SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HOME
THEATER PRINT PRESS
Updated 10/16/03


THE AUDIO CRITIC (Issue No. 29) - Peter Aczel’s group of audio skeptics are back again, but still not on the supposedly quarterly publishing schedule that had been hoped for. In fact the delay was so long between issues that they lost their second class permit. Longtime audio writer Ivan Berger edited this issue. The big TAC news is that this issue carries the final Hip Boots column by Aczel in which he identifies misinformation found in the rest of the audio press. The reason for the alternate viewpoint column to come to a reluctant end? While previously it was just a few particular audio writers he found wanting, now he considers all component reviewers hopeless (except those writing for TAC) and therefore “what’s the point?” In “Audio’s Top Urban Legend” in this issue, Tom Nousaine denies the need to ever break in any audio components, including even loudspeakers. There are in-depth reviews of five unbroken in mini-monitor speaker systems, including products from Definite Technology, Genelec, Thiel, B&W, and a very interesting article on the Ohm Acoustics Walsh-driver speakers - with a discussion of their patented design principle. Also two and five-channel amps from Audio Control, Avalon and Pantages, plus Denon’s multichannel combo of their DVD-9000 player and AVR-5803 AV surround receiver. The capsule CD & hi-res reviews are excellent and I can attest free of misinformation, but are of discs that were issued quite some time ago. [There are plenty of times I wish a modicum of TAC’s curmudgeonly skepticism could be applied to some other AV publications...Ed.]

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND (October/November)
- has a pair of Thiel’s “terrific” new CS2.4 tower speakers on the cover. Other cover stories are raves over the Tri-Vista SACD player from Musical Fidelity ($6500 and stereo only!), The Meridian 502/509 Pre/Power amp, nine different power conditioners, a list of HP’s super surround discs, and 50 music reviews. The Editor’s Choice of components is another feature this issue, and his review of Audio Research’s SP-3 tube preamp from their original third issue is reprinted. Other gear reviewed: Acura/ESL DVD-Audio car audio system, Sophia Electric Baby Amp, Ayre AX-7 Integrated, Soundline Audio SL2 speaker, Sutherland Ph. D. Battery Phono Stage, Linn Kivor Digital Audio Server, Boulder’s 2008 phono preamp, 1012 DAC/preamp and 1060 power amp.

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (October) - Zenith’s “Cool” HD Tuner-Recorder is on the cover and reviewed inside. Other cover stories are Faroudja’s 42-inch PlasmaSync display and combo DVD player/digital video processor, DLP projectors from Sharp and Yamaha and How to Calibrate Your TV with Digital Video Essentials’ DVD or D-VHS tape. There is a report on new gear at the spring Home Entertainment Show in San Francisco. Other reviews: Integra Research RDC-7 preamp-processor, Parasound Halo C 2 & Halo A 51 surround processor & five-channel power amp, video processors from DVDO, DreamVision and Focus Enhancements. Editor Tom Norton discusses the in-wall category of speakers and why the magazine has not reviewed them.

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER (November) - focuses on “speaker mania!” with reviews of three new surround systems: Sonus Faber Cremona, DALI Euphonia, and Audio Physic Virgo III. Michael Fremer assembles a guide to an essential collection of DVD-As & SACDs. The DVD-V reviews give four stars to both Finding Nemo and Lord of the Rings. Joel Brinkley discusses the “bit-grooming” cable companies are doing to HD signals before distributing them. Other reviews: Panasonic TU-DST52 digital receiver, Classe SSP-60 preamp-processor, Marantz and SharpVision DLP projectors.

SOUND&VISION (November) - World’s Biggest HDTV! is proclaimed in appropriately big letters. They’re referring of course to a RPTV set, and it’s an 82-inch monster from Mitsubishi. For an even bigger screen there are the front projectors, and three new DLP projectors from Sharp, NEC and InFocus are reviewed. Hot DVD players from Pioneer and Samsung are evaluated, a buying guide to DVD Recorders lists 20 different models with shopping tips. Then DVD burners from both RCA and Panasonic are reviewed. A special report covers wireless music and movies at home. The DVD section featured review is The Lion King.

HI-FI NEWS (October) - stages a DVD-Audio Shootout between six different players ranging from £180 to £2000. The makers are Rotel, Panasonic, Toshiba, Cambridge Audio, Harmon Kardon and Arcam. Who was left standing in the main street of Tombstone? The Rotel RDV-1060, far from the costliest of the bunch either. A review of the Naim CDS3 asks “Can a CD player be worth £7000?” B&W’s 705 loudspeaker is reviewed, and they preview what they dub the audio book of the year: Quad: The Closest Approach, by Ken Kessler. It’s not about obsolete multichannel but about the UK speaker and component company. Other equipment reviews: Infinity Prelude MTS speakers, Bryston 3B-SST power amp, Cartridge Man Musicmaker and Hadcock pickup arm, KEF KHT2005.2 speaker system, Altmann JISCO “jitter-buster.”

HI-FI NEWS (November) - The UK pub has had a facelift outside and in. The anodized front plate of the Krell SACD Standard player graces the November cover and this is its first lab test. Top analog turntables from Thorens (TD-850), Michell (TecnoDec) and Roksan (Radius) are tested. A new tube amp from Brazil is called sensational: the Audiopax. Speakers from Avalon, Spendor, Beauhorn and Trinity are evaluated. Other reviews: Discwelder software for burning 192K DVD-audio on your PC, the Creek A50iR integrated amp, DNM PA3 S power amp, Exposure XXII CD Player, Bose 301 speaker, Leema Xen speaker, Spendor SR5 speaker, Edge NL-10 power amp. A special feature covers the increasing use of digital room correction, and the 5.1 DVD-A version of Tubular Bells is discussed by Mike Oldfield and compared with the previous versions.

HDTV ETC. (Summer 2003) = The premiere issue of this quarterly is from the also-recent publication DVD ETC. Editor Clint Walker feels 2003 is "The Year of HDTV" - with program offerings increasing daily, displays coming down to more modest budget levels, and high-def DVD on the way. The first issue even includes an exclusive High Def Product Directory with hundreds of products. There are High Def features on: Recording, Programming, Antennas, History, Listening, a special on the all-HD Discovery Channel, and something called "HDTV 101" which brings the neophyte reader quickly up to speed. Components reviewed include the Runco CL-700 projector, Mitsobishi RP HDTV, speakers from B&W and Niles, Parasound's HALO prepro/amp, and Sunfire's Ultimate Receiver.

SOUND & VISION (October ) = is an HDTV Buying Guide with over 150 models, a program guide including "Finding HDTV in Your Area," and HDTV shopping tips. HDTVs from Sony, RCA, Toshiba & Philips are reviewed. The Philips set is the cover shot. The move of both satellite radio providers into units for home and portable listening is discussed, and there are also reviews of Rotel's Surround Preamp, Denon's Universal Disc Player, and Niles' 6-Room Receiver. Three DVD burners are tested: Sony, Panasonic & Philips - pegged to "send your VCR packing."

STEREOPHILE (September) = The tower speakers on the front cover are Audio Physic's Virgo III, and the cover article refers to their "velvet sound." State-of-the-Art speakers from Wilson (WATT/Puppy 7) and JMlab (Grande Utopia Be) are also reviewed. Other cover features are for Multichannel amps and preamps from Bel Canto and McCormack, a high-performance CD player from Classe, the band Gov't Mule on CD, and the winners selected for Best Sound at the recent HE2003 Show in San Francisco. Other equipment reports inside: Aesthetix Rhea phono preamp, Echo Busters Decorative Room Treatments, Blue Circle BC21.1 preamp, JMlab Cobalt 806S and 816S speakers, darTzeel NHB-108 power amp and Peak Consult InCognito speakers. The Industry Update covers the dropping of the Madrigal name, a report on watermarking deficiencies, and a new crop of digital amps.

DVD ETC. (October) = Batman is on the cover, not Michael Keaton, but the actor in an under-nine-minute Batman dubbed "The Coolest DVD You'll Never Own." Special features of the month are an interview with Morgan Freeman, DVI DVD Players Explained, and a DVD Glossary. The Lion King's Roger Allers is interviewed in Director's Cut, and reviews include Philips' DVD793c five-disc changer, the Apex Recorder, V Inc.'s Bravo D1, Toshiba Theater WideHD 57-inch set with their DST-3100 set top box, speakers from Wharfedale - Diamond 8 Series, Denon's AVR-2803 AV Receiver, EluminX back-lit computer keyboard, Soundmatters' MAINstage, and cables from Transparent, Better Cables, CWS & DH Labs.

DVD ETC. (September) = Front cover features include World's First Hi-Def PVR, Should You Choose DVD-Audio or SACD for Music?, Top 20 Multichannel Audio Discs, Elliot Mazer: A Musical Journey, Daredevil - Behind the Magic, xXx Fast and Furious, and reviews of DVD players and recorders from Sharp and Panasonic, V Inc.'s Vizio P4 46-inch plasma screen ("only $3800"), Tannoy Eyris & KEF Reference speakers, Zenith HD PVR, McIntosh MX134 Processor and AV Control Center, Yamaha V440 Receiver, and DVDs including Chicago, Sleeping Beauty, Lord of the Rings, Alias, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. There is also a buyer's guide to over 200 DVD players.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (October) = Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson are butting foreheads on the cover to promote Anger Management on DVD, one of over 40 DVD & D-VHS reviews this issue. Cover features are: DVI for Better Video Performance; HD-DVD Digital Entertainment Group; Dolby Pro Logic IIx - An Exclusive First Look; Reviews of McCormack DNA-HT5 Amp and Samsung DVD-HD931 DVI DVD Player. Other components reviewed inside are the Sunfire Ultimate Receiver, Phase Technology PC Series speaker system and McCormack MAP-1 six-channel preamp. Editor Gary Reber discusses the new CEA DENi Standard and Minimum Transmission Power Levels for DTV.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND (October/November) - has the Energy Veritas I Series V2.3I tower speakers on the cover, so obviously their reviewer liked them very much. Other equipment reviews are: AVA OmegaStar EC preamp, Philips CDR 778 CD Recorder, Rotel RQ-970BX Equalizer (really a phono stage - don’t know why they call it an equalizer), Spread Spectrum Processor, Velodyne Deco speaker. The Music section is divided into seven categories, covering jazz, reissues, Broadway and others, and is nearly all standard CD format. The reviewers generally give you a good idea of whether or not you would want to add the particular disc to your collection. The small-format pub is lately seeming a bit thin on content compared to the competition.

BOUND FOR SOUND (Issue #151) - is as thin as you can get because there is no color, no advertising and no binding - just 16 sheets with three-hold punches. But this vehicle gives Martin DeWulf a bully platform for telling it as he sees and hears it about mainly two-channel high end audio equipment, including some extremely obscure brands and a strong emphasis on the incoming AC power. Features this issue are an essay on The Future of Two-Channel Audio, comments on the winter CES and THE shows, mini-reviews of cables from Magnan, Synergistic Design, Jena Labs, JPS Labs and Mapleshade. The VPI TNT turntable with Dynavector XX 2 cartridge is reviewed, along with the Edge NL-10 power amp and Foundation Research LC1 & 2 Line Filters.

AUDIO XPRESS (November) - The Audio Technology Authority features for DIY-ers and others this month: An Insider’s Look at Vacuum Tubes, A Purist Approach to Preamp Re-Design (using Adcom’s GFP-565 Preamp), How to Achieve Clean and Accurate Bass, Burst-Testing Your Amps, Adding a Little “Flare” to Your Speaker Ports, Testing a DIY Two-Way Speaker, Rock On! With the Restored Peavey Bass Guitar Amp/Speaker. A servo dual voice-coil subwoofer design is also presented as a way to achieve accurate and low-cost low bass.

AUDIO XPRESS (October) = Cover features: What's Your True Power Amp Output?; Restoring the TKO 80 Bass Guitar Amp; Building a Proven Phono Preamp with Tubes; Design Details for an 8-inch Two-Way; ZEN Approach to Push-Pull Design; Filter Fundamentals; DacT Power Supply Review.

BBC MUSIC (October) - Beautiful Angela Gheorghiu graces the front cover, which asks: Will she rule the waves at this year’s Proms? Meaning the London Royal Albert hall musical festivities which evidently cut loose a bit on the final night. Gheorghiu is known for bringing a touch of Hollywood to her Prom Night outfits. Other cover features are Why Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony shook the world, and How managers make or break conductors. There are 140 CD and DVD reviews (about as many as AUDIOPHILE AUDITION runs!) and an exclusive piece on a Vivaldi work just discovered. The free CD is The Golden Age of Hollywood, with film scores by Bernstein, Korngold, Gershwin, Rozsa and Waxman. Tied in with it is a complete listening guide and an article titled Heroes of Hollywood.

THE BAS SPEAKER (Vol. 25, Issue 2) = The no-frills publication of the most active audio society in the U.S. always has lots of fascinating information that one doesn’t find in the slick audio publications. This one has summary reports of three of their recent meetings in Boston, and articles include “The Theremin - Electronic Music’s Soviet Roots,” “Amping Up the Hi-Fi,” “Good HDTV: More Than a Numbers Game,” A Projectionist’s Training Manual,” “A Headphone Amp That Shoots the Moon,” and “The Worst- and Best-Restored Recordings.”

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