THE PERFECT VISION (September-October) - The cover story Samsung RPTV is a 50-inch DLP table top display which is the first to use pixel-shifting microdisplay, courtesy of a new DLP chip from Texas Instruments. The three plasma displays evaluated are the Pioneer PDP-434HD, Panasonic TH-42PX25 and Hitachi 42HDT55. The surround speaker systems include KEF's KHT ACE small-cabinet 5.1 system, The Dali Helicon 400 system and Sonance Cinema's Ultra II In-Wall system. The Marantz projector is also a DLP unit, the VP-12S3, and the GTT projector may be the older CRT technology but it is 9-inch instead of 7-inch and at a supposedly affordable price. Oher hardware reviewed: Sherwood Newcastle P-965 Controller and A-965 multichannel amp, Denon DVD-5900 & Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi universal disc players, REL Q-108E subwoofer, Harman Kardon AVR 630 AV Receiver and Insolroll 4400 Exterior Rolling Shutters for light control in your dedicated home theater. The final page recommended DVD-V is Bad Santa.
STEREOPHILE (September) - The A.C.T. tower speaker from Wilson Benesch is on the front cover and described as Hot & New. A feature on the Telarc recording session by guitarist Junior Brown is the second cover feature. The May NYC Home Entertainment 2004 Show is reviewed. Equipment Reports: Simaudio Moon Equinox CD player, Rockport Merak II speaker and Sheritan II subwoofer, Spendor S5e speaker, Audes Bravo speaker, James Loudspeaker EMB 1000 and EMB 1200 subwoofer models. There are follow-ups on the Kuzman Air Line tonearm and Alon Circe MKIII speaker. Their recording of the month is Nikolaus Harnoncourt's version of the Mozart Requiem on DHM SACD (as it was also ours).
SOUND & VISION (October) - This is a Budget Gear Special issue, covering HDTVs from $700 up, multichannel speaker systems from $500 up and a $200 Instant Theater (good luck with that last...). The breakthru Samsung 50-inch DLP HDTV is also reviewed here - described as an Exclusive!. Spruce Up Your Home Theater is a cover feature, and an unusual interviewer asks the questions about Star Wars of its creator George Lucas - Carrie Fisher. Dubber's Delight reviews three different DVD/VCR combos, from JVC, Toshiba and LG. Other equipment: HP Media Center PC with personal Media Drive, speakers from Energy, Hsu Research and JBL, Zvox Model 315 Sound Console. Ken Pohlmann's column argues against the mistaken idea that anything digital is good. He asks for more debate and education on the various audio bit rates and codecs since some can sound amazingly good and others suck. He urges those who buy bad-sounding downloads to complain.
SOUND & VISION (September) - this is the Monster Gear Issue with over 25 products reviewed, plus the mag's annual Speaker Spectacular - including reviews, setup tips and more. DirecTV now has a high-definition TiVo Recorder, which is reviewed. HDTVs from Mitsubishi, LG and Panasonic are tested, and DVD players from RCA, Panasonic, Toshiba and V Inc. The BP7002 home theater speaker system from Definitive Technology and the Avidea 770 DVD system from Boston Acoustics are reviewed. Feature articles include The Walls Are Alive, Surround Speakers, Seismic Subs and High Seas HT - which discusses the high-tech AV gear on the USS Truman.
THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (August-September) - A panel discussion on The Sound of Analog Tape, LP, CD, SACD and DVD-A is the main cover story. Participating are Mark Levinson, Harry Pearson, Doug Sax and Jonathan Valin. Youll probably learn quite a bit that has not been clearly stated before. Cover component reviews include the Equinox CD player from Simaudio Moon, Edge Electronics affordable high end G2AC/DC Preamp and G8+ Monoblocks, and Avalon Audios new diamond-tweeter speaker - the Crown Jewel. Theres a survey of the recent Spring show put on by Primedia in NYC. Other equipment reviews: Rotel RA-1062 integrated amp, below-$2000 speakers from Infinity, Canton, Dynaudio and Bohlender, Exposures 2010 integrated amp and power amp, Harbeths SHL5 speaker, Rockports Mira speaker, Pass XA160 power amp, Accuphase P7000 amp and Talon Firebird speaker.
STEREOPHILE ULTIMATE AV (September) - Over 70 movie DVDs are recommended and given brief reviews this issue. The second major DVD article is titled on the inside HD DVDzilla vs. BLU-RAYthra and describes the upcoming monster battle of the two hi-def formats for the next generation of DVDs. Earlier indications were that a Hollywood industry group would make the final decision between the two HDVD formats, but no mention of that is made in the article. Could it be another idiotic format war is in the offing? The third DVD feature reviews hot new DVD video players from Ayre, Denon, Pioneer and V Inc. The Denon is also another universal format disc player. Joel Brinkley writes on the Long Haul to HDTV. Other hardware covered: Bel Canto eV02 2-Channel Monoblock Amps, Samsung HLN467W DLP RPTV (46), Fujitsu P55XHA30WS Plasma Monitor (55). The movie DVD of the month is Alfie.
HDTV (October-November) - The father and son featured on the new HDTV reality show American Chopper grace the cover. VOOM is described as The Future of Television. There are stories on the TV Guide On Screen, the director of Mona Lisa Smile, and an update on HDTV programming. A buyer's guide lists details on over 300 LCD and Plasma displays. The Test Center tests a 42-inch plazma from Hisense, a 57-inch RP HDTV from Toshiba and the Ergo speaker ensemble from Canton. The High Definition Home Theater department covers a 30-inch LCD display from Syntax Olevia, Simaudio's Moon series Stargate surround processor and Aurora-5 amp, B&W's 700 series speakers, and the Arcam FMJ AV9 surround processor.
HDTV Reference Guide 2004-2005 - This 164-page guide comes from one of the cutting-edge publishers on both HDTV and DVD, and collects re-writes of features from their first two years as well as special up to date information on the subject which should be useful for some time. Features include: The History of HDTV, a special on The Discovery Channel, High Definition Listening, I Want My HDTV, HDTV By Antenna, Recording in High Definition, Big Screen Alternatives, HDTV 101, Maximize Your Home Theater Experience, HD-DVD And You, HDTV Integrated Tuners, HD-DVD Players, Buying a HDTV, Glossary.
DVD ETC. (September-October) - Installation of the Sonance In-Ceiling Speakers is the biggest thing on the cover this issue. There is a Buyers Guide to HDD/DVD Recorders, Cable reviews of Harmonic Technology, Monster, Tara Labs and Synergistic Research, interviews with the directors of Aladdin and The Butterfly Effect, and Behind the Magic is an article by iconoclastic animator Ralph Bakshi on The Art of Rotoscoping, or Animation With Heart. The Test Center tests HDD/DVD Players from Toshiba and Sharp, home theater speakers from JBL and SVSs PC-Ultra subwoofer . The Yamaha RX-V1400 AV Receiver and the Antex Triple Play Satellite Radio Receiver are reviewed. Among the DVD reviews are Miracle, Smallville Season 2, Blazing Saddles, Predator and the Passion of the Christ.
WIDESCREEN REVIEW (October) - The vampire hunters from Van Helsing are on the cover and "Prerecorded HD DVD in 2005" is the main cover story. Part II of a Shoot-Out on various display technologies is another feature, and an article on regional DVD coding asks, "Is It Necessary?" Cover review products are the Algolith Mosquito 3D MPEG noise reducer and the Verity Tamino X2 Speakers & Rocco Subwoofer. Over 50 DVDs are reviewed in this issue. Other inside features: Flying Mole Digital Amp (seriously!), Prerecorded HD DVD Roll Out for 2005, Editor's Couch on Samsung Technology, Regional Coding, DTS Streaming. One Installer's Opinion concerns the greediness of both cable and satellite services - they have turned the MPEG compression way up in order to provide more channels instead of quality video images.
WIDESCREEN REVIEW (September) - The cutie in the red slip on the cover promotes the flick 13 Going on 30. Smyth Virtual Surround is the subject of an extensive interview with the two brothers who originally invented the basics of the DTS codec. They now have some amazing headphone software which does a better job of creating 5.1 virtual speakers via headphones than any previous attempts at giving us late-night viewers the complete surrounding experience. Part I of the Display Technology Shoot-out and Part II of A New Surround Standard are the other cover features. Cover products in review are Yamaha's PDX-1100 DLP Digital Cinema Projector and Sharp's Aquos LC-37HV6U LCD, HD-ready TV. Another piece of hardware reviewed inside is the 200 Series Jet speaker system from ELAC. Gary Reber writes on the rivals for HD Optical Disc and Paul Sweeting also holds forth on the HD Format War. Over 45 DVDs & D-VHS tapes are reviewed.
HI-FI NEWS (September) - The Graaf GM50B integrated 50w vacuum tube amp is on the cover. Other cover stories are on Yamaha's MX-D1 digital amp, Conrad-Johnson's Premier 350 solid state 350w stereo amp, The Cambridge Azur CD player and amp, turntables from Pro-Ject: RPM 6SB & RPM 9x, and six compact speakers from Acoustic Energy, Dynaudio, KEF, Sonus Faber, Tannoy and Triangle (no clear winner but the Sonus Faber at only £999 was well-liked). There are reports on the hi-end shows in both Munich and NYC. Other reviews: Musical Fidelity X-10 V3 tube line-buffer, Turtle Beach Audiotron for your PC, Sennheiser HD650 headphones. Ringing In the Ears looks at how our ears perceive sound, and the effects of digital filtering upon CD sound.
HI-FI NEWS (August) - The Tannoy Kensington speaker with single ten-inch Dual Concentric driver graces the cover and is described as a work of art. TACTs digital room correction system is surveyed and other reviews noted on the cover are T+As hi-tech record deck (which even has an Internet connection for some reason), Marantz flagship preamp and power amp and Musical Fidelitys X-Ray V3 CD player. Inside reviews: B&W 704 speaker, Magnum Dynalab MD 106 high-end FM tuner, AAD S-5 speaker, KEF KIT 100 5-channel speaker system from a sub and two satellites, Acoustic Energy Aego 2 sub/satellite system, Ortofon Kontrapunkt C cartridges, Campaign Audio cables, Spendor S5e speaker. Articles cover how to copy your LPs to optical disc, a report on CEDIA 2004, Barry Fox observes the SACD library hitting the 2000 point, and John Crabbe writes on the moronification of radio, and Ken Kessler discusses Todd Rundgrens wizardry in the studio.
AV TECH is a 48-page publication which comes with HI-FI NEWS and is described as the definitive audiovisual technology guide. Home Cinema Goes Wireless is the main cover story this issue, there is a rating of the top AV receivers selling for around £1000, and in-depth tests of JVCs DLA-HX1 video projector and Fujitsus P55HXA30ES plasma display. Other articles: Sony VAIO Network Media Server, Fujitsus e-ALiS panel technology and a discussion of D-ILA (Direct-Drive Image Light Amplification).
SURROUND PROFESSIONAL (Vol. 7, Issue 3) - This is the official show program for the just-ended 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.
BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #158) - MGD comments again on Lowe's 6-gauge DIY speaker cable. [I tried it, it's good but it doesn't match my Nordost cable..Ed.] However, he says it is vastly superior to the extension cord praised in recent issues of TAS. And Home Depot's 6-gauge is now considered as good as Lowe's. [It has 19 strands, comes in several colors, is extremely stiff as expected, and will probably require 6-gauge spade lugs - which you can get from Vampire Wire since Lowe's & Home Depot only stock down to 8-gauge.] He also discusses home theater (which he dislikes) and the idea that CD-Rs can often sound better than the original CD from which they are copied. Contact enhancers from Mapleshade and Walker Audio are reviewed. Also the SAS 10A linestage preamp, Soaring Audio SLC-A300 integrated amp, Jungson 88D integrated amp, and a comparison of the latest Gallo Reference III speaker with the VMPS RM40 speakers. Marc Yun reports on the 2004 Home Entertainment Show in NYC.
AES JOURNAL - The July/August 2004 Issue has papers on Improved Nonlinear Distortion Metric, Wave Field Synthesis for Loudspeakers, Automatic Content Analysis of Audio, Upmixing Two Channels to 5.1. The June Issue has papers on Generating Multichannel Dither, Equivalent of Time and Phase Dither, Augmented Reality Audio, Optimizing Dimensions in Small Rooms, plus a feature "How Loud Is My Broadcast?" the March issue was a special issue on High-Resolution Audio. Papers covered: High-Quality Audio as a System, Audio Conversion in Larger Context, Fabrication Issues With Converters, Overview of One-Bit Coding, Lossless One-Bit Compression, Overview of Pulse-Code Modulation, Time Versus Frequency Tradeoffs, Lossless Compression & Audio Encoding; also features on Semantic Audio Analysis and Audio for Games. All available at the association web site: www.aes.org
THE INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 16, No. 1) = The very fat plugs on Nordosts Vishnu power cords are in closeup on the front cover and reviewed inside. Other cover stories: Accustic Arts CD player, Exposure CD player, Connoisseur Audio Integrated amp, Manley Snapper monoblocks, Pro-Ject 1Xpression turntable, Logosound Audio Feet, Pioneer PDP-4340 HD Plasma Monitor, Speakers: Polk Audio 6700s speakers and PSW505 subwoofers, PSB Platinum Series T8, StudioLab Reference 1, Armadillo SSX Professional Monitors. The editorial is High-End, Low-End, Whats in Between? and there is an informal report from the January 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
THE BAS SPEAKER (Vol. 26, Issue 2) - The plain-cover publication of the very active Boston Audio Society is packed with the sort of AV talk one doesnt see elsewhere. Articles this issue include The Death of Dynamic Range, Computer Name That Tune, Crafting Sound, and By Any Measure. Summaries of past meetings of the group include one with DIY Audio Products, another with representatives of the Boston Symphony Transcription Trust Archives, and a fascinating tour of the Frederick Historical Piano Collection. The charts with the Dynamic Range article are worth seeing; first because any illustrations are unusual for this rag, and secondly because they clearly illustrate the horrors of the loudness wars effect on many CDs recording levels. Some of the other subjects touched on are headphone amplification, the preference of many of vinyl over digital, overpriced hearing aids, cryogenically freezing brass instruments to improve their sound (didnt work), digital display considerations. There is also a survey of several other AV publications.
AUDIO XPRESS (September) - Cover features: How Room Placement Affects Speakers, Rejuvenating a Classic Amp, Expert Tips on Tube Care and Feeding, Building and Fine-Tuning a Servo Sub woofer, and a review of Selectronic's Grand MOS Amp. The Silonex Audiohm is The New Chip on the Block, and Part 2 of a piece on a microprocessor-controlled curve tracer is concluded.
MULTI MEDIA MANUFACTURER (September-October) - The "Manager's Guide to AV Design & Development" - from the publishers of Audio Xpress - always has interesting takes on the AV business which aren't found in the consumer press. Tripath Profile is a feature on a leading manufacturer of Class T high efficiency amplification chips. Why China Reigns As AV Capital makes clear why most reasonably-priced (and even some very high end) audio components are going to be originating from China. [Including my new iMac...Ed.] Larry Klein concludes his newsy audio recollections with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fidelity: Trial By Judge. Barry Fox's column reports on Blu-ray, SACD, Intel Fi and a download stopper. The CE Mark on European-made AV gear is explained in another feature.