July 2017 New Gear

Denon HEOS Bar Soundbar
If experiencing 5.1 surround sound from a single box interests you, read on. The latest addition to the HEOS family of app-controlled wireless multiroom products—the HEOS Bar—uses advanced signal processing and nine drivers to create a spacious soundscape. The 43-inch-wide enclosure is perfect for screens 50 inches or larger and connects wirelessly to Denon’s low-profile HEOS Subwoofer ($599). Sound of Music: In addition to Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio processing, the Bar supports Bluetooth streaming and audio up to 192 kHz/24 bits in resolution, while the HEOS app puts Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, and several other music services at your fingertips. Designed to be placed on a shelf or mounted on the wall, the Bar provides four HDMI 2.0a inputs (one with audio return channel) and a USB port. Price: $899

Denon • (201) 762-6665 • usa.denon.com

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NAD C 338 Chromecast-Enabled Integrated Amp
If “integrated amp” conjures up images of Stereo Review, don’t worry: The C 338 is retro in appearance only. NAD say it’s the first “hi-fi amplifier” to work seamlessly with hundreds of Chromecast-enabled music and audio apps in addition to supporting UPnP and Bluetooth streaming as well as voice control when used with a Google Home speaker. Power of Tradition: NAD upholds its longstanding tradition of conservative power ratings with a HybridDigital amplifier that uses a variable modulation frequency to reduce distortion and a customized Hypex UCD Class D output stage. The upshot: 2 x 50 watts of continuous power into 4 or 8 ohms or 150 watts of dynamic power into 4 ohms. The amp can be controlled via NAD’s app and has a moving-magnet phono stage, analog and optical/coaxial digital inputs, and a headphone amp. Price: $649

NAD • nadelectronics.com

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Oppo Sonica DAC/Network Streamer
Leave it to the tech gurus at Oppo to come up with a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that doubles as an app-based Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/AirPlay media streamer. Built around ESS Technology’s flagship ES9038PRO chipset, the DAC supports hi-res files up to 192 kHz/24 bits in a variety of formats—including FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, and DSD (64x sample rate)—and has an asynchronous transfer mode that upgrades sound from your computer by bypassing its inferior DAC. Balancing Act: To reduce noise and improve channel separation, the audio path is balanced all the way from the DAC to an XLR connector; even the RCA output is converted from the balanced output. As a bonus, you can use the DAC’s aux input to add an existing analog source to a network of wireless Sonica speakers. Coaxial, optical, and USB connections are provided. Price: $799

Oppo • (650) 961-1118 • oppodigital.com

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Vizio D65-E0 Ultra HDTV
We continue to be amazed by the value offered by much of today’s A/V gear. A 65-inch smart TV with 12-zone full-array LED backlighting and ready access to Netflix, YouTube, iHeart Radio, and other streaming services for less than a grand? Crazy, but the truth is, consumer electronics products have outpaced inflation for decades. Wi-Fi connectivity and Vizio’s intuitive Internet Apps Plus platform means everything you need for streaming is built in—no need for extra cables and boxes. Speed Scaling: Impatient viewers will appreciate how the D65’s quad-core processor helps apps load more quickly while Vizio’s “spatial scaling engine” automatically upconverts standard HD programs to 4K. All that plus DTS TruSurround virtual surround processing, four HDMI ports, and a simplified remote with a quick-launch button for Netflix. Price: $900

Vizio • (855) 833-3221 • vizio.com

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Next Level Acoustics Elite Series Soundbar Enclosures
Next Level Acoustics specializes in custom speaker systems but also offers a series of soundbar enclosures designed to provide “the perfect balance between aesthetics and integration.” Intended for soundbars up to 5.5 inches tall, 3.3 inches deep, and 76 inches wide, the MDF enclosures are customized to provide an integrated look with any TV and feature an open top panel with inset grilles to provide “breathing room” when used with the Sonos Playbar. More Than a Pretty Face: Beyond the obvious cosmetic benefits, the enclosures use interior “side reflectors” to focus sound and improve intelligibility in the listening position and are available in open- and closed-back versions for mounting directly to the wall or an articulating TV mount. Gloss black is standard, but custom colors are available. Price: $550 and up, depending on size and finish

Next Level Acoustics • (617) 237-2875 • nextlevelacoustics.com