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Home Theater News & Reviews

Yamaha MusicCast 1000 Digital Music Server & Client Review

Yamaha MusicCast 1000 Digital Music Server & Client Review

When Yamaha offered us the opportunity to review their new MusicCAST 1000 Digital Audio server and client system, I jumped on the opportunity. Having built a home theater PC and having been a fan of MP3 audio as a storage mechanism and playback format, Yamaha's solution of an easy-to-use set top MP3 and PCM audio server seemed a timely solution. It might, I thought, even be an evolutionary step into the world of CD audio archival and playback. It is no big surprise that the falling prices of hard disks and increasing processor speed would make CD archival and playback a viable format, but with regards to the masses, an easy-to-use solution would be necessary.

Yamaha's MusicCAST 1000 is their foray into digital music storage and streaming. While it worked well, the high price and small drive have left us wishing for more.

— September 29, 2003 19:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Denon DVD-2900 DVD Player Review

Denon DVD-2900 DVD Player Review

For quite some time now we have been criticizing the hardware implementation limitations of DVD-A/SACD players based on their lack of bass management and digital delay compensation. Soon after, a few manufacturers began releasing universal players to handle, or less mildly put, mishandle both formats. In addition to these players not offering bass management and digital delay compensation for both formats, they converted DSD to PCM resulting in less than pristine SACD playback. Denon was a bit late to the game in offering a universal player, but for good reasons. As with all of their current products, I suspect they wanted to do it right rather than half way. With that, they unleashed the almighty DVD-2900 Universal DVD player which, because it did so many things correctly, caused about 80% of the content in my previously mentioned articles to go obsolete.

For quite some time now we have been criticizing the hardware implementation limitations of DVD-A/SACD players based on their lack of bass management and digital delay compensation. Soon after, a few

— September 20, 2003 20:00 in Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Player Reviews

Integra Research RDC-7 Processor Review

Integra Research RDC-7 Processor Review

Audioholics found the Integra Research RDC-7 to be a powerful, refined processor fully capable of satisfying the audiophile in all of us. Its sonic performance was staggering as it was able to reproduce subtle detail, along with deep, tight bass. In Analog Direct Mode, the Integra RDC-7 we heard reverberation of room acoustics and nuances of vocals that went unnoticed on previous processors and receivers we reviewed. Check out our full review for all the details.

Audioholics found the Integra Research RDC-7 to be a powerful, refined processor fully capable of satisfying the audiophile in all of us. Check out our full review of the Integra RDC-7.

Steve DellaSala — September 15, 2003 19:00 in AV Preamp and Processor Reviews

Onkyo TX-SR601 6.1 Home Theater Receiver Review

Onkyo TX-SR601 6.1 Home Theater Receiver Review

Overall, I was quite impressed with the Onkyo TX-SR601 amplifier section, especially at a $500 retail price point. We are often asked about sub-$500 receiver options at Audioholics and I would have no problems recommending the Onkyo as a contender within that price range. Its performance for both music and movies is exceptional and it can handle efficient 6-ohm and even 4-ohm speakers with no apparent difficulties at moderate to loud listening levels in reasonably medium sized rooms (under 2500 cubic feet).

Overall, I was quite impressed with the Onkyo TX-SR601 amplifier section, especially at a $500 retail price point. It has plenty of power, features, and everything else you'll need at this price point

— September 06, 2003 19:00 in AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-5803 Home Theater Receiver Review

Denon AVR-5803 Home Theater Receiver Review

The Denon AVR-5803 pushes the envelope in digital technology with its implementation of a pair of Analog Devices top DSP's (32bit Dual Hammerhead SHARC's) and sixteen of Burr Browns top audio DAC's (PCM 1738-E) fully capable of decoding DVD-A and SACD if tasked. It amazes me that so much horsepower is found in this receiver, which is uncommon in much costlier so called "high end" separates. In fact, during my evaluation of the AVR-5803 masterpiece I did a little research and found no separate pre/pro at the same price and significantly more money than the AVR-5803 which implemented quad dual differential DAC's in pure direct mode, and dual differential DAC's in multi channel modes for all channels. And that is just the tip of the feature and power iceburg.

The Denon AVR-5803 pushes the envelope in digital technology with its implementation of a pair of Analog Devices top DSP'sand sixteen of Burr Browns top audio DAC's. And that's just the start!

— August 31, 2003 19:00 in AV Receiver Reviews

RBH Signature Series 41-SE Speaker Review

RBH Signature Series 41-SE Speaker Review

Since 1976, RBH Sound has been designing, engineering and crafting high-performance loudspeaker systems that provide the tools for superior acoustic reproduction at sensible prices. From their inception, RBH's distinguishing quality was the implementation of aluminum and other exotic driver materials in their packages, coupled with soft dome or metal dome tweeters depending on application and budget..

Since 1976, RBH Sound has been designing, engineering and crafting high-performance loudspeaker systems that provide the tools for superior acoustic reproduction at sensible prices. From their

Steve DellaSala — July 31, 2003 20:00 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Sunfire Theater Grand III Processor Review

Sunfire Theater Grand III Processor Review

The Sunfire Theater Grand III Processor is one of the few products that Audioholics declined a detailed review. But, every once in a while, we receive a product that doesn't meet our expectations. Sunfire's Theater Grand III AV Processor is such a product, where we felt its performance and refinement did not match up to its $3,500 price tag. If you are in the market for separates and have between $1,000 and $4,000 to spend on a processor, there are many other options.

Sunfire's Theater Grand III AV Processor is a product where we felt its performance and refinement did not match up to its $3,500 price tag. Read our full review to find out why and Sunfire's response

Steven DellaSala — July 14, 2003 19:00 in AV Preamp and Processor Reviews

Sony SCD-CE775 SACD Audience Mod

Sony SCD-CE775 SACD Audience Mod

After a few phone conversations with Audience's Technical Director Richard Smith, he made a convincing argument about parts selection mass produced players tend to use, which are primarily chosen for budgetary reasons and not necessarily audiophile performance. Rich ard was nice enough to extend me the offer of modifying my stock SCD-CE775 unit in exchange for reviewing the unit on Audioholics.com. I graciously accepted the offer and shipped out my barely-used SACD changer to them.

After a few phone conversations with Audience's Technical Director Richard Smith, he made a convincing argument about parts selection mass produced players tend to use, which are primarily chosen for

— July 07, 2003 20:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Sherbourn 5/1500A 5-channel Amplifier Review

Sherbourn 5/1500A 5-channel Amplifier Review

For a mere $2000 you get a combined total of 1000 watts or $2/watt in 8 ohms, or $1.33/watt in 4 ohms. This price/power ratio makes the new Sherbourn 5/1500A one of the best values on the market. In addition, the 5/1500A includes XLR balanced inputs and the ability to rack mount the unit via the front panel. With this refined model (over the previous 5/1500 at least), the Sherbourn amplifier offers a new breed of power amp to the audio enthusiast. This 80-lb, 200 watt/channel, 5-channel powerhouse is packed with a wealth of electronics to guarantee sufficient power and refined sound quality for any home theater system.

For a mere $2000 you get a combined total of 1000 watts or $2/watt in 8 ohms, or $1.33/watt in 4 ohms. This price/power ratio makes the new Sherbourn 5/1500A one of the best values on the market.

— June 14, 2003 19:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Aragon Soundstage Processor Review

Aragon Soundstage Processor Review

The Aragon Soundstage Processor represents the pinnacle of Aragon's success at producing a sophisticated digital preamp processor capable of decoding Dolby Prologic, Dolby Digital and DTS, while at the same time serving as a top quality audiophile preamp. The Soundstage's open architecture allows for future hardware and firmware upgrades. The preamp is driven with Class A circuitry for maximum linearity, and furnished with 24 bit premium Crystal DAC's on all channels for the best possible digital sound resolution.

The Aragon Soundstage Processor represents the pinnacle of Aragon's success at producing a sophisticated digital preamp processor capable of decoding Dolby Prologic, Dolby Digital and DTS.

— June 01, 2003 19:00 in AV Preamp and Processor Reviews

Velodyne SPL-800 Subwoofer Review

Velodyne SPL-800 Subwoofer Review

Subwoofers have been conventionally known for their deep bass extension and wow factor, essential for today's home theater systems, usually requiring a big heavy box loaded with large woofers to achieve ultimate impact and performance. Until my experience with the Velodyne SPL-800, I was happy with this stereotype about subwoofers as until that point, I haven't heard a small subwoofer that could do both music and movies justice. Enter the SPL-800.

Subwoofers have been conventionally known for their deep bass extension and wow factor, essential for today's home theater systems, usually requiring a big heavy box loaded with large woofers to

— April 19, 2003 20:00 in Subwoofer Reviews

Yamaha RX-Z1 Receiver Review

Yamaha RX-Z1 Receiver Review

The Yamaha RX-Z1 proved to be a very competent preamp and home theater processor. In movie theater modes, the RX-Z1, when driving my (admittedly hard to drive) reference speaker system, did a bang up job at turning my living room into a state of the art surround sound theater rivaling a majority of THX Cineplex's I have recently visited. This flagship Receiver offers two advantages over all separate Processors currently available, that I know, of: DTS 96/24 processing and 100MHz Component Video Bandwidth switching. I undeservedly recommend adding the Yamaha RX-Z1 to your shopping list if a state of the art, one box, high performance; reliable and reasonably priced home theater Receiver is in your future.

The Yamaha RX-Z1 proved to be a very competent preamp and home theater processor. In movie theater modes, the RX-Z1, when driving my reference speaker system, transformed my room into a cineplex.

— March 14, 2003 18:00 in AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-V1 Receiver Preview

Yamaha RX-V1 Receiver Preview

The Yamaha RX-V1 is the successor to the infamous and highly regarded DSP A1. The RX-V1 means business with its massive 20lbs high current power transformer and large heat sink area for the discrete output devices. The RX-V1 uses some of the best internal components, including high voltage, low ESR Audiophile grade capacitors on the power supply section.

The Yamaha RX-V1 is the successor to the infamous and highly regarded DSP A1. The RX-V1 means business with its massive 20lbs high current power transformer and large heat sink area.

— January 31, 2003 18:00 in AV Receiver Reviews

Axiom Audio Epic 80 Loudspeaker System Review

Axiom Audio Epic 80 Loudspeaker System Review

The first thing I noticed about the Axiom Epic 80 System was the incredible presence and detailed highs. The clarity and imaging put forth by the M80s was refreshing and worthy of designating them as a movie theater killer. As good as this system was, Axiom's recent dramatic price increases have put their products into a price class of much higher caliber competitors.

The Axiom Epic 80 Speaker System was quite the bargain when we reviewed it in the 2003. However, their prices have gone up substantially since then putting them up against higher caliber products.

— January 29, 2003 18:00 in Tower Speaker Reviews