers all the latest features in surround-processor technology, smaller "high-end" manufacturers on this side of the Pacific seem less inclined to frequent the bleeding edge. Bucking the trend is Canadian manufacturer Class&#233;, whose newest surround processor is as full-featuredly up-to-the-acronym as Tokyo's finest. The SSP-60's multichannel analog inputs are de rigueur for reproducing discrete SACD and DVD-Audio surround formats, while the inclusion of both Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 will breathe new life into your 2-channel movie and music collections.

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