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Axiom A1400-8: 1400 Watt, 8-Channel Digital Home Theater Power Amplifier: Straight-8 Power!

Axiom A1400-8 Home Theater Amplifier“After spending an enjoyable and interesting afternoon visiting Axiom a few months back, I came home from the Huntsville ON area with their new 8-channel digital amplifier tucked in my trunk. It’s not insubstantial at about 58 pounds boxed, and 18″ square and 4″ high unboxed. The A1400-8 has multi-plug inputs that accept balanced XLRs and 1/4″ mono or stereo phone plugs, and gold-plated plastic protected 5-way output binding posts in rows along the modular rear panel…”

Paradigm Reference Studio 20 V.4 Loudspeakers

Paradigm Reference 20

“Gosh, I can remember when the Reference Series was new and hot, but I guess that was back when we were recording the Chuck Israels Quartet out in Bellingham with a pair of Studio 20s as monitors. They were awfully good then, and the v.4 successors aim to be better. Here’s how: “1[inch] (25mm) G-PALTM Gold-Anodized Pure Aluminum Domes (also developed for our award-winning Signature Series) chosen for their exceptional rigidity and improved internal damping. The reduced radius of curvature on the tweeter diaphragm has also brought about significant improvements in sound dispersion. Ferro-fluid cooled and damped…”

NAD Masters Series M55 Digital Disc Player and M3 Dual Mono Integrated Amplfier

NAD M3 Integrated Amplifier

“There is no question that they do look quite classic (more so than the previous Classic series they replace), and somewhat permanent, in a rather bank-like manner. Here’s how the elaborate brochure goes on to describe their build quality: “Mechanical construction is to a very high standard to assure a lifetime of trouble free use. With 2mm thick steel panels, combined with extruded aluminum and die cast zinc parts, the chassis forms an incredibly solid foundation to reduce air and structure born [sic] vibration from reaching any sensitive electronic components within. Specialized vibration damping feet employ silicon rubber to further isolate the chassis from vibration…”

Totem Tribe Home Theater Speaker System

Totem Tribe Subwoofer (small)

“We have before us two wall-mountable speakers slightly different in size (with a larger Tribe III also newly available), and a subwoofer that combines a front active 8″ driver that also moves a pair of side-mounted passive units. The Storm is quite compact, especially considering its radiating area from three of four vertical sides. Totem has some quite interesting things to say about this HT system in their literature and on the web site: “All Tribe models are designed to match any application or flat panel display…”

PSB VisionSound Home Theater Speaker System

PSB VisionSound System Group

“I’m sure designer Paul Barton of PSB has had many visions, not to imply that he is a seer in any religious sense, or is any other way unbalanced, even in his speaker fantasies for home theatre, but here, his VisionSound is a combination of the VS400 largely line-source slim towers, and VS300 compact wall-mount speakers to match, with one of his several subwoofers, the SubSonic 5i to go along and hold up the bottom…”

Bryston BCD-1 CD Player

Bryston BCD-1 CD Player (Tray-small)

“If you had suggested to most audiophiles in 2000, about the time that SACD and DVD-Audio were digital newborns, that in late 2007 a Redbook only CD player from Bryston would be introduced, coinciding with the CD’s 25th birthday, most would have thought you’d inhaled a little too much solder smoke. Surely by then, format war or not, the CD would be on its deathbed, coughing and sputtering its last 44.1 kHz breaths as we basked in the sonic glory of a more perfect sounding format, whether it was forever or just a product cycle or two until something even more perfect came down the pike…”

Audio Limits Passive Controller

Audio Limits Passive Preamp“I discovered this product on eBay a couple of weeks back (late August 07), and was struck by its elegant simplicity. It’s a 4-input switcher, with a high quality potentiometer in a simple box, with long shafts on each rotary control to keep all contacts and point-to-point wiring at the rear near the high quality RCA ins and outs. Internal cabling is done with “24 AWG silver-plated copper wire with Teflon insulation”, according to the web site…”

Bryston B100 DA SST Integrated Amplifier

Bryston B-100 DA Integrated Amplifier

“The Bryston B100 sits in a line of revered preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers, outstanding for their sonic performance and operational flexibility, and the latest version provides 6 analog inputs (TV, CD, AUX/PHONO, AUX 2/SPDIF [A/D or ANALOG/DIGITAL on DA remote and faceplate, respectively] VIDEO, and TUNER), with RECORD IN and POWER AMP IN complementing the RECORD OUT and PREAMP OUT RCAs. A slide switch on the rear panel allows disconnecting of the normally direct preamp/amp path…”

Torus 20 Amp/120 Volt Power Conditioner

Torus AO24-ACB-A1AB Power Conditioner

“The power conditioner market seems to be quite highly populated these days, and new players, one would hope, will have a real story to tell, rather than just a smoke and mirrors exercise like some players currently out there. We’ve seen the giant parallel bypass inductors that come out of the swamp, defying physics, and other approaches that themselves approach fraud. Close encounters of this kind we don’t need…”

Axiom Epic 60-500 Home Theater Speaker System

Axiom Epic 60-500 System

“In the spring I ventured north to visit Axiom, who are situated just the other side of Dwight, Ontario (east of Huntsville in cottage country) where founder and owner Ian Colquhoun grew up. With Ian and his delightful wife, Amie, I toured their factory and woodshops, as well as Ian’s haunt, their extensive R&D facility; as I write, Axiom is installing an even larger anechoic chamber for measuring speakers…”

Aurum Acoustics Integris CDP CD Player and Linestage

Aurum Acoustics CDP CD Player/Preamp

“I don’t think I ever expected to get my hands on a piece of audio equipment as fine as this. In fact, there aren’t many as good as this. When it comes to the cost of an audio component (or anything else, for that matter) I want only value for money. But that is not as easy as it sounds and, one must be cautious, a bargain isn’t necessarily value for money…”

Bryston BP-25 DA Stereo Preamplifier

Bryston BP-25DA Remote

“Occupational hazards are minor and few when it comes to reviewing audio equipment. Perhaps one of the most common occurs when a product under review is updated by the manufacturer during the review process. This scenario played out before I could finish with Bryston’s BP-25 DA preamplifier, the fully loaded version of the venerable BP-20 series with its own built-in digital to analog converter…”

Energy S12.3 Subwoofer

Energy S12.3 Subwoofer

“The new subwoofers from this company are relatively small, though the S12.3 is larger than the new Paradigm Seismic 12 with a similarly-sized driver (The Paradigm Seismic 12 is also reviewed in the Fall 2004 issue). The S12.3 comes in a black ash finish with a black grille cover, a volume control with a bright blue LED below it at the top of the front panel showing through the grille cover…”

D-Box Iliad Home Theater Speaker System

D-Box Iliad S1 Subwoofer

“The Iliad system has been demonstrated many times at shows over the past couple of years, to some extent playing second fiddle to the company’s seat-shaking Odyssee programmed deep bass enhancement system. But on the several occasions I’ve sat down and vibrated, I’ve noticed that the overall heard sound was pretty impressive and powerful too. D-Box has always been a subwoofer company, and readers may recall our cover-story review of the mighty Mammoth (Almanac 98, Vol. 17 #3)…”

PSB Platinum M2 Loudspeaker and Subsonic 10 Subwoofer

PSB Platinum M2 Loudspeaker

“Every speaker maker is excited to introduce a new flagship model, and PSB’s Paul Barton is certainly no exception, since all he and his engineering staff know about speaker design has gone into this project. The M2 is the bookshelf model in the Platinum series, which now rests above the Stratus line in the PSB pantheon. The new S10 subwoofer is the biggest and most powerful low frequency reproducer that PSB makes…”

Energy Connoisseur C5 Loudspeaker

Energy C5 Loudspeaker

“The C5 is a slim tower with outrigger spiked feet to support its slim profile, with a very handsome silver front baffle containing 3 custom designed and integrated drivers and a flared port at bottom. “The silver front baffle is also the woofer’s basket section, and integral part of the speaker enclosure and the speaker system. Comprised of Energy’s proprietary Spherex®, the baffle is computer designed to enhance dispersion and strengthen the cabinet structure…”

Paradigm Signature S4 Loudspeaker

Paradigm Signature S4

“Even with a new sleek box shape, the Signature S4 looks unmistakably Paradigm. I guess it’s the drivers, designed and made in house. The tweeter is, like all the other drivers, a totally new design especially for this top-of-the-line series. It’s a 1″ “G-PAL gold-anodized pure aluminum dome” with “dual super neodymium ring magnets. Ferro-fluid damped/cooled”, its rear wave feeds into a chamber with finned heat sinks, and the die-cast basket is shock-mounted to eliminate any vibration beyond that of the dome itself…”

Totem Dreamcatcher Home Theater System

Totem Dreamcatcher Home Theater System

“I first heard this system, Totem’s first dedicated home theater system, at a CEDIA show a couple of years ago. And it wasn’t just that designer Vince Bruzzese was playing Ray Montford’s music through it that impressed me so much. The sound was clean, dynamic, spacious, and very involving musically. I don’t know whether it was a case of demand, but it wasn’t until this spring that I could coerce a review sample out of Totem…”

Paradigm Cinema Home Theater Speaker System

Paradigm Cinema Series Home Theater System

“When Anthem sent me their AVM-20 and PVA-7 home theater separates for review awhile back, Paradigm, Anthem’s parent company, followed up by sending a set of home theater speakers to go with them. And what did they send to complement over $6,000 worth of home theater front end? Paradigm’s entry level Cinema series, as it turned out; the five speakers and sub costing a small fraction of the gear driving them…”

Newform Research R58 Loudspeaker

Newform Research R58

“This new model from Canada’s ribbon specialist, combines an 8″ ribbon driver with a pair of 5″ Vifa mid/woofers in a moderately sized sealed box. The ribbon, which could be called a “quasi-ribbon”, is a unipolar mylar diaphragm with voice coil imprinted on it, large magnets on either side, and absorptive material behind. It provides, wide, even dispersion, something I’ll expand on in discussing the measurements, and crosses over to the lower-frequency drivers at 1000 Hz…”


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