New Products -- December 2002


Decided between DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD yet? You don't have to commit when you have the Marantz DV8300 player-it handles both high-resolution multichannel audio formats and is even said to provide full bass management for them. There are built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoders for DVD-Video discs and a progressive-scan component-video output with 2:3 pulldown for optimum image quality. Let's not forget that it also plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including those with MP3 files), DVD-Rs and DVD-RWs, Video CDs, and Super Video CDs. A Video Off function disables the video circuitry during audio-only playback. Price: $1,599., 630-741-0300


If you love TV, you'll love Toshiba's RD-X2 combination hard-disk/DVD video recorder. The combo deck lets you store 104 hours at the lowest quality level on the 80-gigabyte (GB) drive, and you can archive your favorite shows on DVD-R or DVD-RAM. Dubbing from drive to disc (or vice versa) is done in the digital domain, with no loss in quality, and at speeds up to 8x for DVD-RAM. As with other video hard-disk recorders, you can pause live TV, watch a recording in progress, and quickly skip commercials. Toshiba offers no electronic program guide, but the recorder has VCR Plus and an NTSC tuner. Connectors include one component-, four composite-, and two S-video outputs, an RF input and output, and both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs. Price: $1,499., 800-631-3811


The AS-F2 speaker (shown) leads Athena's Audition Series, which also includes the floor-standing AS-F1, the AS-B1 and AS-B2 bookshelf speakers, the AS-C1 center speaker, and the AS-P400 subwoofer. Standing 41 1/2 inches tall, the AS-F2, with two 8-inch woofers and a 1-inch dome tweeter, has a rated frequency response of 35 Hz to 20 kHz ±3 dB and a sensitivity of 93 dB. The AS-B2 is a two-way design with a 61/2-inch woofer and a frequency response of 50 Hz to 20 kHz ±3 dB. And with a 10-inch driver and an amplifier rated at 100 watts, the AS-P400 subwoofer is said to reach down to 23 Hz. It measures 11 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 15 3/8 inches. Prices: AS-B1, AS-B2, AS-F1, and AS-F2, $149 to $599 a pair; AS-C1, $179; AS-P400, $400., 416-321-1800


Hot for a widescreen TV, but still waiting for your mutual funds to recover? Samsung's 30-inch TXM3096WHF DynaFlat HDTV monitor could be your windfall-the direct-view set gives you 16:9 images for less than a grand. There are two sets of wideband component-video inputs for 1080i-format HDTV signals, and the built-in line doubler will upconvert 480i (interlaced) signals to 480p (progressive). The built-in stereo speakers can produce virtual surround sound, and there are four composite-video inputs and one S-video input for other video sources. A universal remote control is supplied. Price: $999., 800-726-7864


A sound idea: music anytime, anywhere in your house. This audio utopia can be yours with Integra's Net-Tunes server/client system. The NAS-2.3 audio server (bottom) has an 80-GB hard drive that can store an entire library of music as MP3 files. When you rip a disc from the built-in CD player, you can save the tracks uncompressed or in the MP3 format at 320, 192, or 128 kilobits per second (kbps). The server automatically retrieves artist, track, and title information online through an Ethernet port, which it also uses to communicate with up to a dozen NAC-2.3 clients (top). The client has a front-panel display for searching the server's content and can even tune into Internet radio over a broadband connection. Its analog output jacks can feed a preamp or receiver, though it has its own built-in 15-watt amplifier and spring clips for speakers as well as a standard AM/FM tuner. Prices: server, $2,000; client, $500 each., 800-225-1946


Conventional speakers too edgy for your decor? Jamo's A 210PDD home theater speaker system is nothing but curves. The five egg-shaped satellite speakers have the same two-way design, with a 1-inch tweeter, a 3 3/4-inch woofer, and a rated frequency response of 140 Hz to 20 kHz -6 dB. Overall dimensions are 4 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 3 inches, and they weigh only a pound apiece. The wheel-shaped subwoofer combines an 8-inch long-throw woofer with an 8-inch passive radiator, resulting in a rated response of 45 to 160 Hz -6 dB. All of the components can be wall-mounted, and optional floor stands for the satellites are available for $125 a pair. Graphite finishes and silver grilles complete the system's modern look. Price: $599., 847-465-0005