“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Audioholics 2007 Product of the Year Awards

by December 27, 2007
Audioholics Product of the Year 2007

Audioholics Product of the Year 2007

2007 proved to be another great year of product advancements in the A/V world. 1080p went beyond just being a buzz word with inclusion into most of the new flat panel displays. Blu-ray and HD DVD continued to slug it out over dominance of the peanut gallery division. A/V receivers have gotten packed with enough processing power to run a 3rd world country or even be operated from an iPhone. With such a constant and steady fast evolution, it’s challenging to know who offers class-leading products since there are so many good solutions out there - all suited to specific market demands and client needs. With that in mind, we selected gear in each category that really stood out via our personal experiences, reviews or demo's as well as the market trends  set based on performance, features, and value.

Award: Flagship A/V Receiver

Yamaha RX-Z11 11.2CH A/V Receiver

Yamaha RX-Z11As if 7.1 channels weren’t enough, Yamaha stepped up to the plate with 11 all packed into one oversized chassis that will certainly have you breaking a sweat to install. The new RX-Z11 sports all of the latest processing features and connectivity including THX Ultra2 Plus, HDMI 1.3a, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding, deep color and 1080p 24fps. Yamaha completely revamped their YPAO system to include an 8 point calibration system to ensure every seat is a good seat in the theater room. Weighing in at over 70lbs and with 11 channels of high current amplification, the RX-Z11 certainly has enough brawn and brains to serve as the center piece of even the most sophisticated home theater installations. As a bonus to all of you Macintosh lovers, you can even operate the entire receiver off of your iPhone.
MSRP: $5,499 | Buy It Now

Award: A/V Receiver

Onkyo TX-SR805

Onkyo TX-SR805 Onkyo appeared to be in deep hibernation but it’s clearly evident with their launching of their new receiver line this year that they awoken with full force from their nearly 10 year hibernation cycle. The TX-SR805 packs all of the features of today’s flagship receivers at roughly ½ the price. In fact, there isn’t a receiver on the market today at this price offering HDMI 1.3a, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding, deep color and 1080p 24fps and THX Ultra2 certification. With a boasted amplifier section rated to 130wpc x 7 and weighing in at nearly 50lbs, the Onkyo TX-SR805 sets the standard for others to follow in this price class. Don’t let the price of this product fool you. This is a near flagship type receiver at HTIB pricing.
SRP: $1099 | Locate an Onkyo Dealer Online

Award: Stereo Power Amplifier

Emotiva RPA-1 Stereo Power Amplifier

Emotiva RPA-1 What do you get when you take two amplifer modules from the venerable MPS-1, double its power supply capacity, throw into a sturdy yet compact chassis and slap on some nifty blue power meters? An audiophiles dream amplifier at bargain based pricing. The RPA-1 stereo mono block power amp truly delivers the goods, capable of driving 200wpc into 8 ohms and 300wpc into 4 ohms of clean power ensuring that you can squeeze out all of the performance of you speaker system.
MSRP: $699  | Buy it Now Direct from Emotiva

Award: HD DVD Player

Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD Player

Toshiba HD-A2 Sure the Toshiba HD-A2 has some serious shortcomings such as:

  • lack of 1080p support
  • lack of DTS HD Master decoding
  • slow transport
  • flakey Ethernet port
  • cannot pass blacker than black

But when Walmart decided to blow out these players for $99, they became the bargain of the century and put a blip on the map for high definition. If the HD camp and retailers continue to push the hardware this aggressively, there may be a future after all for HD players. If not, you can enjoy your handful of HD DVD’s and the above average upconversion capabilities for DVD on this player at a price that you would normally pay for an off name brand flimsy Chinese DVD player.
MSRP: $99 | Buy it Now

Award: Budget Floorstanding Loudspeaker System

RBH Sound TK-5CT Floorstanding

RBH Sound TK-5CT The under $1000/pair price category is wide open for tower speaker systems both for direct to consumer (internet) and brick and mortar (retail) speaker systems. You typically find the best deals online at this price class but RBH Sound recently bucked this trend with the introduction to their TK-5CT tower speaker system that certainly redefined our expectations of what a sub $1000 pair of floorstanding speakers should sound like. The TK-5CT it a 3 way tower and sports a 1” silk dome tweeter, dual 5 ¼” fiberglass midbass drivers and a side firing 8” pulp kraft cone bass driver. Don’t be fooled by their average aesthetics, as they more than make up for it in the sound quality department and can give competitor products at significantly higher prices a run for their money.
MSRP: $950/pair | Buy It Now

Award: Budget Loudspeakers

Usher Audio S-520

Usher Audio S-520 Who would have thought another brick and mortar type loudspeaker product would beat out the competition in value and performance? The Usher S-520s sound as good as they look. Their sexy piano gloss cabinets and silky highs make them an audiophile delight. Though they are prone to bottoming out if run full range at loud listening levels, they blend very well with a good sub and are at their best when bass managed. These speakers are ideal for small to medium sized rooms and deserve quality electronics.

MSRP: $400/pair | Find a Local Dealer


Award: Architectural & Outdoor Speaker System

Boston Acoustics RK6T2 Rock Speakers

Boston Acoustics RK6T2A rock speaker getting an award, are you kidding? Nope, these rocks truly do ROCK out the house, well outdoors at least. Getting great sound outdoors without being obtrusive is not always an easy task. Reviewing the Boston Acoustics RK6T2 rock speakers was a refreshing experience. These speakers rocked both figuratively and literally in every conceivable way an end user would expect them to. Not only did they exceed my expectations from an aesthetic standpoint, but their fidelity and linearity simply blew me away. The RK6T2’s are a versatile, high value product that will dress up your patio, porch or other outdoor function area with unprecedented sound quality that will be a hit at your gatherings and the envy of your neighbors. Boston Acoustics truly sets the benchmark for others to follow in this speaker genre.
MSRP: from $599/pair | Buy Now from Boston Acoustics

Award: Subwoofer

JL Audio Fathom f112

JL Audio f112 The JL Audio has produced a very serious subwoofer in the Fathom f112, the second smallest sibling in their home audio line.. This is a powerful sub capable of prodigious deep bass output. Make no mistake; if you have loose objects in the house, this sub will locate them and point them out. Also, be prepared to find interior partition walls complaining into adjacent rooms. For the best possible listening experience, find all loose items and secure them. For those who have not experienced a subwoofer capable of generating bass to the limits of human hearing, one with substantial output capabilities down into the subsonic range, the JL Fanthom f112 with acquaint you nicely. Add this sub to your auditioning shopping list if you are after ultra high performance, reasonable box size and cost.
MSRP: $2,700 (satin black), $2800 (gloss black) | Find a JL Audio Dealer

Award: Projector Screen

Carada Masquerade Masking System

Carada Masquerade System To say that this is an industry-changing product (at least in terms of price to market) would be an understatement. Sold for the price of some competitors' fixed wall screen systems (just $2499 for a 110" diagonal) the Masquerade offers full horizontal masking up to 2.70:1, meaning that all of your widescreen movies can now be watched without those often annoying black bars.
MSRP: $2,499 | Buy it Now

Award: 1080p Front Projector

Epson Pro Cinema 1080UB

Epson Pro Cinema 1080UB We got an up close and personal look at the new Epson Pro Cinema 1080 UB projector at the 2007 Audioholics State of the CE Union event in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The "UB" stands for Ultra Black and by the looks of what we saw on the screen, the designation is not given lightly. While DLP insists on providing a color wheel and holding out its 3-chip designs for only the most high-end models, Epson and other 3LCD manufacturers are cleaning house in terms of bang for the buck. This under-$5000 projector features a healthy amount of lens shift (almost 100% vertical and 50% horizontal), two HDMI 1.3 inputs, Deep Color (x.v.Color) support, and a 2.1x zoom, ceiling mount and a spare lamp.
MSRP: $4,999 | Buy it Now

 

About the author:
author portrait

Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

View full profile

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts:

gene posts on December 30, 2007 14:14
I am sure that all those are great products but why the Z11 if is not been review yet? Don't get me wrong it may be one of the best receivers out there, but I thought these awards are base in objective results and no just specifications. For example, base on some reviews the Onkyo 805 can output 128 watts rms x7 , and the Yamaha 1800 only 55 watts rms x 7, and these are similar priced products with similar specifications.(I know power is not everything, but if someone is looking for an upgrade of for example 60 rms receiver I think that information will help) But if you already have a review unit and made some tests, I thinck that will explain your selection.

The Z-11 just started shipping and I am one of the first in the USA to receive a sample which I currently have under review. Since I take a bit longer than the print mags to do a review as my reviews are more than just repackaged press releases, I won't have the review published until early next year. My preliminary bench tests and two 11.2 demos I witnessed at CEDIA and our State of the CE Union event has earned this receiver POY without any further justification needed.

As for the All Channels Driven nonsense, I refer you to this article:
http://www.audioholics.com/education/amplifier-technology/the-all-channels-driven-acd-amplifier-test

There is no doubt that the Onkyo 805 is the leader at its price point, hence why it received our POY award
mardelgo posts on December 29, 2007 11:27
Z11?

I am sure that all those are great products but why the Z11 if is not been review yet? Don't get me wrong it may be one of the best receivers out there, but I thought these awards are base in objective results and no just specifications. For example, base on some reviews the Onkyo 805 can output 128 watts rms x7 , and the Yamaha 1800 only 55 watts rms x 7, and these are similar priced products with similar specifications.(I know power is not everything, but if someone is looking for an upgrade of for example 60 rms receiver I think that information will help) But if you already have a review unit and made some tests, I thinck that will explain your selection.
Johnd posts on December 28, 2007 09:22
smurphy522, post: 348523
Sir Gene,
With all due respect I was also pointing to the fact both lists came out the same day / time frame.
Note that an Epson LCD projector makes both lists (different models of course) Audioholics makes mention of the “pro 1080ub” and Secrets the “home 1080” either way it seems Epson must be doing something very right indeed.
Toshiba also made both lists in the HD-DVD category (again with different models).

Happy holidays!


I'm sure Gene and the rest of the staff did their homework completely prior to compiling the list smurphy.

It should be no surprise (really) about the Yammy, as it is the premier flagship av receiver at the moment. Nor should Toshiba be a surprise, as they have swept bluray off the map with their good players at amazingly low prices (with free movies to boot). Ironically, bluray has now followed suit in a smaller way. Finally, 1080p is all the rage in projectors, so that Epson was mentioned (I think the Sanyo or Panny is a better choice, particularly at 1/2 the price, but Epson makes the non-pro model which is at the same price point) is no surprise to me.

So the conspiracy theory misses me completely!
smurphy522 posts on December 28, 2007 09:05
gene, post: 348299
other than the Onkyo 805 and JL f112 I don't see the similarities.

Sir Gene,
With all due respect I was also pointing to the fact both lists came out the same day / time frame.
Note that an Epson LCD projector makes both lists (different models of course) Audioholics makes mention of the “pro 1080ub” and Secrets the “home 1080” either way it seems Epson must be doing something very right indeed.
Toshiba also made both lists in the HD-DVD category (again with different models).

Happy holidays!
Alamar posts on December 28, 2007 08:49
gene, post: 348407
The list is based solely on stuff we reviewed or have first hand experience with. This is how we do the POY awards every year.

I can't argue with that …. if you haven't reviewed the item or had 1st hand experience with it then it shouldn't make the list.
Post Reply