Flat-panel TVs—and the speakers that love to be with them—receive such obsessive attention from the press that you'd think all other forms of video display—and the speakers that love to be with them—had disappeared. Jamo has fed the trend with their remarkable 2F speaker system, which teams perfectly with a plasma display. But rear-projection sets are still around. In fact, with DLP-, LCD-, and CRT-based models to choose from, they're taking on slimmer shapes, waxing in both cool factor and diversity.
The speakers in my walls are probably more expensive than the paintings many art lovers have on theirs. That's because good sound is important to me. Fine art is wonderful, but I get as much pleasure from accurate loudspeakers as an art lover gets from an exceptional painting or object d'art. So it doesn't bother me that the SpeakerCraft Starlet 4 in-wall speakers cost close to $4,000 per pair. I'll gladly spend more to get the performance I want.
There is something to be said for 1080p. It is, after all, the so-called holy grail of HD. As far as the mainstream end of the market is concerned, there are only three displays available now that support it: This Sharp, the "mine's bigger than yours," 1-inch-larger Samsung LCD, reviewed in the April 2005 issue, and the Sony 70-inch LCOS (sorry, SXRD) rear-projection TV. If you have money to burn, there are several front projectors that are 1080p and cost more than a Camry—and a couple of plasmas that cost more than several Camrys.
Klipsch and Yamaha show that not every Spotlight System requires a second mortgage.
So far, we may have given you the false impression that the pages of this new column were going to be dedicated almost exclusively to the rarified air of the high end. After all, there has only been one installment so far that rang in under five figures, and last month's MiCon Audio system seriously blew the curve with a price tag roughly equivalent to that of a decent house in some parts of the country. Little did you know it was all part of an ingenious plan to build momentum for the column with flashy, big-ticket systems before settling in to the meat and potatoes of the A/V world—i.e., the systems the rest of us can afford. This month's Klipsch/ Yamaha combo is just such a system. Sure, it's not something you'll be able to buy with the change you find in your sofa, but it is certainly more attainable to a broader range of people than the MiCon Audios of the world are.
Early DLP projectors gave me headaches, literally. What's more, as little as 15 minutes in a darkened room with a DLP projector left me unable to read the printed word. I doubted Texas Instruments, manufacturer of the micromirror technology used in every DLP display, would ever have considered using me in one of their commercials. Imagine staring at large red and green dots while someone shakes your head violently enough that you begin seeing yellow. Welcome to my migraine.
McIntosh ranks among the best-known names in high-end audio. Since the company's inception in the early 1950s, McIntosh products, with their immediately recognizable black-glass front panels, have earned a place in homes of passionate audiophiles throughout the world.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.mf.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=180 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>A <I>Wall Street Journal</I> exposé last April on television "tech gurus" who are paid by manufacturers to show products on the air caught the attention of many media watchdogs. The story, by James Bandler, also caught a buzz among working journalists, including those of us at <I>Stereophile</I> and <I>UAV</I>, since the story's main focus was on former <I>Stereophile</I> writer and current <I>Today Show</I> tech editor Corey Greenberg.
Late last week, D&M Holdings and Boston Acoustics announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement in which D&M will purchase Boston Acoustics for $17.50 per share in cash for a total of approximately $76 million. The deal adds Boston Acoustics' premium speaker line (along with the Snell brand, which BA acquired within the last couple of years) to D&M's already impressive portfolio, including Denon, Marantz, and McIntosh, as well as the D&M Professional, ReplayTV, Rio, and Escient brands.