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A/V Product Reviews

Audioholics writes some of the industry's most thorough AV product reviews. Our reviews stand apart from the competition in that we do comprehensive objective measurements and analysis including taking the products apart to describe their operation from soup to nuts. Get the real skinny on how AV receivers, amplifiers and loudspeakers perform from our unbiased reviews.

Rotel Delivers High-End ‘Michi’ Integrated Amps And Entry-Level ‘Tribute’ Gear

Rotel Delivers High-End ‘Michi’ Integrated Amps And Entry-Level ‘Tribute’ Gear

Rotel has expanded its luxury sub-brand, Michi, with a pair of beefy Class-AB integrated amps: the Michi X3 ($4,999) and X5 ($6,999). For the entry-level Rotel customer, the company has a pair of affordable products designed in collaboration with the late Ken Ishiwata of Marantz. The A11 Tribute integrated amplifier ($799) and CD11 Tribute CD player ($599) are based on existing Rotel designs, with upgrades and tweaks selected by Ishiwata shortly before his death in November of 2019. Read on to learn more.

Rotel released a pair of Michi Class-AB integrated amps: the Michi X3 ($4,999) and X5 ($6,999). For entry-level customers, there is the A11 integrated amp ($799) and CD11 CD player ($599). Read on.

— May 09, 2021 01:20 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

JBL L100 Classic Bookshelf Loudspeaker Review - Modern Take on a Classic

JBL L100 Classic Bookshelf Loudspeaker Review - Modern Take on a Classic

Fifty years ago, JBL launched one of their most popular loudspeakers ever and one of the most successful speakers of the 1970's with the JBL L100 Centurys. To celebrate this iconic design, JBL recently brought the L100 back but in a very modern form. The L100 Classics have the look of the L100 Centurys, but the inside is chocked full of the latest in loudspeaker design. Read our full review of the JBL L100 Classics to see a modern take on a classic design.

The JBL L100 Classics have the look of the L100 Centurys updated with the latest in loudspeaker design for improved performance. Our review determines if they surpass the originals to create a new legacy.

— May 03, 2021 01:00 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Focal Arche Headphone DAC/Amplifier Review - Get It Before Its Gone

Focal Arche Headphone DAC/Amplifier Review - Get It Before Its Gone

Arche is an all-in-one headphone amplifier, DAC/pre-amp designed by Micromega exclusively for Focal. While it feature convenient presets designed to optimize its dual Class-A amplifier output for specific Focal headphones, it's not meant exclusively for Focal headphones. Arche has the versatility to be your DAC/pre-amp or amplifier for any headphone with build and performance quality you'd expect from Focal. Regardless of how you use it, Arche brings a transparency of circuit path design that "respects" your source signal. And like Focal's line of high-end headphones, Arche was designed and made in France.

Focal Arche is a pre-amp/DAC, headphone amplifier with two 32-bit AK4490 DACs and two separate 1W @ 32-ohm amplifiers to power your headphones with pristine clarity. How does it sound? Read on.

— April 30, 2021 01:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Is Wharfedale's New Diamond 12 Series the New Benchmark For Budget Speaker Excellence?

Is Wharfedale's New Diamond 12 Series the New Benchmark For Budget Speaker Excellence?

Wharfedale has collaborated with ace speaker designer Karl-Heinz Fink to completely overhaul its celebrated Diamond Series of affordable loudspeakers. The all-new Diamond 12 Series features new drivers made with proprietary materials, complex new crossovers made with high-end parts, and new cabinets with improved bracing. The 6-strong range remains aggressively priced, starting at just $299/pair. Read on to learn more.

Wharfedale introduced its revamped budget friendly Diamond 12 Series of loudspeakers with new drivers, crossovers, and cabinets with improved bracing. Best bang for the buck speaker series? Read on.

— April 26, 2021 01:40 in Tower Speaker Reviews

Revel’s New F328Be Versus the Old Ultima Salon2 Which is the Better Speaker?

Revel’s New F328Be Versus the Old Ultima Salon2 Which is the Better Speaker?

Revel’s New Performa F328Be ($16,000/pair) is so good that the company has discontinued the second-from-the-top Ultima Studio2 speaker. But can the new F328Be actually be better than the brand’s crown jewel, the $22,000 Ultima Salon2? The Salon2 is bigger, more exotic-looking, and certainly more expensive. But the F328Be leverages more than 12 years of advancements made by Revel’s engineering team. Read on to learn more.

Can Revel's new $16,000/pair F328Be floorstanding speaker actually be better than the brand’s crown jewel, the $22,000/pair Ultima Salon2? Read on to find out.

— April 23, 2021 01:15 in Tower Speaker Reviews

SVS PB-1000 Pro and SB-1000 Pro Subwoofers Review

SVS PB-1000 Pro and SB-1000 Pro Subwoofers Review

SVS has totally redesigned their entry-level subwoofers in the PB-1000 Pro and SB-1000 Pro, but these subs go well beyond entry-level performance. In addition to major performance upgrades, SVS has loaded their most accessible subwoofer line with the same technology that is seen on their flagship subwoofers. The SVS 1000 Pro subs bring a combination of features and performance unseen at their price point until now. Read our full review of the PB-1000 Pro and SB-1000 Pro to get the scoop on some of the hottest-selling subwoofers on the market right now.

SVS has totally redesigned their entry-level powered subwoofers in the PB-1000 Pro and SB-1000 Pro. Our review reveals these subs go well beyond entry-level performance. Read on to find out how.

— April 20, 2021 01:10 in Subwoofer Reviews

AirPlay 2 and Dolby Vision Arrive On Roku

AirPlay 2 and Dolby Vision Arrive On Roku

Roku’s flagship streaming device, the Roku Ultra ($100) has been updated for 2020. Now with Dolby Vision on board, the Ultra is better equipped to compete with streamers from Apple, Google, and Amazon. Roku’s new operating system, OS 9.4, is currently rolling out to nearly all of the company’s 4K devices, bringing Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit functionality to millions of existing Roku streamers and Roku TVs. Read on to learn more.

Roku’s flagship streaming device, the Roku Ultra ($100) has been updated for 2020. Now with Dolby Vision on board, the Ultra is better equipped to compete with other streamers

— April 14, 2021 09:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Sonus faber Debuts New Budget-Friendly Lumina Loudspeaker Range

Sonus faber Debuts New Budget-Friendly Lumina Loudspeaker Range

Sonus faber’s new Lumina collection of loudspeakers aims to bring luxury audio to the masses. The three-strong lineup includes the compact Lumina I bookshelf speaker ($899/pair), the three-way Lumina III floor-stander ($2,199/pair), and the Lumina Center I ($699 each). The Lumina series combines simple, minimalist design with the high-quality materials that Sonus faber is known for. Is it a recipe for success, or has Sonus faber compromised too much in order to keep the prices reasonable? Read on to learn more.

Sonus faber’s new Lumina loudspeakers brings luxury audio to the masses. The lineup includes the Lumina I bookshelf ($899/pr), 3-way Lumina III floor-stander ($2,199/pr), and Lumina Center I ($688).

— April 13, 2021 09:00 in Tower Speaker Reviews

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones Review

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones Review

Bowers & Wilkins is known for its high end speakers so we had high expectations for headphones with their logo. Their PX7 noise-cancelling wireless headphones did not disappoint, in fact, they are the best noise cancelling headphones that I have heard at this price point. To see why Audioholics named them our noise cancelling headphones of the year, read on.

Bowers & Wilkins proved with their new PX7 noise-cancelling headphones that they can excel in this space just as well as they do with premium loudspeakers. Read to see why they are our 2020 POY winner.

Don Dunn — April 12, 2021 01:00 in Headphone Reviews

THX Launches Onyx, Portable MQA-DAC/AAA-Headphone Amp Review

THX Launches Onyx, Portable MQA-DAC/AAA-Headphone Amp Review

THX has launched its first product: A portable USB headphone DAC/Amp featuring its innovative AAA amplifier technology that promises high power and extremely low distortion. But, wait… did we say THX? You got that right! THX, the audio certification standard founded by George Lucas, is now rolling up its sleeves and building its own consumer audio equipment. This portable USB headphone DAC/Amp packs enough power to shatter cobalt at a price that will make the competition sweat. The first-ever THX audio hardware has arrived, could this be a sign of things to come?

THX has launched its first consumer product! Onyx is a portable DAC/Amp featuring MQA and THX's AAA amplifier topology in a portable USB-powered package. Read on to see how it compares to Audioquest.

— April 08, 2021 11:10 in AV Gadget Reviews

Polk Legend L800 SDA Loudspeaker Review

Polk Legend L800 SDA Loudspeaker Review

The Polk Audio Legend L800’s with SDA Pro technology reflect the next evolution in Polk's long obsessions with cross-talk cancellation technology. Is this their best effort yet? Check out the review to find out why I fell in love with these speakers, found myself rediscovering my music collection all over again, yet also calling them idiosyncratic at the same time.

The Polk Audio Legend L800’s w/ SDA Pro reflect the next evolution in Polk's long obsessions with cross-talk cancellation technology. Is this their best effort yet? Check out the review to find out.

— April 05, 2021 11:35 in Tower Speaker Reviews

Polk Audio’s Reserve Series Speakers Bring Legend Innovations At Lower Prices

Polk Audio’s Reserve Series Speakers Bring Legend Innovations At Lower Prices

Polk Audio's brand new Reserve speaker series takes many of the innovations from their flagship Legend series and packs them into a much more affordable set. Many of the Reserve speakers have MSRPs less than half of that of their Legend counterparts yet still boast much of the same technology and even deploying a few new technologies of their own. This is great news for those who want the acclaimed high-performance Polk sound but can’t swing the Legend series price tags. Read our preview of the Reserve speakers to see how much hi-fi you can get for a low cost from Polk Audio.

Polk Audio's new Reserve speaker series takes many of the innovations from their Legend series and packs them into a units with MSRPs less than half of that of their Legend counterparts. Read on.

— March 23, 2021 06:30 in Tower Speaker Reviews

SVS 3000 Micro Subwoofer Breaks the Small Size Barrier with BIG Sound

SVS 3000 Micro Subwoofer Breaks the Small Size Barrier with BIG Sound

SVS has broken the small-sized subwoofer barrier with their 3000 Micro subwoofer. The 3000 Micro powers two 8" woofers with an 800-watt RMS amp but packs all of this into an 11" cube. The 3000 Micro also has all the bells and whistles of SVS's usual gamut of technology including app control, high-powered DSP, ultra-efficient class-D amplification, and the ICI interface. If you need a really big sound from a really small package, SVS now offers an interesting new choice to the marketplace of microsubs and at only $799 shipped!

The SVS new 3000 Micro subwoofer breaks the small sized barrier with BIG sound from dual 8" drivers, 800 watt RMS amplifier, all packed into an 11" cube for only $799 shipped!

— March 18, 2021 18:00 in Subwoofer Reviews

Focal Replaces Clear with All-New Improved Clear Mg Open Back Headphones

Focal Replaces Clear with All-New Improved Clear Mg Open Back Headphones

The bad news is that one of Focal's most widely loved headphones is reaching the end of its life-cycle. But the good news is that it's being replaced by the new Clear Mg, with an updated all-magnesium dome driver. Focal says it's not changing anything about the sound signature of original Clear, but the new driver promises to deliver more lightness and stronger damping. Clear Mg is will be the direct replacement for Clear in its line of high-end headphones, not to be confused with the new Clear Mg Pro which was released for audio professionals. We had a chance to try out Clear Mg and make some subjective comparisons between it and the original Clear, or should we call it Clear Classic?

Focal's most widely loved headphone, Clear is reaching the end of its life-cycle. But the good news is that it's being replaced by the new Clear Mg, with an updated all-magnesium dome driver.

— March 16, 2021 08:30 in Headphone Reviews