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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…”

OPPO BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray Player

OPPO BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray Player“I was interested in this player as much for its audio capabilities as its video quality. That said, I started my evaluation with our standard Blu-ray and DVD video test discs through the Anthem LTX-500 1080p projector onto our Vutec 92″ pull-up screen. The discs included Joe Kane’s Digital Video Essentials in both Blu-ray and DVD editions, and the FPD Benchmark Software disc. There are tests for colour, resolution, greyscale, geometric performance, and motion artifacts, to mention some of the main criteria…”

Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray/DVD Player

Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player
“I haven’t seen a Blu-ray player for $49.95 at Costco yet, but prices are coming down, as this recent model from Samsung attests. The BD-P1500 is being sold for close to $200 in Canada, and for as low as $150 in the US. But it’s not a stripped down model by any means, with HDMI 1.3 output for full 1080p at 24 fps, and Samsung’s Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) connectivity, “which allows you to operate compatible HDMI products with a single remote”, according to an online blurb…”

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…”

KURO Plasmas & Blu-ray from Pioneer

Pioneer Elite Blu-RayLate last year, I spent an afternoon in the Pioneer Canadian showroom watching and testing these Elite products with a variety of Blu-Ray discs and DVD test material, including Digital Video Essentials, and a new Blu-ray disc that’s very revealing of such things as motion artifacts, called FPD Benchmark Software, which comes from Japan. With both TV/monitors hooked up via HDMI to another Elite product, the SC-09TX receiver, I was able to get a good look at just about the finest plasma performance I’ve ever seen. More on that below, but first a brief description of the two HTDVs and the Blu-ray player…”

Shanling MC-30 CD Receiver

Shanling MC-30 CD Receiver

“The cynical, easy, and possibly common view of the Shanling MC-30 is that it’s a rather shameless attempt to separate trendy, design-conscious yuppies looking for an upscale iPod dock that stands out from the plastic rabble at the Apple Store from a thousand dollars. Not surprising, I suppose, given the MC-30’s dramatic looks and prominent iPod “cradle”, but, as I found out, quite unfair…”

OPPO DV-980H Universal DVD/SACD Player - Price/Performance PLUS!

Oppo 980 HD“I should point out off the top that this is an audio review, though I may add a sidebar later about its video performance with one of our projectors. But it’s so hard to even countenance its removal from my audio system that I can’t even predict when it might happen, though when that time comes I’ll probably also compare it with the 970HD predecessor model…”

Meridian F80 Portable A/V System - Hy Sarick Looks at what Happens when High End Audio Meets High End Auto

Meridian F80

“A combined CD and DVD player, AM/FM receiver and sound system in a single convenient unit.” So says the introduction to this remarkable little AV system. Remember the aptly named “Boombox”, which was to be seen perching on the shoulders of urban youth? These moulded plastic monstrosities were often played at levels which caused grief to nearby unwilling listeners, as well as causing permanent hearing damage to the carrier…”

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…”

Sangean WR3 Tabletop Radio, Tivoli Audio Model Two AM/FM Stereo Radio and CD Player

Tivoli Radio (small)

Sangean is a Japanese company that’s well known to ham and shortwave enthusiasts, but is not so much in the awareness of radio and tuner fans. Recently the company has brought to North America some very interesting and innovative products, including an HD Radio equipped FM tuner, and a range of high performance radios, of which the WR3 is one of the most interesting…”

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…”

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…”

Pioneer Elite System: PRO-1140 HD Plasma, VSX-84TX Receiver, DV-46AV Universal DVD Player

Pioneer Pro 1140 HD Plasma

“A company that still beats the drum for plasma while others cut and run, as our temporary prime minster would say, Pioneer has certainly made its statement in the quality of picture offered, and the progressive improvement since the introduction of these big screen flat panels. Price points have dropped at retail, though not quite so quickly as those of the competing technologies, for example, LCD, which has made a big charge in its various iterations by the different manufacturers, most recently Sharp, with its Aquos series. The Pioneer Elite PRO-1140HD TV/monitor is therefore a statement product in quality, if not in price, from Pioneer Elite…”

OPPO DV-970 Universal DVD/SACD Player

Oppo 970 HD

“A better mousetrap catches more mice, and the designers at OPPO seem to have started with that premise in this product’s development. The DV-970HD catches more design goals in its brief than most of its competitors, ranging from high quality multichannel audio to upsampled video from DVDs, with a surprising number of added features in between, both audio and video.”

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…”

Synthesis Pride CD Player and Ensemble Integrated Amp

Synthesis Pride CD Player

“Synthesis is an Italian company that, like many firms in that country, makes beautiful things. Theirs do not happen to be cars, or fashions, but high fidelity components. And there seems to be a certain sense of style in their product names, too…”

Pioneer Elite DV-47A Multichannel DVD-A/SACD Player

Pioneer Elite DV-47A

“I’ve argued that unless all DVD and SACD players are like this one, both formats will fail, or at best limp along for a few years like SQ surround sound did. The DV-47A combines both DVD-A and SACD multichannel capability, going a step beyond our reference DV-AX10, which offers only stereo SACD reproduction…”

Sony SCD-XA777ES Multichannel SACD Player

Sony SCD XA 777 ES SACD Player

“In our last issue we profiled one of the less expensive Sony SACD players, and here we offer a look and listen to the big kahuna, the Sony with no baloney, the ES statement in SACD multichannel. The single-disc SCD-XA777ES, like our reference Pioneer Elite DV-AX10, has 6 independent DACs rather than the single or double chips found in many DVD or SACD players…”

Panasonic DVD-RP91 DVD-Audio/Video Player

Panasonic DVD-RP-91 DVD-A/V player

“I first encountered this DVD-A player at an all-day Audio Engineering Society Toronto chapter seminar on the new digital audio formats near the end of May. It was used for DVD Audio playback in demonstrations of the new format, as was a Pioneer DV-38A review sample that I provided…”

Arcam FMJ CD23 CD Player and A32 Integrated Amplifier

Arcam FMJ CD 23 CD Player

“We’ve already looked at Arcam’s FMJ DVD player (Almanac 02), and here we have their best offering for 2-channel folks, the CD23 and the A32. Both are cleanly styled in silver and grey, with a long thin remote with a lot of small buttons that are grey on grey. In fact there are two, one for each component, that for the player also able to operate the DV27…”


  Outside the Speakers

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    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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