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Sony BDP-SX1000 Portable Blu-ray Player - HD redux!

Sony BDP-SX1000 Portable Blu-ray Player

“This player was very impressive right out of the box, especially with Blu-ray music discs, with a truly photographic picture that is yards ahead of my Samsung 10″ DVD portable, which died on me a couple of years ago. The first generation Blu-ray portables proved to be very expensive, as were the early DVD ones (I paid $1500 for my first Panasonic), so I waited a bit on this one, finding the BDP-SX1000 on eBay at prices from $288.88USD (what I paid) to well over $500…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

Sony SCD-CE775 SACD 5-Disc Carousel Player

Sony SCD CE-775 SACD Player

“There are those who still debate the merits of (or need for) higher resolution digital formats, but I am not one of these, having mastered numerous CDs over the past few years on my 96 kHz DAT recorder, and having also worked at 192 kHz on occasion. The real question is whether two currently incompatible hi-res formats can coexist and find an audience that is large enough to sustain each format…”

Rotel RCD-951 CD Player

Rotel RCD-951

“Fortunately there’s nothing non-descript about the sound of this player. Impressed at the very outset by its smoothness and musicality I listened casually to the 951 for a couple of weeks to ensure that it was completely broken in before making any notes or comparisons. Even during this stage it was abundantly clear that this was a lot more CD player than $600 was supposed to buy…”

Redgum Integrated Amp and CD Player

Redgum System

“Redgum is an Australian hardwood that, when finished in a glowing lacquer as on this company’s products, looks stunning. It’s used for the faceplate of both the amplifier and CD player, the latter flipping down to reveal controls and disc drawer. Redgum audio is an Australian company(obviously), based in suburban Melbourne, which makes amplifiers and CD players….”

TEAC CD-RW 800 Recorder

TEAC RW-800

“The TEAC RW-800 has a single tray, recording entirely from external sources, but unlike many other double decks has some interesting features of its own, including microphone inputs on the front panel with their own level controls beside the 1/4″ input jacks. Analog line (RCA) and Toslink and coaxial (RCA) inputs and outputs are provided on the rear panel…”

Rotel RCD-991 CD Player

Rotel RCD-991

“Initial impressions indicated that the family resemblance between the 991 and the 951 was strong, with the former being more musically inclined than its smaller sibling. With a head for detail the 991 came off sounding more refined, making the 951 sound a touch coarse by comparison. Both players sound quite laid back and very smooth, but direct, level matched comparisons confirmed that the 991..”

Talk Electronics Integrated System

Talk Electronics Duo

“I think the product names of this company from England are an inside joke about talking about the weather. But, as I joked myself to distributor Angie Lisi the other day, they’re unlikely to call a product, the Downpour or the Monsoon…the Tempest, maybe, with its Shakespearean implications. At the moment they’ve covered Storm, Hurricane, Tornado, Whirlwind and the other meteorological phenomena noted above. How about the cold spring this year, eh?..”

NAD L 40 CD Player/Stereo Receiver

NAD L 40 CD Player/Stereo Receiver

” If the reviews in this issue are any indication, the CD/receiver is the hottest new category in electronics, at least for stereo systems (in home theatre it seems to be multidisc DVD players). The NAD L40 comes without speakers, so I thought a good coupling would be with the wonderful Paradigm Reference Studio 40, though Paul Barton, designer for NAD sibling company PSB might not agree…”

Pioneer Elite PDR-09RW CD Recorder

Pioneer Elite PDR-09 CD Recorder

“As owner of a PDR-05 CD recorder, I didn’t find too many surprises in its Elite successor, with all the same features and a few more to boot. The main extra capability is that of recording rewriteable CD-Rs, called CD-RWs. These can be erased starting with the last track recorded, or by erasing the whole disc for re-use…”

Audio Refinement Complete System

Audio Refinement Complete System

“Giving the name “complete” to the components in this system of French origin and oriental manufacture reminds me of an old insult: “Everyone wants their life to be complete, and yours is, because you’re a complete (fill in appropriate word).” I suspect the word “complet” has different connotations in French, but I think the whole idea is to get you to buy the whole system…..”


  Outside the Speakers

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