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A Tale of Two Headphones from Canada by NAD VISO & Paradigm!

NAD Visio Headphones“Both of these Canadian companies have recently introduced quality headphone in-house designs for the audiophiile, at a price well above those of the junk that we associate with ex-rappers and tiny Chinese companies trying to cause premature deafness in young people all over the world. Thus, there is a somewhat Messianic quality about both of these products, and the cost of saving your ears (if not your soul), is perhaps higher than what many subway hangers-on might want to pay.”

Paradigm Monitor Series 7 Sub 10 Subwoofer - Extended, Clean Bass From A Tiny Box!

Paradigm Monitor Series 7 Sub 10 Subwoofer“Here we have a diminutive little sub, with quite a lot of engineering effort and trickle-down technology from previous more expensive Paradigm Signature and Reference models. The Monitor 7 Sub 10 is quite unassuming in both size and cosmetics, and there are many much less expensive seemingly comparable models out there from both reputable speaker companies and those whose products are as concomitantly compromised technically as their price is reduced.”

Bryston B135 SST² Integrated Amplifier/DAC

Bryston B-135 Integrated Amp“This all-purpose amplifying and control device has been at the heart of my audio system for several weeks now, first as a basic amp, replacing a 3B SST, and subsequently operating as a full preamp/amp/DAC. I won’t say that it has surprised me a lot, but it is a case where familiarity definitely does not breed contempt…”

PSB M4U 2 Active Noise Cancelling Stereo Headphone System

PSB M4U 2 Active Noise Cancelling Stereo Headphone System“I’ve wondered for some years when Paul Barton would turn his keen speaker design sense in the direction of headphones, after having mastered the many facets of speaker engineering over a multi-decade career. Well, it’s finally happened, and has become something of an event, with new intelligence applied to what we in broadcasting used to refer to as “cans”. They’ve been called “ear speakers” and many less flattering names, especially those notable for their lack of comfort on the head in extended listening…”

NAD C 446 Digital Media Tuner: NAD Goes Media Mad!

NAD C446 Digital Media Tuner“Digital audio in its many variations seems to yield new categories of product constantly, this new product from NAD a case in point. It will snoop for music files in your computer via its wired or wireless networks, receive AM and FM broadcasts, and search the internet for transmissions of all sorts, from faraway radio stations to specific podcasts, and send all of these directly to your high end audio system via 24-bit/192-kHz DACs (caveat coming) via RCA jacks, or by direct digital feed (Toslink). It also has a Data Port for your MP3 player when you add the appropriate dock and cable.”

Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver - An Anthem That Is More Than Patriotic!

Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver“Before I delve into the installation, a little more info about the MRX 700. It is the top-of-the-line A/V receiver from Anthem, and sports a polite and tidy front panel with a brushed black face. All the basic buttons are present to navigate, but, as with most A/V products you need your trusty flat screen TV to set everything up. A nifty thin sliding door reveals easy front access for a USB input, headphone jack, and RCA audio/video jacks…”

NAD Masters Series Components - Very Classy!

NAD Master's series Detail“NAD has traditionally produced relatively inexpensive audio products, so the Masters Series is more than a step upmarket. Clad in grey and silver cabinets, these components are very elegant. The M3 integrated amplifier is included here, but was reviewed previously by AIG, so I will quote from that review. The tuner and disc player are more recent, and proved to be elegant in operation as well as looks. Let’s start with the M4 tuner…”

NAD/PSB Image Series Home Theater System

NAD T775 Receiver“At the suggestion of Lenbrook Industries Consumer Product Marketing Manager, Denise Babin, I agreed to do a complete review of this one-company/two-brand home theatre system. Maybe I should have thought about it a little longer; it was a pretty big project, as it turned out: an upper echelon NAD Blu-ray player, a powerful and very versatile HT receiver, and 6 channels of PSB Image reproduction. I brooded about this while I spent the better part of a day or two unboxing and measuring all the speakers…”

The Audio Ideas HD Projector Project #4 - Anthem LTX 500 LCOS Projector

Anthem LTX (Detail)“Projectors have been coming down in price lately, and most of these are full HD 1080p. But there are differences among them in picture quality, even at this high resolution. Other factors come into play, including contrast ratio, grey-scale reproduction, colour accuracy, and geometric precision. There is also that almost indefinable quality, the natural and lifelike quality of the picture. Not many projectors, especially budget-priced ones, deliver this kind of performance right out of the box, and some can never attain it, even if they are 1080p capable…”

Totem Model One B [From the Archives]

Totem Model One B (small)“Last reviewed in Winter 92, this small speaker has since set a kind of standard for its size, as well as being the progenitor of a line
of compact speakers notable for their bass extension. Hallmarks of the Totem Model One are veneer on both inside and outside of
the cabinet (to equalize interior stresses in the wood; see the Linn review), “multilayer borosilicate damping” inside the enclosure, “lock mitre cabinet joints”, a “full plane crossbrace for extreme rigidity and increased damping”, and WBT 5-way terminals…”

NAD VISO FIVE DVD Receiver

NAD Viso Five DVD Receiver“Here, NAD, in its new VISO series, has taken a somewhat reductionist approach, in the FIVE combining a full-featured DVD player and a full 5-channel receiver, eschewing all the gratuitous extra channels and fancy (and largely silly) Dolby-this and THX-that formats which clutter most receivers and confuse many consumers. Though it does offer Dolby Pro logic IIx and DTS Neo:6 Music modes, as well as Doby Digital and DTS movie play, it offers just its own EARS DSP matrix format in addition…”

Axiom M80 v2 Speakers with VaSSallo Series Custom Finish

Axiom M80“When I last visited Axiom Audio in Dwight, Ontario just east of Huntsville and west of Algonquin Park, the talk turned to product reviews (as it somehow always does), the suggestion was made that I follow the process developed by their resident artist, Joe Vassallo, who has in a long design career done posters for such movies as Flashdance, and dream car sketches for the now-struggling US automakers. He is an accomplished airbrush artist, as well as designer/photographer for the Axiom web site, having retired (sort of) to Muskoka after a 30-year career in the US….”

Reel Acoustics RS-1 Home Theater Speaker System [AIG Archives]

Reel Acoustics System - Thumbnail“This system from a relatively new Canadian manufacturer combines value and performance in a very special way. Stylish in a contoured cabinet, the four satellites (6 1/2″H x 5″D x 4″W) are very small and attractive in silver or black, and the centre channel is almost identical except for its 10″ width to accommodate an additional 3 1/2″ woofer/midrange. The tweeter is a 3/4″ soft dome that is slightly recessed with an anti-diffraction plate around it to optimize imaging. Mind you, there wouldn’t be all that much diffraction off a baffle this small…”

Sinclair Brighton Series SB 3600T Loudspeakers [AIG Archives]

Sinclair Brighton“Sinclair is a relatively new name in speakers, developed in Canada by Erikson Consumer, who also distribute Harman/Kardon, AKG, and several other brands, including Sirius satellite radio receivers and accessories and numerous iPod-related items. The speakers are designed in Canada, and manufactured in China to Sinclair’s exacting specifications…”

Paradigm Reference Signature S1 Small Monitor and Seismic 10 Subwoofer

Paradigm Signature S1 (small)

“The new v2 versions of the Reference Signature flagship models from Paradigm appear to push the limits of enclosure technology and construction, with just about everything die-cast in aluminum. The Seismic subwoofers (a small matching Signature is not yet available) also use this expensive fabrication technique…”

PSB Synchrony One B Bookshelf Speaker and SubSeries HD10 Subwoofer

PSB Synchrony One B

“After a long history of Stratus top-of-the-line loudspeakers, through the Gold and Platinum series, PSB has recently renewed its flagship line with a new name: Synchrony. I think the intention is to bring together all the elements of acoustic design and mechanics in enclosures that employ completely new approaches to the physical and aesthetic aspects of dynamic speaker construction…”

Axiom Audiobyte Desktop Speaker System

Axiom Audiobyte“Canadian loudspeaker manufacturer Axiom is the latest company to wade into the desktop audio fray, joining a few other established, high end audio players in the burgeoning computer audio market (see my recent review of the Dynaudio MC-15 desktop speakers). Like the recently reviewed Audioengine A2’s, the Audiobytes are very, very small (6.5 x 5.5 x 4 inches), appealing to those with limited desk space to cede to speakers…”

Mirage Omni 250 Loudspeakers [AIG Archives]

Mirage Omni 250 (small)“Omnidirectional loudspeakers have been a mainstay of Mirage over the years, and have evolved under their design team from large panel designs to compact towers like the Omni 250. With a tweeter mounted under a dispersive lens and over a slant- mounted woofer/midrange, this design is intended to disperse sound much like a musical instrument. An additional front-mounted woofer is used, with a port below…”

Paradigm Reference Seismic 12 Subwoofer [AIG Archives]

Paradigm Seismic 12

“The new Seismic Series of subwoofers from Paradigm is the result of years of research into high excursion driver technology and a host of other related concerns. It used to be that a sub had to be big to go deep, but that’s been less and less the case in recent years, as Sunfire has shown in leading the way in compact models. The Seismic 12 has “tremendous peak-to-peak cone excursion (over 2 inches in our SeismicTM 12)”, producing “incredibly deep bass response with equally incredible speed and power.”

NAD L53 DVD/CD Receiver [AIG Archives]

NAD L53 Small

“This DVD/CD receiver feeds only two speakers with its 50 watts rms, but adds SRS TrueSurround two-speaker enhancement for quasi-surround sound, something I’ll comment on below. It plays DVDs, of course, and, naturally CDs (it also plays CD-Rs and variants, MP-3, JPEG, and WMA discs), and can be the centrepiece of a reasonably priced home theatre system…”


  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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