2004 Reviewer's Choice Awards Page 4

Atlantic Technology System 4200 Home Theater Speaker System atlantic 4200 Photo by Tony Cordoza (original review, May) This $3,500 system appeals to my preference for designs that put performance first. Atlantic Technology's System 4200 relies on conventional cone-and-dome speaker technology but simply gets it all right . The sound was consistently superb, with clean, relaxed, yet sparkling treble and virtually no bass boom.

Just as important, the System 4200 can be tweaked to maximize its performance in a wide variety of rooms. Each front speaker has both a Boundary Compensation switch, to smooth out the sound when it's placed close to a wall or a big TV screen, and a three-position treble Tilt switch. And the wedge-shaped surrounds can be switched between dipole and bipole radiation patterns for more spacious or more focused sound.

Okay, there is one bit of gee-whiz tech: the metal-screen grilles are held in place by tiny, curiously strong magnets. "Niftoid!" is what I said at the time, and I ain't changing my story now.

-Daniel Kumin

Atlantic Technology atlantictechnology.com, 781-762-6300

Yamaha RX-V750 Digital Surround Receiver Yamaha RX-V750 (original review, September) Yamaha's RX-V750 is everything a good 7.1-channel A/V receiver ought to be: powerful, easy to use, rich in helpful design touches, and excellent at every crucial surround sound task. Just as important, it's mercifully free of the things such a receiver shouldn't have: no complex features of questionable usefulness, no confusing layers of submenus, and no needlessly flashy switches, knobs, or displays. And at $650 (list), it doesn't cost as much as a spa weekend in Malibu .

Its most distinctive feature is its auto-setup routine - one of the first in a midprice receiver. Plug its small, UFO-shaped microphone into the front-panel jack, and the receiver sends test tones to each of your speakers and uses what the mike picks up from them to set the speaker "size," distance, and level for each channel with impressive accuracy - it even warns you if a speaker is misconnected. Very cool. Add an exceptional palette of surround modes and a user-friendly preprogrammed/learning remote control, and you have a receiver that can't be beat at the price.

-Daniel Kumin

Yamaha yamaha.com/yec, 800-492-6242

Mitsubishi WD-52525 52-inch DLP HDTV Mitsubishi 52-inch DLP HDTVPhoto by Tony Cordoza (original review, November) Not every big, silver-and-black box is created equal. With a finely chosen blend of understated style, up-to-date features, and uncompromising picture quality, Mitsubishi's newest DLP HDTV puts the competition to shame. At $4,000 list, the 52-inch WD-52525 does cost a bit more than competing DLP sets in this size range, but the extra cost is well worth it. Among its laundry list of features is NetCommand, a system designed to control all of your A/V components using an onscreen interface. Add to that a trio of component-video inputs, a CableCARD slot, a built-in HDTV tuner, an extremely useful set of color controls, a slick onscreen menu, and an easy-to-use remote, and the TV looks great on paper.

In person, I appreciated its vibrant, accurate colors and deep blacks, and its handling of darker scenes was among the best I've ever seen in a DLP: clean and full of shadow detail. Whether you want to control a rackful of gear through your TV or want one of the best pictures DLP has to offer, the WD-52525 is the complete package.

-David Katzmaier

Mitsubishi mitsubishi-tv.com, 800-332-2119