Fred Manteghian

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Fred Manteghian  |  May 16, 2004  |  0 comments

The Stage One is Aragon's second-generation surround processor, replacing and retiring the original Stage. The Stage One combines a strikingly machined front panel with the latest thinking in surround processing, including no processing at all for us vinyl buffs. And in a concession to those who think there might still be something on the public airwaves worth listening to in this ClearChannel world, the Stage One also throws in an AM/FM tuner. Visually, the robust 5-channel Aragon 3005 and 2-channel 3002 amps share the Mondial-inspired "M" design with the Stage One.

Fred Manteghian  |  Apr 18, 2004  |  1 comments

Denmark is home to Dynaudio, one of the world's finest speaker manufacturers. After beginning modestly as a maker of speaker drivers, Dynaudio rapidly gained accolades from OEMs and the international do-it-yourself speaker-building conspiracy. But don't let their industrial background mislead you. Dynaudio's Contour and Confidence speaker lines are among the most classically striking speakers in the market today: business and beauty bundled together, in a high-end showroom near you.

Fred Manteghian  |  Jan 04, 2004  |  0 comments

While large Japanese electronic firms have always raced neck and neck to bring consumers all the latest features in surround-processor technology, smaller "high-end" manufacturers on this side of the Pacific seem less inclined to frequent the bleeding edge. Bucking the trend is Canadian manufacturer Classé, whose newest surround processor is as full-featuredly up-to-the-acronym as Tokyo's finest. The SSP-60's multichannel analog inputs are de rigueur for reproducing discrete SACD and DVD-Audio surround formats, while the inclusion of both Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 will breathe new life into your 2-channel movie and music collections.

Fred Manteghian  |  Nov 03, 2003  |  0 comments

<I>Joe Messina, Robert White, Eddie Willis, guitar; Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Earle Van Dyke, piano, organ; Bob Babbitt, James Jamerson, bass; Richard Allen, William Benjamin, Uriel Jones, drums; Jack Ashford, vibraphone; Eddie Brown, bongos; Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Me'Shell Ndeg&#233;Ocello, Joan Osborne, vocals. Directed by Paul Justman. Aspect ratio: 1.85 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, DTS 6.1 ES, Dolby Stereo 2.0. Two discs. 110 minutes. 2002. Artisan 13780. PG. $22.98.</I>

Fred Manteghian  |  Jul 12, 2003  |  0 comments

Yippie-i-o-ki-ay, separates-lovers! The Outlaw Model 950 preamplifier-processor is the good five-cent cigar every home-theater bandito has been craving, and the 7-channel Model 770 amplifier is fit to be corralled, cable-tied, and hauled to your mountain hideout as well. The Model 950, in particular, shuns any of the boutique-brand weirdisms you might expect from a mail-order-only outfit like Outlaw. On the contrary, its pleasingly simple front panel conceals a wealth of features that's not a single, solitary letter shy of the latest list of home-theater acronyms. This li'l dogie's got it all!

Fred Manteghian  |  Jul 12, 2003  |  0 comments

When I hear "Polk," I mentally add a vowel and think back on the happy Bavarians swirling around on Ed Sullivan's "really big shoe." As a kid, I always took that opportunity to run to the kitchen, fix a snack, and be back before the last oom-pah-pah had died away. I didn't want to miss any of the acts that really interested me&mdash;the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Topo Gigio, the Little Italian Mouse. Great bands, smart mouse, all heavy hitters&mdash;like the Polk LSi9 speaker. Don't let its under&ndash;16-inch height fool you. At 32 pounds, this very solid little box proved dense enough to live up to audiophile expectations. This is a serious speaker. As Seor Wences would say, "S'alright!"

Fred Manteghian  |  Mar 12, 2003  |  0 comments

The adage goes something like this: "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." I'm guessing Gayle Sanders, president of MartinLogan, heard that one a lot while growing up. As the leading manufacturer of hybrid electrostatic speakers, MartinLogan's product line has been largely silent on the subject of subwoofers, with the notable exception of the two imposing subwoofer stacks packaged with their flagship Statement system. But their dealers have said plenty, recommending third-party subs that satisfy the primal urges of home-theater natives.

Fred Manteghian  |  Nov 14, 2002  |  0 comments

In this case, Thiel isn't a color, it's a lack of color, and nothing impressed me so much during my time with these five Thiel CS1.6 speakers as their colorlessness. One color particularly notable by its absence is green, as in the minimal amount of greenbacks you'll have to peel off your roll&mdash;the CS1.6 is one of the more affordable floorstanding speakers in the Thiel line. For only $2390, you can get a pair finished on five sides in a wood veneer, like the beautiful natural-cherry ones I used for the front channels&mdash;or, if you want to save a cool grand on a quintet, the $1990/pair matte-black models I put in the rear are all the color you'll need.

Fred Manteghian  |  Nov 07, 2002  |  0 comments

High-priced DVD players are an almost anachronistic concept in today's cheaper-by-the-minute world. In fact, if I set up a card table at the local warehouse price club and offered sips of unsweetened cranberry juice to shoppers while clandestinely questioning them about the going rate for an <I>expensive</I> DVD player, their predictable guesses of around $500 would only confirm how out of sync audiophiles and videophiles are with the average Joe.

Fred Manteghian  |  Oct 24, 2002  |  0 comments

At first sight, the corporate-designed, picture-perfect streets of Boulder, Colorado, silhouetted against the breathtakingly beautiful but dry purple-brown Rockies, reminded me of a mall with its lid ripped off. Then again, maybe it was the lack of oxygen. Ski? Me and my politically incorrect, gas-guzzling Lincoln Town Car rental (unlike the perfectly acceptable gas-guzzling SUVs everyone in Boulder drives) were in town for only a short visit, mainly on business unrelated to <I>SGHT</I>. But I had a day free for a little sightseeing and an interesting visit with Charlie Hansen, president and owner of Ayre Acoustics. I was scheduled to review Ayre's newest multichannel amplifier, and this gave me the chance to learn more about the product and the company.