New Gear for Fall 2021

We’re seeing a welcome uptick in new A/V products as the holiday season approaches. Most notable is the arrival of four A/V receivers, a category that has been relatively quiet for much of 2021, and a new $2,500 ultra-short-throw projector.

Denon Touts 8K Compatibility in New Budget AVRs

Denon is highlighting affordability and future readiness with the introduction of three 8K-ready AV receivers, ranging in price from $449 to $699.

The S-Series 5.2-channel AVR-S660H ($449) and 7.2-channel AVR-S760H ($549) announced today join the 7.2-channel AVR-X1700H (shown, $699), an X-Series model due out in November. All boast six HDMI inputs, three of which support for 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz pass-through up to 40Gbps, high dynamic range (HDR) processing for the HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) formats, 8K upscaling, and other features you might not expect to find at these prices.

The S760H and X1700H models support 5.1.2 speaker layouts with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround-sound processing and include Dolby Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X processing for creating an immersive experience in setups that lack height or even surround speakers, as in a simple 2.1 speaker layout. The S660H lacks Atmos and DTS:X processing but provides Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding in addition to DTS Neo:X virtual surround sound.

Rated power output is 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms for the X1700H and 75 watts per channel for the S760H and S660H. The X1700H and S760H have an assignable multiroom speaker terminal, while the S760H is the only model to include IMAX Enhanced processing and a front-panel HDMI input. The X1700H is the only model with assignable A/B speaker outputs.

All models are Roon Tested to ensure seamless integration with the subscription-based Roon music management system and support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) technologies for a smoother, more responsive gaming experience. Other common features include eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) connectivity for delivering uncompressed, object-based audio from the TV via a single HDMI cable, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub sampling, BT.2020 pass-through, and HDCP 2.3 copy protection.

Audyssey’s MultEQ XT room correction is also standard across the three receivers. The automated processing detects the size, type and configuration of the speakers used and measures in-room response to optimize performance. A preset function enables the user to store and switch between settings for two different speaker configurations. The receiver also has a Dialog Enhancer for adjusting the level of speech on the fly and a new HDMI signal feature to confirm whether the signal passing through the receiver is 8K or 4K120 and which HDR format is engaged.

Voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri is supported on all models along with wireless streaming through Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and Denon’s HEOS multiroom music platform, while a front-panel USB port enables playback of FLAC, ALAC, and WAV files up to 24 bits/192 kHz and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz files. Analog is not left behind as all three receivers are equipped with phono and RCA inputs in addition to optical and coaxial digital inputs and dual subwoofer outputs.

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Q Acoustics Expands Concept Speaker Series

U.K. audio specialist Q Acoustics has expanded its Concept speaker series with three new models designed to prevent vibration and resonance from intruding on the sound produced by the speaker.

Due out in November, the two-way Concept 30 bookshelf model ($1,299/pair), Concept 50 floorstanding speaker ($2,999/pair), and Concept 90 center-channel model ($999) take advantage of acoustic technology developed for the brand’s flagship Concept 300 and 500 speakers in addition to employing a number of new “anti-resonance innovations” intended to produce the “quietest possible cabinet.”

All models sport a new look with gently curved cabinetry and are built around a new 0.9-inch tweeter and 5-inch mid/woofer featuring a 1.2-inch voice coil designed to increase power handling by 50% over a comparable driver with a typical 1-inch voice coil.

Designed as an integral part of the speaker’s mechanical structure, the 5-inch driver is fixed to a stiff aluminum baffle plate before it is attached to the cabinet to ensure the “correct acoustic seal,” while dampening vibrations and minimizing structural coupling. The tweeter is hermetically sealed and mechanically isolated from the baffle, which is said to reduce distortion and allow a lower crossover point for “seamless integration through the crossover region.”

In yet another resonance reducing measure, the crossover is mounted to the base of the cabinet — which itself is isolated from the rest of the enclosure — to keep it free of vibration and away from the electro-magnetic influence of the drivers. A variation on the “isolation base” principle developed for the Concept 300, the new models sit on a “sprung baseplate” with two plates separated by suspension ‘spheres’ that effectively isolate the cabinet from external vibrations.

A dual-layer Gelcore cabinet construction with a pliable gel sandwiched between the layers is used across the line to dissipate high-frequency vibration and reduce cabinet noise. The bookshelf and tower models also employ the same Point-2-Point (P2P) internal bracing used in the flagship Concept 500 speaker to stiffen the cabinet and minimize low-frequency vibrations. To prevent a build-up of pressure that can cause unwanted standing waves and reverberations in tall enclosures, the inside of the Concept 50 tower is fitted with Helmholtz Pressure Equalizers (HPE).

The Concept 30, 50, and 90 speakers are available in the same black, silver, and white high-gloss lacquer finishes offered on the top-of-the-line Concept 300 and 500 models.

Q Acoustics is also offering the Concept 50 5.1 home theater package comprising two Concept 50 towers, a pair of Concept 30 speakers, a Concept 90 center speaker, and a Q B12 powered subwoofer for $6,295. Options include the Q FS75 speaker stand for the Concept 30 ($499/pair) and the WB75 wall bracket ($89), available in white or black.

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LG TVs Get Discovery+, HBO Max Free for 6 Months

LG has been busy lining up content deals during the month of Halloween. Americans who own an LG smart TV now have direct access to Discovery+ through a new app that appears onscreen.

Specializing in non-fiction programming, the subscription streaming service offers 60,000 episodes of current and classic shows from Discovery’s portfolio of networks, which includes HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Magnolia Network. More than 200 original titles, including True Crime documentaries, are also available to subscribers of Discovery+ along with content from A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, and the BBC. Discovery+ costs $4.99 a month with ads or $6.99/month without.

LG is also running a promotion through November 12 offering six months of the HBO Max Ad-Free plan for free with the purchase of 2021 OLED and QNED MiniLED TVs. The offer is valued at $90. Click here for details, including a list of eligible TV models.

HBO Max is home to Max Originals and content from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Turner Classic Movies.

XGIMI Unveils $2,500 Ultra-Short-Throw Projector

China’s portable projection-TV specialist XGIMI has expanded beyond the portables niche with an ultra-short-throw (UST) 4K projector priced to command attention.

The $2,500 Aura is a laser-lit DLP projector with an ANSI-rated brightness of 2,400 lumens designed to project a 150-inch image when placed about 17 inches from the wall. Projected images are said to cover 80% of the DCI P3 color gamut and the projector uses 60Hz motion-compensation technology to reduce blur with sports and other fast moving programs.

HDR10 high dynamic range (HDR) is supported and the projector provides eight-point keystone correction for adjusting picture size and quality. Its laser light source has a rated lifespan of 25,000 hours, which assumes an average use of 4 hours per day in a normal environment. The projector uses diffuse reflection imaging to “eliminate harmful blue light” and is equipped with infrared (IR) sensors that detect the presence of a person or animal and automatically dim the laser to protect unsuspecting eyes from exposure to potentially damaging radiation.

Based on the Android TV 10.0 platform, the Aura supports Google Assistant voice control and provides easy access to a host of popular streaming apps through Chromecast. The projector is designed to boot up in 12 seconds and boasts a Harman Kardon-designed sound system featuring two tweeters, two woofers, and a 4 x 15-watt amplifier plus DTS-HD, DTS Studio Sound, and Dolby Audio processing.

Connections include three HDMI 2.0 inputs, two USB inputs, and an optical audio output. For more information, visit