Other Source Component Reviews

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Rebecca Day  |  Feb 14, 2006  |  First Published: Feb 15, 2006  |  0 comments
A complete system you won't want to hide in the basement.

My basement audio/video system is so last century. It's a mix-and-match collection of gear that's been retired as I've put together my real home theater system upstairs. The TV, a 30-inch analog CRT, circa 1988, doesn't even have a flat picture tube to its credit. The receiver maxes out at four-channel Dolby Pro Logic, and the speaker system is a mishmash of center and surround speakers (unmatched), with unshielded front speakers that deliver a killer image with stereo music but an unwelcome rainbow of colors when placed next to a video display. The DVD player is the only current-millennium piece in the stack, but not by much.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jun 28, 2001  |  First Published: Jun 29, 2001  |  0 comments
Move over, Volvo. There's a new Swedish import to love.

I used to be one of those snide individuals who took joy in deriding people who drove Volvos. In my admittedly limited experience, a swiftly moving Volvo was invariably piloted by an aggressive female hell-bent on a mission to get Junior to his soccer game or Missy to her Brownie troop meeting on time. In the minds of these monomaniacal matriarchs, the brakes included on the vehicle were exclusively for emergencies. Then, through a curious train of events, I became the owner of a used Volvo 740GL. Despite some of its nagging proclivities—like spending more time parked in the mechanic's garage than in mine—I became quite enamored of that car. Its boxy shape and heavily overbuilt feel made it a deeply comforting and enjoyable automobile in which to travel. I'm not talking the plush and cushy kind of comfort here. This was more the secure and stable kind of comfort.

John Sciacca  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments

Peanut butter and chocolate. Wine and cheese. Lennon and McCartney. Some things are great on their own, but when they meet their perfect counterpart, the result can be pure magic.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 28, 2008  |  0 comments
A cease fire or a bridge too far?

Months ago, when Samsung announced its BD-UP5000 dual format player, there appeared to be no end in sight to an ugly format war that threatened the future of high definition on a disc.

Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 28, 2006  |  0 comments
Spent almost everything on your HDTV? You can still afford a friend for it.

The war between competing next-generation, high-definition-quality DVD formats is still unfolding, a saga with more twists than an entire season of Lost. As I write this, manufacturers are still not offering specific product announcements or firm release dates. The problem is, HDTV is a reality right now. While the current over-the-air, cable, and satellite content is compelling and continuing to grow, I for one put the enjoyment of packaged media above all others, and I hate the thought that my HDTV's capabilities are often going to waste. What then to feed it?

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Aug 05, 2002  |  First Published: Aug 06, 2002  |  0 comments
Few things have dropped in price as quickly as DVD players. Less than a year ago, progressive-scan models like this one would have cost over $1,000. Now, you can find the Samsung DVD-P421 progressive-scan player for well under $200.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments
The DVD-V3800 combines popular technologies from yesterday and today.

Samsung was the first to market with a backwards-compatible, single-box DVD/VHS combi player a few years ago. It's still a hot product as consumers continue to wrestle with the whole VHS-versus-DVD quandary. Most manufacturers keep upping the ante in small ways, adding this output or that performance enhancement on the digital half—there's only so much room for improvement on a standard VHS recorder, after all—without really rocking the multimedia boat. Finally going a step further, Samsung has incorporated a multi-format flash-memory card reader into the top-of-the-line model in their recent wave of value decks.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 05, 2007  |  First Published: May 06, 2007  |  0 comments
Teasing the high end while still embracing the previous generation.

I recently read somewhere that DVD's install base had eclipsed that of VHS, the former king of meat-and-potatoes home entertainment. I flashed nostalgically on DVD's initial toehold in rental outlets like Blockbuster and stores such as Suncoast, as well as its relentless growth to the point where VHS was relegated to a single shelf before disappearing altogether. I'm sure that recordable DVD still remains a runner-up to the ubiquitous videocassette—even though blank DVDs cost less than blank tapes and recording decks are at all-time-low prices. Still, for reasons that escape me, VHS just won't lie down, even though the consumer electronics coroner has pronounced it dead.

Daniel Kumin  |  Jan 19, 2004  |  0 comments

Photos by Tony Cordoza Samsung's SIR-S4120R neatly combines two of the coolest products in today's pantheon of A/V wonders - digital satellite TV receivers and TiVo video hard-disk recorders (HDRs) - in one trim component that looks more or less like an ordinary DirecTV receiver.

Joel Brinkley  |  Feb 15, 2003  |  0 comments

Anyone in the market for a digital television receiver in recent months might have found them hard to come by. Manufacturers stopped making older models early this year when they began working on newer ones with updated features and receiver chips. Because most digital receivers these days also double as DirecTV tuners, one factor motivating this retooling was DirecTV's decision last year to make DVI the official digital-connection format for the service, forcing manufacturers to provide new receivers with DVI outputs.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Oct 22, 2005  |  0 comments
Feed your hungry eyes and ears on an attractively entertaining meal of lean on-wall speakers and tender, choice electronics.

Whether by nature or nurture, I'm a speaker guy. I'm more captivated by speakers than any of the associated electronics in a home theater system. As a result of this singular infatuation, I've always believed, as a general rule of thumb, that you should allocate at least half of the total cost of the audio portion of your system to the speakers. I don't know why the math seems to work out that way, but, in my mind, it just does. So what am I to make of a system in which the Primare electronics cost twice as much as the Sequence/REL speaker package?

Kevin Hunt  |  Oct 15, 2004  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2004  |  0 comments
1-Bit o honey.

In a previous lifetime, the Sharp SD-PX2 was probably a too-cool 1940s Bakelite radio—boxy, plastic, and proud of it. The SD-PX2 DVD/receiver is a certifiable forward-thinker. Utilizing Sharp's 1-Bit digital amplifier technology, the streamline SD-PX2 packs a DVD player and receiver into a stand-up chassis that, at only 4.5 inches deep, wouldn't look out of place on a bedside stand.

Chris Lewis  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
The high end of high-end universals.

There are essentially two types of high-resolution audio: that which comes out of a high-end player and that which doesn't. Now, before I go on extolling the virtues of high-end players—and when I say high-end, I'm not talking about price alone—I should point out how impressed I am even by what inexpensive players can do with SACD and DVD-Audio. I've heard these formats sound good coming out of sub-$500 players, and that, to me, is one of the most telling indications that these formats are indeed living up to their promise of significantly higher-quality digital sound. But, as with CD, vinyl, or any other format that preceded SACD and DVD-Audio, they sound that much better through a top-shelf player. You can't say you've truly experienced a format until you've experienced it from a high-end system, and a true high-end system starts with a high-end player.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 23, 2007  |  First Published: Mar 23, 2007  |  0 comments
Together again for the first time.

As I unboxed this month's Spotlight System, I flashed on the innovative histories of Marantz and Snell Acoustics. Saul B. Marantz was a bona fide American audio pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s. His company's electronics not only sounded amazing, they were drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe that's why Marantz's early designs regularly sell on eBay for more than their original prices. Peter Snell was one of the brightest speaker designers to emerge in the mid-1970s. Back in the day, I owned a pair of his first speakers, the Type A, and had many conversations with Peter about music. In those simpler times, Saul Marantz and Peter Snell could launch their companies armed with not much more than a driving passion to produce great audio gear—and the inspired engineering to make the dream real. Best of all, both companies still adhere to their founders' perfectionistic traditions.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jun 11, 2002  |  First Published: Jun 12, 2002  |  0 comments
�ReplayTV goes online.

At first glance, this appears to be yet another review of yet another PVR. Sure, this PVR looks a little cooler and seems a bit newer, but take a closer look at the back panel. There amongst all of the inputs you'd expect to see is an Ethernet connection. ReplayTV and new owner SONICblue have pushed the PVR to the next level: the Internet.

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