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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…”

Behringer 1002B Portable/Studio Mixer - A Remarkable Recording Tool, Especially At The Price!

Behringer 1002 B mixer“This compact battery/AC small mixer is just one part of a multitude of pro audio gear from this company, which engineers and designs its products in Germany, and manufactures them in its own facility (even Apple can’t claim THAT!) in mainland China. Their catalog, available online, a pretty good read for any budding or practicing audio engineer, offers a vast array of products, many for very targeted uses, and this little beauty turned out to be almost exactly what I was looking for at a price that astounded me!”

AURALiC Taurus Headphone Amplifier & Analog Preamplifier and ARK MX+ 96 kHz Coaxial/USB DAC

Auralic Taurus Preamplifier and Headphone Amplifier “AURALiC is a Hong Kong-based company that has its own very specific, and special ideas about designing audio components. With ideals based around classic professional products, such as the famous and revered designs of Rupert Neve, the company sets high standards for itself.”

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.”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: McIntosh MX-113 AM/FM Tuner Preamplifier

mac-mx113-front-small.jpg“Hereby hangs a tale, of a tuner/preamp that was in pristine physical condition, as the photos show, but arrived after I bought it, with some operational imperfections, which I spent several hundred dollars fixing. These included an inoperative main volume control, and alignment and parts issues in the IF and stereo decoder sections. This is perhaps ironic, since Macs are known for their robustness electronically, but somewhat prone to such things as rust on the back and bottom…”

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…”

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…”

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 Pre 2L Preamplifier

Anthem Pre 2L

“After having worked through reviews of Anthem’s Pre 1L phono stage and Amp 2 hybrid power amplifier, I’m finally getting around to writing about their Pre 2L line level preamp. Like the other separates in the Anthem line, the Pre 2L is a big, stylish, slightly retro looking, silver faced piece of gear (also available in black) with tubes at its heart and value on its mind…”

Musical Fidelity A3CR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier

Musical Fidelity A3 CR Power Amplifier

“If you’ve been keeping an eye on the British and American audio press lately, you’ve probably already heard about Musical Fidelity’s much hyped A3CR and Nu-Vista lines. The more exotic and expensive Nu-Vista power amp, preamp and integrated make use of a rare and tiny tube called the nuvistor, which is noteworthy for its extremely long life and metal, rather than glass, casing. Introduced by RCA in the 60’s the nuvistor was designed mainly for military applications and was intended to compete with solid state designs…”

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?”

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…”

FT Audio Passive Preamplifier

FT Audio LW1

“Passive preamplifier is a kind of oxymoron, passive devices not being able to amplify, which is perhaps why this device is described by its makers as a “passive controller”. The FT Audio LW1 switches 5 inputs, marked CD, Tuner, Video, Aux, and Tape, providing 2 output paths, with an additional switched tape out…”

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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