Photos by Tony Cordoza The model numbers for Harman Kardon's latest line of A/V receivers recall those the company used for receivers it introduced some 20 years ago, and I'm betting that's no accident. Back then, HK scored a solid hit with a compact, simple, affordable stereo receiver called the 330C that was modestly powered but provided consistently good sound.
Photos by Tony Cordoza Samsung's SIR-S4120R neatly combines two of the coolest products in today's pantheon of A/V wonders - digital satellite TV receivers and TiVo video hard-disk recorders (HDRs) - in one trim component that looks more or less like an ordinary DirecTV receiver.
Photos by Tony Cordoza As I unpacked Athena Technologies' Audition Series home theater speakers, I recalled that Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, reason, and purity. Was it wise and reasonable, I wondered, to expect purity of sound from a six-piece system that costs less than $1,500? If anyone could make such a system, though, I figured Athena could.
Have you been waiting for the high-resolution audio formats, Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio, to get their acts together? Have you, like me, said, "Format war? Bah! No flippin' way am I buying two more players just for these things! And it's for major sure I'm not spending a grand or two on a new combi-player!"
Photos by Tony Cordoza Not too long ago, a loyal Sound & Vision reader wrote complaining that the "audio/video" preamps and receivers we regularly review are really just plain-audio components with a few video inputs and switching thrown in. Point taken. So here's an A/V component with some actual video: the Rotel RSP-1098.
Photos by Tony Cordoza My old man told me I'd get nowhere trying to be all things to all people, but Denon appears to have done pretty well by flouting this adage with its new DVD-2900. (I always knew Dad was full of it.) It plays optical discs in just about every current video or audio flavor.
Your new A/V receiver's front panel seems friendly enough with its softly winking LEDs and ergonomic layout of buttons and knobs. But turn that sucker around, and you'll find a menacing thicket of jacks, terminals, and other connectors - some familiar, some not.