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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2009 0 comments

You may not have heard of Bamberg Audio, out of Fishers, Indiana, but you might in the future. The company's Series 5 TMW offers a lot of value in this intriguing and fine-sounding $8300 package. The top modules are available separately, making them more or less suitable for surround and center channel duties.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2009 1 comments

The company may be more widely known for clever ads that play on its naim than for loudspeakers, but Naim Audio's new Ovator S-600 might just change all that. There's enough innovation here to fill a review-length discussion, but the main feature of the system is the BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) midrange/tweeter. The latter covers the entire spectrum from 380Hz to above the audible range. The dispersion is claimed to be similar that of a conventional midrange and tweeter array, but with the superior coherence possible when all the mid/high frequencies are coming from the same location. A brief listen indicated more than a little promise. The BMR also seems to be ideally suited to a center channel design, though there appear to be no immediate plans to offer one. The S-600 is expected to sell for just north of $10,000. A somewhat smaller, less expensive sibling is also expected.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2009 1 comments

If I had to give a prize for the best sound at the show, it would be a toss-up between the Wilson Sasha W/Ps tied to Ayre electronics, discussed earlier, and the PMC MB2XBDi speakers (shown here) driven by Bryston electronics. Apart from room bass mode issues that all manufacturers had to deal with, the PMCs were superb. They were far too big for the space, designed as they are for professional applications. But the top modules of the towers are available separately (known as the MB2i), offering a more domesticated appearance for $21,000/pair. I didn't catch the price of the add-on bottom subwoofer modules, but am reasonably certain that for home use a duet (or, for home theater, a quintet) of MB2is will be a better fit—supplemented by a more conventional and inconspicuous subwoofer or two positioned where they minimize room interactions (co-locating the subwoofers with the main speakers almost never gives the best results).

So went RMAF 2009. The show also offered a wide selection of interesting and informative seminars, with presenters from the two major high-end, mainly two-channel audio print publications, <I>Stereophile</I> and <I>The Absolute Sound</I>, and others as well. If you missed the show this year, a 2010 edition is currently planned for next fall.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 12, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,300 At A Glance: Outstanding black level and shadow detail • 240-hertz-like operation • Full range of calibration controls

An LED Touchdown

LCD HDTVs have long been compromised in their ability to reproduce the deepest blacks together with good shadow detail. But that’s changing. We’ve seen some notable improvements in a few recent conventional sets. However, the change has been most pronounced in sets that use a revolutionary new development: LED backlighting with local dimming.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2009 0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Solid blacks • Accurate color • Unique adjustability • Color management system could be more effective • Superb resolution

Big Performance

The June 2009 issue of Home Theater featured a glowing report on Sony’s VPL-VW70 video projector. But as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Building on its enviable past record in cutting-edge, high-value video projectors, Sony has just launched the VPL-VW70’s successor, the VPL-VW85.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2009 1 comments
Price: $3,000 At A Glance: Superb value • Superior black level and shadow detail • Flexible calibration controls with ISF CCC

Going Against the Flow

"Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!”

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 14, 2009 3 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Excellent resolution and color • Full adjustability • Blacks could be better • Ultra-thin 1.2-inch profile

Plasma Soldiers On

LCD televisions are everywhere these days. They fill the back walls of Best Buys, are lined up like hedgerows near the entrance of Costco, and fly out the door at Walmart. Even at this moment, they’re undoubtedly being flogged out of the back of a fleet of white vans in parking lots across the land.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 08, 2009 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $26,000 (excluding stands, updated 3/11/15)
At A Glance: Pristine highs, uncolored mids, tight bass • Great dynamic range • Subwoofer lacks wallop in the deepest, loudest bass

Better Than Golden

Founded in 1972, U.K.-based Monitor Audio has long produced speakers that offer good value. Until recently, it topped out at $4,500 per pair for the Gold Signature model. So when I heard about the new Platinum range, priced at $10,000 per pair for just the front left and right flagship PL300, it came as a surprise.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 31, 2009 2 comments

A couple of blogs down I talked about loudspeakers, and alluded to the small but enthusiastic click of hobbyists who choose to make their own, rather than rely on far more expensive commercial designs.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $1,300 At A Glance: Excellent blacks and shadow detail • Superb off-axis performance • Performs best in subdued lighting

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