December 2002

WIDESCREEN REVIEW = The December issue has Lord of the Rings all over the cover and inside, including a “making of...” story. Imaging Science Foundation holds forth on proper setting of the contrast control on your TV, the MC-12 processor and LX-7 multichannel amp from Lexicon are reviewed, as well as the Athena SCT Series speaker system. Producer Barrie Osborne is interviewed, and over 50 DVDs and D-VHS tapes are reviewed. A detailed release schedule for DVDs and D-VHS is a part of each issue. Other reviews: Daewoo DSJ-6000LN LCD HDTV, Equi=Tech Model 5Q Balanced Power System ($5,600).

SOUND & VISION = Spider-Man is on the cover of the December issue, which promises Hot Holiday Action! Various holiday AV gifts are suggested, there is an MP3 shopping guide, and bargain DVD players from Sony, Panasonic and JVC are evaluated. All three were found to be winners and all play one of the two new multichannel audio formats as well as DVD video. Apple’s new iMac is reviewed and dubbed Beyond Cool. Pioneer’s third generation universal player, the Elite DV-45A at $700, is reviewed and found excellent on both SACD and DVD-A playback. The pub’s reviewers also pick the best gear of the year. Other reviews: Samsung 50-inch DLP HDTV monitor, NAD T752 AV surround receiver, Yamaha CDR-HD130 CD/Hard-disk Recorder, Triad InRoom Bronze home theater speaker system, Piano Avanti HE-3200 front projector, Cambridge SoundWorks MegaTheater home theater system.

STEREOPHILE = for December has PS Audio’s Digital Amplifier on the cover. Plus the 14-best-sounding products of the year, ECM’s new rarum series of modern jazz classics, amplifiers from Musical Fidelity, Conrad Johnson and Rogue; Mission’s Ultimate Pilastro speaker; Clearaudio’s phono cartridge, Sutherland’s DAC/preamp for computer audio, and another new original CD from Stereophile - the vocal ensemble Cantus. Also: Grand Prix Audio Monaco Equipment Stands, Bel Canto power amp.

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND = for December/January sports MartinLogan on the cover and reviews of their Aeon speaker and Fantastic subwoofer. Vandersteen’s classic speaker design is updated in the new 2CE Signature, a breakthrough preamp from VTL is evaluated. In the more affordable area, TAS raises eyebrows by deigning to review a receiver - Rotel’s RX-1050, and there are 24 pages of music reviews. The staff picks the best gear and music of the past year, this is also the Recommended Preamps issue. Michael Tilson-Thomas is interviewed in a feature titled “Mahler, Multichannel and the Pretzel Vendor.” Gordon Holt reviews multichannel SACDs from Telarc and discusses bass management.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND = Another December/January combined issue, with the Energy C-7 speakers on the cover, finding they “...came thru with flying colors.” “Practical Surround Technologies for Music Lovers” shows Howard Ferstler beginning to wean himself of Yamaha’s “boingerizers” due to the superiority of ProLogic II in creating pseudo-surround fields from stereo. Components covered this issue: Speakers by Ascend Acoustics, Buggtussel, EOSS, and Triad; Electronics from Yamaha, Thule and Balanced Audio. And quite a few disc reviews.

STEREOPHILE GUIDE TO HOME THEATER = The November issue has Krell and EAD DVD components on the cover with in-depth reviews of both high-end players. "Watch This!" covers three new video displays from Zenith, Hitachi and Sony - the last a plasma display and the other two RPTV. Thiel's CS1.6 speaker is another cover feature. The HDTV Mandate is explored, Joel Silver writes on a common-sense approach to installing HT projectors, Michael Fremer writes on digital tuners, and DVD software reviews include Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, In the Bedroom and Koyaanisqatsi.

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW = The Dec./Jan. Issue of this UK publication has The Art of Cecilia Bartoli on the cover, plus Recent Releases of Early Music and an overview of Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards” on disc. If you’re in North America, don’t get overly excited about the many music DVDs reviewed each issue because many are not distributed in North America, although they may be later on.

HI-FI NEWS = The November issue, recently received, has Classé components on the front cover with a feature on Canada’s high end challenger. Also an article on how Dan D’Agostino built Krell into the world’s biggest high end brand. Marantz’s new universal audio player, Pro Ject’s turntable, Omen Ra’s DSP speaker, AV processors from Naim, Arcam and Tag Mclaren, plus speakers from Elac, Infinity, KEF, Mirage, Mission and Tannoy round out the many cover features of this packed issue. Another feature article investigates the ups and downs of Upsampling, and a separate section reviews SACD & DVD-A software. Other components: B & W Nautilus Signature 805, Musical Fidelity preamp/power amp, Loth-X Ion Amaze speaker.

AUDIO XPRESS = Continuing the former pubs Audio Electronics, Glass Audio & Speaker Builder, the December cover features: The Benefits of Thin Speakers, The Zen Amp - Better Than Ever, Blueprints to Build Your Own 100w Amp, Triode Amp Redux - An Improved French Design, Rules for Perfect Crossovers, Top Tube Performers, Sound Advice for Power Supplies, and how to Upgrade your CD with Super Audio. Whew! Heaven for the DIY-er.

CONSUMER REPORTS = December 2002 - Updated reviews on TVs (divided up into 27 inch, 32-inch, 36-inch, and HD-ready), DVD players (divided up into single play, multiple-play, and progressive scan - also units that can play SACD are noted), VCRs and combination DVD-VCR players. - Roy Nakano, LA Audio File

THE INNER EAR REPORT = Issue No. 4 for 2002 sports the mighty Mirage OM-5 speaker on the cover, plus cover stories on the Chord SPM 4000 amp, Magnum Dynalab MD 90 Tuner, Gershman Acoustics Cameleon speakers and Pioneer Plasma 43-foot [they must mean 43 inches!] video display system. A section devoted to Audio Newcomers covers Maple Audio Works' cables and speakers from Okwaho. Editor Ernie Fisher's page is titled Authentic Audio, and in it he talks about home theater sales surpassing audio-only, hoping that eventually new HT owners will become aware of its shortcomings sound wise and begin to explore high end audio. He argues for separate HT and two-channel audio systems. [Couldn't disagree more - how many can afford that, and why eliminate the surround for music listening?]

BOUND FOR SOUND = Issue #145 begins with discussion of Martin DeWulf's review of the Sony 777ES SACD player. He talks about crossover selection and time coherence, the Belles power amp mod, and waxes enthusiastically about his new Clearaudio Champion Level 2 Turntable, which is marked his re-entry into vinyl after more than ten years of strictly CD. The Bruce Edgar Titan horn speakers are reviewed and other sections are titled Crow to John Atkinson, and Kudos to Harry Pearson.

AES JOURNAL = The just-received October Journal is Vol. 50, No. 10. The four papers published therein are: Delay-Compensated Speech Quality, Telephone-Quality Cognitive Model, Circular Microphone Arrays, and Digital Loudspeaker Crossover. There is a report of the 22nd Conference and a call for contributions for the 24th Conference scheduled for Banff, Alberta.

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