POWER AMPLIFIER REVIEWS

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Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 08, 2017  |  0 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,800, $2,950

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High power in compact, Class D package
Dynamic, uncolored sound
Runs relatively cool
Minus
Channel configurations not ideal for typical surround layouts

THE VERDICT
All the power most will ever need, with the sound quality you want in a slim, cool-running package.

Power amplifiers are God’s gift to the long-suffering audio reviewer, his (or her) compensation for all those A/V receivers, smart-streamers, net-connected speakers, and assorted other CPU-centric components that gray and thin our hair. No arcane MAC or IP addresses for the power amp; no obfuscatory wireless setup routines, stubbornly mute computer connections for auto-EQ procedures, or HDMI ports that refuse to shake hands with other HDMI ports. Whatever its provenance, the power amp demands little more than audio inputs, speaker outputs, and a power cord and calls it good.

Chris Lewis  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments
Lexicon's CX-7 is ready for its due.

No matter the dollar amount involved, it happens to everyone: You get locked on to something new, you watch the glowing reviews and awards pile up, and you consider pulling the trigger when either financial reality or conservatism kicks in. You ultimately think, "If only it were a few hundred (or thousand, or hundred thousand) dollars less." Patience usually pays off, though. That's as clear in the A/V world as it is anywhere, especially in the high end. It's only natural that, when a manufacturer rolls out a new design or line, they start with their best foot forward, which usually ends up being the more-expensive foot. However, most manufacturers will eventually give those of you who are limited to lower price brackets—either by choice or necessity—a taste with lower-priced models. With the legitimate companies, the gap in price between models is almost always significantly greater than the gap in performance.

Chris Lewis  |  Dec 19, 2002  |  First Published: Dec 20, 2002  |  0 comments
Lexicon's MC-12 pre/pro gets a high-powered playmate.

I suppose that I'm starting to sound like a broken record when I talk about the concept of matching in home theater, but how else can I call attention to one of the most important aspects of creating a successful system? After all, matching audio/video equipment is not unlike matching in other areas of our lives. The proper combination of amps, speakers, room characteristics, and, well, everything else can create an exciting, dynamic, and highly satisfying experience for all involved. The wrong combination is usually mundane, lifeless, and, if you will, impotent. Sparks in the listening room come about in a similar way as sparks in other rooms of the house—they require experience and effort. A little bit of passion never hurts, either.

Jerry Kindela  |  Jul 23, 2007  |  0 comments
Pushing the technology envelope.

Founded in early 1972 by Ivor Tiefenbrun, Scottish manufacturer Linn Products has consistently been on the cutting edge of audio development and delivered products that have enamored many audiophiles. Just think of the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, the Sondek CD12 compact-disc player, or even the Komponent speaker system that Michael Trei reviewed in these pages (in the March 2006 issue). Linn has routinely pushed the boundaries and treaded ahead of the manufacturing pack. Case in point: the Chakra range of amplifiers, which rely on switch-mode power supplies, plus other proprietary developments on the audio-circuit side.

Steven Stone  |  Dec 11, 2002  |  0 comments

In the realm of 2-channel high-end audio, tube power amplifiers are still king&mdash;so you'd expect them to hold court, or at least a decent market share, in the world of high-end home theater as well. Alas, most home theaters are tubeless, except for the cathode-ray tubes in CRT projectors and direct-view monitors. Perhaps the time has come for tube power amplifiers to make an inroad into home theater. Manley Laboratories' new Snapper monoblock&mdash;the first tube-based power amplifier to be reviewed in the <I>Guide</I>&mdash;could be just the unit to pull the sword from the stone.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 04, 2011  |  10 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Receiver priced, separates performance and power • Next-gen Internet connectivity and versatility • Sophisticated sonics, simplified setup

Everybody’s Been Burned

Are you weighed down by a boat anchor of an expensive, powerful, but obsolete A/V receiver that doesn’t have HDMI inputs or processing for the latest lossless audio formats? You’re not alone. Everybody’s been burned by fast-moving technological change. You could unload your boat anchor for a few hundred dollars on eBay or AudiogoN and start over. But should you? Consider that today’s cost-conscious race-to-the-bottom A/V receivers and even some separates seem to be getting cheaper but worse sounding, not better. But if Marantz’s AV7005 surround processor and MM7055 amplifier are as good as the hype suggests, this could be the way to go. And in case of future obsolescence, at least now you’re into separates, which makes upgrades a less pricey proposition.

uavKim Wilson  |  Aug 20, 2008  |  0 comments

In the world of cars, any make and model will get you where you need to go. Some will get you there faster, and others will get you there in style. However, only a select few exude an air of sophistication and grace.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 13, 2008  |  0 comments
An Antidote to the AVR

With flagship A/V receivers approaching apartment building size and black-hole heft, there’s a great deal to be said about separating the brains of the operation from the brawn. If you choose separates, it means you never have to borrow a construction crane to hoist a feature-laden, mega-watt seven- or eight-channel receiver onto a tall equipment rack.

David Vaughn  |  Feb 20, 2013  |  14 comments

AV8801 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
MM8077 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: AV8801, $3,599; MM8077, $2,399 At a Glance: Up to 11.2-channel playback with Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Sub EQ HT Apple AirPlay support

As A/V enthusiasts, we are constantly on the lookout for the best audio and video we can find, and when we reach that state of nirvana, we enjoy our equipment until the next CES or CEDIA when we then hear about something new and begin to worry that our system will soon be second best. Writing for Home Theater makes me an unwilling accomplice in this never-ending cycle of upgrade-itis, but truth be told, I’m just as affected by this as the rest of you. Thankfully, I’m able to get my fix by having lots of equipment moving through my rack, but every now and then, I fall in love with a piece and don’t want it to leave my possession.

 |  Jul 10, 2006  |  0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $7,600</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Seven channels; 200-Watts per channel into 8 ohms</LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706macmc207.jpg" WIDTH=270 HEIGHT=175 BORDER=0>

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 25, 2007  |  0 comments

It starts with the box. These components are packaged in boxes that appear to be built with greater precision and care than most of the mainstream home theater <I>electronics</I> you're likely to encounter. A miniature homeless person's mansion, I imagined, lifting these two solid jewels from their form fitting enclosures.

Chris Lewis  |  May 01, 2005  |  First Published: May 17, 2005  |  0 comments
Turn on, tune in, strap down. I was standing in an area of last year's Home Entertainment Show in New York that had no demonstration rooms anywhere nearby. It started with a boom and a rumble, like the gathering of a distant but powerful storm. It wasn't enough to shake me yet, but it was enough to grab my attention. Then came another boom, another rumble, and enough curiosity that I felt compelled to find a tactful way out of my conversation and make my way toward this growing intensity. Not only could I feel the floor moving under my feet as I got closer, but I even started to believe I was seeing Sheetrock flakes on the floor, steadily gathering into a distinct trail. Soon enough, the rattling of the walls, the low-frequency energy waves hammering my senses, and the shaken but excited looks of people coming the other way told me I had arrived. MiCon Audio, the door announced. Curious, I thought—or tried to think, before another sortie ripped out from inside—and a belief that the door might literally be blown off its hinges began to monopolize my thoughts. Finally, the door opened, and the answer to all of the riddles awaited me inside—but, for that, you'll have to read on.
David Vaughn  |  Jun 01, 2016  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Class A/B design
Impressive sound quality
Equal power to all channels
Minus
Very heavy
Lacks balanced inputs

THE VERDICT
At $1,499, this amp is an incredible steal. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its more expensive competition, it still offers a helluva view.

My introduction to Monoprice happened about 10 years ago when I needed some interconnects for a system I had designed for someone on a tight budget. I’d read how great a value the company’s offerings were and decided to take the leap. Not only was my friend happy to save a few bucks from the store brands, he didn’t sacrifice any of the quality, either. From day one, the interconnects worked like a charm. Since then, Monoprice has been my go-to source for home theater cables.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 15, 2003  |  0 comments

With A/V receivers now approaching the size, weight, and complexity of small apartment buildings, separating the processing and control functions from the amplification is becoming an attractive alternative for growing numbers of home-theater enthusiasts. While this approach is usually more expensive in the short run, most serious videophiles find that the long-term flexibility and enhanced performance more than offset the added cost.

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