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AIG EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

TASCAM DR-680 High Resolution Digital Recorder

Tascam DR-680 Multitrack Digital Recorder“The key positive info about this recorder is that it will record 6 tracks at 96/24 resolution, and 2 at 192/24, if you’re feeling especially hair-shirt purist. This high resolution capability for 6 was what sold me on this machine. It’s just about the same size as my Edirol R-4 (now shakin’ in Shanghai, thanks to eBay), which served me well for a few years, but more versatile, not locked to a 40 GB hard disc, and allowing up to 32 GB SDHC cards, which I mainly used for outdoor recording at the cottage, along with a couple of 16 GB cards…”

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.”

Samson ZOOM H2n(ext) Handy Digital Recorder - ZOOM Forges Ahead of the Pack…

Samson Zoom H2n“I’ve admired and owned ZOOM products for a few years now, both H4 and H2 passing through my studio and out into the field. Those reviews have already been published, and this Japanese company has now taken over its own worldwide distribution of its newest products…”

Samson ZOOM H4 Handy Recorder

zoom-h4“This “handy” little unit does so many things that any review will have to be selective, and I will concentrate on its stereo portable uses, as well as its non-portable ones, leaving the admittedly limited multichannel capabilities for a followup, or perhaps another reviewer. My interest in it, which made me purchase one, is the portable recording capability, especially in high resolution digital…”

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…”

KEF Instant Theatre System

KEF Instant Theatre System

“To many the very idea of a high-end home theatre in a box may seem like an oxymoron, but that’s exactly what renowned British loudspeaker maker KEF has set out to do with the Instant Theatre. At first glance it looks dangerously like a “lifestyle” product, and I suppose that in the minds of marketers and retailers it most certainly is, but it’s important to remember that we’re dealing with a company that has produced more than its fair share of high-end, and highly regarded, loudspeakers since its founding in 1961…”

Anthem Statement D1 Surround Processor and P2 / P5 Home Theater Amplifiers

Anthem Statement D1

“The Statement D1 is among the most expensive home theatre processors in our experience, but offers just about every imaginable feature, as well as exceptional build quality. It will take much of this review just to outline its complement of capabilities. As their brochure claims, it is “nine high end components in one”: “preamplifier, 24-bit/192 kHz precision upsampler, analog-to-digital converter, digital-to-analog converter….”

Rotel RSP-1098 Home Theater Processor / Preamp

Rotel RSP-1098 Surround Processor

“I can remember this brand in the days of quadraphonic sound for their monster receivers; they weren’t alone, as companies like Marantz, Akai and others also offered giant 100-pound-plus receivers in the 70s. It was, I guess, rather like all those muscle cars during the same period (is history repeating itself?)…”

Bryston SP 1.7 A/V Processor / Preamp and SPV 1 Video Switcher

Bryston SP 1.7 Surround Processor/Preamp

“Like many manufacturers, Bryston has quickly moved to update its SP1 (Spring 2001, Vol. 20 #2) home theatre processor to accommodate the new surround formats and processing options, including Dolby Pro Logic II (Film & Music), DTS NEO:6, and THX Surround EX. There are also these DSP listening modes: Stereo5, Party, Hall, Stadium, Club, Theatre, Church, and Natural; in my view, all but the last of these should be ignored…”

Aragon Stage One HT Preamp and 3005 5 Channel Power Amplifier

Aragon Stage One Home Theater Processor

“These days, when one sees the name Aragon, visions of The Lord of the Rings come to mind. But, then, that’s Aragorn. Still, looking at the blue streams of light that seem to shine from deep inside the front panel of these handsome home theater components, one does get a sense of the mystical and the magical. I was captivated by this look the first time I saw the Aragon gear at the Festival du Son last March…”

Anthem AVM-20 Surround Processor/PVA 7 Ampifier and Aperion Audio Home Theater Speaker System

Aperion Audio 512D

“So much for entry level. With a combined price approaching seven grand, not to mention 7.1 surround channels on tap, “small” was no longer part of the equation. Now I needed speakers. Lots of speakers, as it turned out. Ever since hearing that Edge Audio was one of the first adopters of the Diaural crossover developed by Kimber Kable I’d wanted to review their speakers. A trip to their website revealed two things: First, that they had changed their name to Aperion Audio, and second that they had packaged systems ranging up to 7.1 channels: Just what the doctor ordered…”

Perpetual Technologies P-1A and P-3A

Perpetual Technologies P1-A and P-3A

“Until recently it seemed that things in the world of digital audio were getting a bit simpler (save for the confusion and complexity associated with the ongoing rollout of DVD-A and SACD). After a long period in which outboard DACs and various other little boxes tasked with eliminating digital jitter were de rigueur for any serious digiphile, the last few years have seen a return to prominence of the single box CD player, and even very good sounding single box DVD/CD players…”

Bryston SP 1 A/V Processor / Preamp

Bryston SP1

“These days movies get made in 6 months, often in 6 weeks, and the phrase, “years in the making” hardly applies any more. However, it can refer to the design and manufacture of today’s digital home theatre processors, or, at least, the high end ones. For the past 3 years my first question to at least three Canadian electronics manufacturers has been, “How’s your A/V piece coming along, eh?”

dCS Delius and Purcell Sampling Rate Converters

dCS Purcell and Delius

“The Delius and Purcell do a few numbers together, too, specifically 192 kHz and 24 bits: the latter is a sampling rate converter (see our last issue’s look at the Assemblage SRC and DAC and MSB 96K DAC)), which takes any digital signal and either up- or down-converts it, while also altering the bit rate up or down. Most commonly, these processes will be of the up variety to take a 44.1-kHz/16-bit signal up to 96/24, or even 192/24, in the process able to introduce noise shaping and dither to further refine…”

Sunfire Theater Grand Processor II - Processor / Preamp/ Tuner

Sunfire Theater Grand II

“Visually identical to its predecessor and very handsome indeed, is the Sunfire Theater Grand Processor II. However, it’s not identical inside, with a streamlined circuit architecture that shortens signal paths and reduces the number of circuit boards. It’s also easier to use, with most operations performed in one setting of the remote control, that for Amp…”

Myryad Home Theater System

Myryad Home Theater System

“Intended to beat obsolescence by being both versatile and modular, the Myryad home theatre system offers whatever combination of 2- and 3-channel amplifiers you need, with a processor that can accommodate up to 7 channels plus subwoofer. The MDP500 provides 9 stereo analog inputs with an additional 7.1 (8, in fact) set for DVD audio or any other format that might come along…”

Assemblage D2D-1 Upsampler and DAC 2.6

Rotel RCD-991

“There’s been both misunderstanding and skepticism about the process of upsampling digital data. In recent months several DACs have appeared which do this data interpolation and bit creation, which is said to provide better sound by creating a 96-kHz/24- bit signal from a 44.1-kHz/16-bit source…”

Sunfire Theater Grand Tuner/Preamp/Processor

Sunfire Theater Grand surround decoder

“I thought it was the prettiest thing at CES last winter, and now it’s the prettiest thing in my home theatre room. The Sunfire Theater Grand (I’ve deferred to the American spelling because it’s a product name) has essentially the same chassis and finish of all Sunfire products, a brown burnished brushed aluminum case with rounded corners, with the same recessed window at centre front, and the addition of numerous pinpoint indicator lights, many of which are also control buttons…”

Yamaha DSP A1 Home Theater Control Center

Yamaha DSP-A1

“The most interesting thing I noted in listening to the DSP-A1 was the fact that it was wholly satisfying with 4 or 5 channels in terms of dynamics, imaging and surround excitement, especially with the discrete formats, but also with Pro Logic using only the enhanced mode. As with all really good products, it’s hard to say a lot about it because there’s so little to criticize…”


  Outside the Speakers

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    Audiophile Grade Mics?
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