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AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - web magazine for music, audio & home theater
 

SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HT

PRINT PRESS   
Updated 12/13/04

WideScreen Review Dec. 2004WIDESCREEN REVIEW (January) - The Products in Review on this cover are Sony's DVP-N975V DVD/SACD Player - which at $299 was found to be a bargain, producing excellent video and with built-in DTS and Dolby decoders. (However neither SACD nor CD playback was ever listened to.) The other cover review is another Sony product - the KD-34 XBR960 HDTV. The Asian launch of HD DVDs spells problems for U.S. studios who were hoping for one worldwide format. All are red laser systems - three developed in China plus one called HVD and another called EVD. One Chinese company said it has an agreement with a European distributor to sell a million HDV players there.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (December) - Spider-man 2 is on the cover, along with the announcement that 73 companies have now joined the Blu-ray HD DVD camp. The issue feature Part IV of a shoot-out among competing video display technologies. The cover products in review: JVC DIA-HD2K HD projection system, Sony Cineza VPL-HS51 LCD projector, InFocus ScreenPlay 777 projector, Voom HD satellite system. There are over 45 DVD & D-VHS reviews this issue. The first part of a report on the CEDIA convention is here and concluded in the January issue. Other components evaluated: Yamaha RX-Z9 receiver, Magnepan Surround Sound speaker system. "Fox in the Dog House" is about 20th Century Fox's decision to join the Blu-ray group in spite of being part of the DVD Forum which espouses the simpler red laser HD DVD. Less than 18 months remain until the promised launch of one or both hi-def formats and Hollywood feels there is little chance that a single format will be agreed on.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (December/January) - This is the 2004 Golden Ear Awards issue, listing the editors' choices of great gear and music. Two preamps are on the cover - the Aesthetix Calypso and Conrad-Johnson's Premier 18LS. The latter shows a Theater setting on the front panel, but since the C-J basic amp it is paired with in the review inside is only two-channel, I gather so is the preamp. An article on Apple's iPod is subtitled The Travails of Downloading Music, but actually it describes that process as going rather smoothly. The travails occur when comparing downloads or data-reducing CDs to 44.1K PCM; the writer describes it as losing all the flesh and insides of a body and ending up with only a skeleton. Speakers from Kharma, Krell, Totem, Von Schweikert and Gershman are reviewed, plus the Prima Luna integrated tube amp and VPI TNT XR-X turntable (for which no price is listed so it must very dear). In a special feature several experts weigh in on What Components Matter Most? There are 20 pages of music reviews.

THE PERFECT VISION (Winter 2005) - The TAS spin-off devoted to home theater news and reviews provides its 2005 Buyer's Guide in this issue. There are 24 pages of Editors' Choice awards for best AV gear. No in-depth reviews appear, but most of the components listed have short reviews. Confused About HDTV? is a useful feature for beginners, and a big DVD list of over 300 recommended movies is here. Other articles get readers started on selecting a suitable video display and calibrating it, finding a proper subwoofer and other basics. Another section profiles hot new products coming in 2005.

THE PERFECT VISION (November-December) - The major cover story is HDTV Revolution! - a review of JVC's HD-52Z575 HIgh-Definition D-ILA rear-projection TV. It shares space with Sharp's 37-inch flat-panel Aquos LC-37GD4U LCD HDTV, described as thin, bright and beautiful. Another feature explains what D-ILA is and how it works. Other cover items are the 2004 Golden Eye Awards for the best gear, affordable HDTVs from Toshiba, Philips and Mitsubishi, speakers from Thiel, Paradigm and Outlaw, and other new components from Sony, Denon and Anthem. 30 DVDs are reviewed. There is a visit to the Italian factory making the SIM2 video projectors and a pieces on the Kaleidescape System for home theater. Other reviews: Terk Technologies HDTVi indoor antenna, SIM2 HT500 Link Three-Chip DLP projector, VOOM satellite service for HDTV.

SOUND & VISION (January) - Also has Spidey on the cover, and a feature on his director Sam Raimi inside. Finding the perfect HDTV, DVD player and home theater speakers is the subject of the cover story. Music Everywhere is about four different whole-house audio systems, and Get HDTV for Free! is on OTA (Over the Air) reception of HDTV using an outdoor antenna (remember those?). Cover reviews listed are LG's 60-inch plasma HDTV, Samsung's DVD Bargain (DVD-HD841), Denon's latest Universal DVD player (DVD-3910), and JVC's 52-inch RP HDTV. The editorial is on Two Many Choices, and that's a mouthful. Two softwares for putting your home movies on DVD are reviewed, and there's a story on Telarc's recording of their Berlioz Requiem in surround. Other gear: Mordaunt-Short genie home theater speaker system, RCA MSN TV 2 Net media player.

SOUND & VISION (December) - Santa and an elf are on the cover on RCA's new Scenium 61-inch DLP HDTV. A feature on satellite radio answers what to buy now, and this issue lists their choices of best products of 2004. Test Reports include: Pioneer DVR-320 and 520H DVD recorders, Hitachi 46-inch RP HDTV monitor, Humax T2500 TiVo Series 2 PVR, Denon AVR-2805 digital surround receiver, Yamaha DVD-S1500 universal DVD/SACD player, Infinity TSS-1100 home theater speaker system, and JVC Everio Microdrive camcorder (no tape - uses a tine 4 GB hard drive). The Cool Gifts department includes Bose's iPod dock and a cellphone TV.

STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (January) - The InFocus 777 ScreenPlay 3-chip DLP projector is on the cover and reviewed in depth. Over 50 recommended video components are rated and reviewed, and Sharp's Aquos LC-45GX6U integrated 1920 x 1080 LCD HDTV is reviewed. Special feature articles are Sci-Fi on DVD, and Test Your Home Theater IQ - the latter by Stereophile's founder J. Gordon Holt. Other reviews: Mitsubishi HC2000 front DLP projector, V Inc Vizio RP56 DLP RP HDTV, Projectiondesign USA Action MK II front DLP projector. Michael Fremer writes an homage to a 20-year-old NAD 20-inch TV.

STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (November) - "Sony's Shining Star" is the cover reference to the STR-DA9000ES Receiver, which hooks to the XA9000ES SACD player (reviewed here a few months ago) via a digital hi-res connection. Speakers from M&K, PSB, Revel, Tannoy and Velodyne are reviewed, plus JVC's HD-ILA HD-Ready rear projection set and Sherwood's Newcastle R-965 Receiver. Other cover features are an annual Holiday Gift Guide and a look inside the 2004 CEDIA Expo. Michael Fremer discusses The Making of a Soundtrack and Tom Norton's editorial is about home theater installers' task and bemoaning the fact that most HT buyers prefer their speakers hidden in the walls even though free-standing speakers usually sound better.

HI-FI NEWS (December) - Conrad-Johnson's spacey-looking preamp, the ACT 2, graces the cover and is described as World's Best? Denon's latest universal disc player is tested and there is a speaker shoot-out of six under-£1000 floorstanders (B&W DM603 S3, Energy C-5, Focal-JMlab 726S, PMC GB1, Quad 22L and Spendor S5e). Other cover items are Naim's NAC 202 preamp and NAP 200 power amp, a £7000 digital DAC from Nagra, the Audio Analogue Maestro Settanta amp and CD player, and highlights from the recent audio Expo in the UK. Other gear: Inca Tech Katana CD player, Audio Research PH5 phono preamp, cables from Avid, Chord and Philosophy. The Software section is impressed with the new Mercury SACDs, especially the Dorati Firebird and Janis Rachmaninov concertos.

HI-FI NEWS (November) - Audiopax REF100 tower speakers are on the cover; they are handmade in Brazil. Other cover items: Digital Amplifiers Explained, the Inside Story on the BBC's famed LS3/5A minimonitors, Review of Spendor's S6e speaker, Affordable integrated amps from Cyrus, NAD and Roksan, Tour of vintage treasures at NYC's Classic Audio, Moore Medio Server - a hard disk with audiophile pretensions. Three of their columnists are nay sayers on three much debated audio subjects: Bi-wiring of speakers, purchasing special AC cables, and tests of two decades ago supposedly showing that CDs 44.1K/16bit was indeed perfect and there's no need for hi-res. Other reviews inside: Ayre Acoustics AX-7 amp, Musical Fidelity X-DAC v3, Russ Andrews SJA1/SJA2 pre & power amps, Opera Audio Consonance 2.2 CD player, PMC DB1+ speaker, GSP Audio Era Gold/Elevator phono stage, Headroom Total Bithead headphone amp, Audio One Stylus Balance, Resolution Opus 21 CD player.

AV TECH (November) is a 48-page publication which comes with HI-FI NEWS and is described as the definitive audiovisual technology guide. The one coming with the November issue has a 3-chip DLP front projector from Marantz on the front - the article is titled Future Vision and cover three such projectors from Marantz and InFocus. Cover stories are also on Harman's new 8-channel digital receiver, the DPR2005, Arcam's C30 and P1 amps, the MS909W sub from Mordaunt Short and a high-end multimedia PC from UVEM. Ken Kessler reviews rock on DVDs and Jon Thompson talks about the new video compression standard for theatrical exhibition - JPEG 2000.

DVD ETC. (January/February) - This is the 2004 Top Choice Awards issue and the Seinfeld crew is on the cover to promote a review of their DVD sets. Unlike the other pubs' awards, there are no mini-reviews of the components - just a reference to which past issue they were reviewed in. New video games for 2005 is another special feature. The directors interviews are with Danny DeVito and Chris Carter. A buyers' guide focuses on DVD/VHS Combo and single-disc players. The Test Center tests: Humax DRT800 Tivo/DVD Recorder, V Inc. Bravo D2 DVD Player, speakers from MB Quart (Vera Ensemble) and PSB (Image Series), an NAD AV receiver, a portable DVD player with a 10-inch screen from CyberHome, and many different cables.

DVD ETC. (November/December) - One of the big cover features is on TV Classics on DVD. [Who would have thought a few years back that that many people wanted to actually purchase DVDs of old TV series that have been re-run to death on regular TV? OK, maybe a Twilight Zone or two, but The Munsters? In Living Color? Sheesh...] Direct TV now offers a HDTV TiVo DVR, and it is reviewed. Speakers from JL Audio and subwoofers from Gotham and Fathom are covered, also Sign Video's Color Processor Amp, a Universal remote, and cables from AudioQuest, Magnan, Twisted Pair Designs and Cable Research Lab. Special articles: Pride Producer/Director John Downer, Interviews with Ellen Burstyn, Ray Liotta and Paul Sorvino in connection with The Martin Scorsese DVD Collection. The directors of both The Alamo and The Punisher are interviewed.

HDTV ETC. (December-January) - Four DLP projectors are reviewed and compared in the main cover story: from Infocus, Sharp, SIM2 and BenQ. The Marantz P5040D 50-inch plasma display is another cover feature. Big Screen Alternatives, New HDTV Products, and an HDTV Programming Update and Guide are special features. The buyers' guide lists more than 150 front video projectors. First Look cover Monster's home theater speakers, the M*Design Eleganza. Directors interviewed this issue are Amanda Tapping of Stargate SG-1 and Roland Emmerich of The Day After Tomorrow. In the Hi-Def Home Theater Section Paradigm's Signature speaker ensemble, Anthem's processor and amp, Krell's Resolution speaker system, and four new cables are reviewed.

BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #160) - Martin DeWulf's opening editorials cover the flowery language of audio reviewers (he says it's all we have), the responses to his piece on the Tara Labs raid (we are a very litigious society), and something headlined "SACD-RIP?" - which is rather odd since in Editor Steve Harris' intro to the new HI-FI NEWS he says "Sony has re-stated its strong commitment to SACD," and new labels - even some who were issuing only on DVD-A previously - are increasingly announcing their first SACD releases. The Sierra Olympia amp from PBN, the Pass X350 amp, the Sonic Euphoria passive preamp from Sound Values, and an update to VMPS' RM 40 speakers are the reviews this issue.

AUDIO PERFECTIONIST JOURNAL No. 12 - The expensive, no advertising, quarterly journal from Richard Hardesty and Shane Buettner is this time a 44-page highly readable treatise on speakers. It explains how drivers, crossovers and so on really work, and dispells common myths about speaker design and useage. There are also reviews of the Wadia 861se CD player, Vandersteen 5A speaker, and Solid Tech racks. Among other things, the editors come out in favor of dynamic speakers with certain qualities and against horn and planar speakers. but they also say one should buy the type of sound they enjoy, regardless.

SURROUND PROFESSIONAL (Vol. 7, Issue 3) - This is the official show program for the recent 6th Annual International Surround Conference & Showcase in Hollywood. "Musicians for Surround" has Herbie Hancock, Peter Frampton and others speaking on how multichannel music has changed the way they create. There is a directory of the exhibitors at the show and a listing of all the Surround Music Awards made at the event. "I Will Never Do Another Record in Stereo" is a resolve by producer Steve Harvey to work in multichannel forever. He also writes on The Practical Web Codec. Gear reviews include the DTS Pro Series Surround Encoder and Yamaha DM1000 digital production.

THE BAS SPEAKER (Vol. 26 No. 3) - The latest unadorned issue of the newsletter of the Boston Audio Society is chock full of interesting stuff you won't find in any of the other audio publications. Four past meetings are reported and discussed: one on the RPG Diffusor Systems, one on Earthworks speakers - who have some interesting observations on bandwidth and mics as well as on speakers, one on venue acoustics with David Griesinger and Leo Beranek, and one with a detailed story of the development and design of the new BeoLab 5 speaker system. The VC-9 Controversy is about whether SMPTE will approve MicroSoft's Windows Media Video codec for possible professional video useage. Titles of some of the Open Forum items: Mo' Better Surrounder Surrounder, Novel Simulcasts, Hi-Rez Overcomes - Doesn't Solve, Web Radio Free for All, Double-Resolution DLP, Greedy Studios Make DVDs Not So Special, Gasketed Klipschorns Unleashed, Time for a New Surround-Sound Standard.

BBC MUSIC (December ) - Kings of Christmas is the title of the cover story showing two young choristers. It asks Is there a future for the chorister in the 21st century? I Saw Three Ships unlocks the strange world of traditional Christmas carols, Cheap Thrills reveals why our symphony orchestras are paid so little, and Hollywood Great is the last interview with composer Elmer Bernstein. The greatest recordings of Madam Butterfly are listed and discussed, and the CD of the month is a lovely BBC recording titled Russian Christmas - All Tchaikovsky works including The Snow Main Suite and the Winter Dreams Symphony (No. 1). 160 CDs, books and DVDs are reviewed.

BBC MUSIC (November) - Vladimir Juorwski is on the cover and described as possibly the next Gergiev in a story on ten young conductors. "Can't Cope With Copland" concerns the fear of classical music prominent among much of the general public. A profile on top liturgical composer John Tavener has him surprisingly calling organized religion senile. Bach swinger Jacques Loussier's 80th birthday is celebrated in a feature, and a comparison of recordings of Haydn's Farewell Symphony finds Trevor Pinnock tops. The CD provided with each issue is this month three Stravinsky scores: The Song of the Nightingale, Symphony in C and Symphony in Three Movements. The Composer of the Month is Vincent d'Indy.

BBC MUSIC (October) - Soprano Anna Netrbko is on the cover, described as a Russian doll. Did Women Write Symphonies? and Classical Promoters - Stop Playing Safe! are two other intriguing articles. Out of the Depths concerns music's power to help us deal with grief. The included BBC CD features two of Beethoven's greatest string quartets, and there are 155 reviews of CDs, DVDs & books on music.

THE INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 16, No. 2) = The TeslAudio tower speakers are on the cover of the latest issue (VSX-59TXi) plus a 300B tube amp from Wyetech Labs. The Chord Blu CD transport is reviewed. Audio Observer has five pages of news about offerings of the various manufacturers. "Nomenclature" discusses two of the most important concepts concerning sound and the relationship between them - lots of good basic audio facts to keep in mind here.

AUDIO EXPRESS (December) - Cover articles: Further Upgrades to Adcom's GFP-565 Preamp (a 5th article following on Gary Gallo's original series of 4), Tube-Amp Design Delivers More Power, Heath Amp Revival (The W-5M), Build Your Own Low-Cost Differential Amp, Tips for a Better Driver. Inside: Remaking Tang Band's W3-881S, New Chips on the Block - D2Audio Class D Audio Modules.

AUDIO XPRESS (November) - High-End Tube Preamp Design is the subject of the main front-cover article. Build a Digital Signal Processor, Testing Pioneer's Universal Audio Player, How to Produce Bass in a Small Box (using the MaxxBass processor), and "Try This Open-Baffle Corner Sub" are the other cover-promoted features. Other helpful stuff inside includes mods on a line stage preamp, Part 4 of a series on Room Correction, and Why Power Tubes Arc.

MULTI MEDIA MANUFACTURER (November/December) - The AV Industry news magazine has five articles this issue of interest to industry insiders: Digital and Analog: TI and Burr-Brown concerns the purchase of the audio chipset maker by the larger Texas Instruments. The future of Home Theater Displays has the non-nonsense dope on sales, design work and reliability of the various next generation displays (hint: that expensive plasma display may not last you very long...). Barry Fox asked Whither DVD-Audio? and also rails against the effort of MicroSoft and others to make a PC the heart of one's home entertainment system. Benchmarking is about improving performance by moving outward, and there is a spotlight on two trade shows coming up: AES and PALA.



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