SURVEY OF THE AUDIO & HT PRINT PRESS

by | Jun 17, 2005 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Latest issue summaries of contents and gear reviewed in each publication, including a new one from Australia

SOUND & VISION (June) – In the second comparison of
big-screen technologies, A Samsung 50-inch DLP HDTV is up against a
Hitachi 50-inch LCD HDTV.  The conclusion found a slight advantage
to the DLP, but not as major a difference as when their first
comparison matched a plasma display to an LCD. Daniel Kumin compares
three tiny killer subwoofers. The five articles under The Connect House
discuss among other things whole-house AV, different approaches to
multiroom entertainment, and ways to turn one’s iPod into a music
server. Starter-model DVD recorders from Panasonic, Philips and Pioneer
are reviewed, and Toshiba’s 52-inch DLP HDTV passes muster. Surround
speaker systems from MartinLogan and Definitive Technology are
reviewed, and Onkyo’s TX-NR1000 super surround receiver is evaluated.
The Entertainment section is divided into Movies, Games and Music. The
DVD reviews include Sideways, Kinsey, Finding Neverland & Closer.
In an interview actor Woody Harrelson gives his take on movies and
music.

SOUND & VISION (May)
– The featured story is “Is Sony’s 70″
Qualia the Best TV Ever?” and it is of course backed up with a
glamorous shot of the set displaying a bikinied model on the screen.
The incursion of the iPod into high end audio (sort of like $1 color
xeroxes into fine photography, isn’t it?) is illustrated by a cover
story on “Top 10 iPod Upgrades.” Four HDTVs are reviewed in a spotlight
on plasma displays, and there is a review of Yamaha’s One-Speaker
Surround Solution. This issue of the top-circulation AV print
publication also carries a special shopping guide listing 100 so-called
budget HDTVs. Editor Bob Ankosko’s article on how easy it is to lose
sight of sound quality in the age of the iPod is valued reading, but
most of the articles here don’t seem to pay much attention to it.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (July) – The celebrity most men would like to
be, according to a recent survey, graces the cover of “The Essential
Home Theatre Resource.”  Will Smith’s “Hitch” is the DVD of the
month, and an update on the format war now reports that no end is in
sight after all. “Toshiba’s Ace in the Hole” refers to the HD-DVD camp
coming up with a 45 GB capacity disc to fight Blu-ray’s 50 GB
capacity.  But at the same time TDK has announced they have
developed a 100 GB Blue-ray disc!  (This is beginning to be a deja
vu of the Beta/VHS format war when each side was increasing their
recording time by slowing speed and therefore image quality even
further than it was already was; Beta lost by 1 1/2 hours as I recall.)
The Editor’s Couch covers four CEA stories concerning such things as
the Broadcast Flag and the FCC’s 100% DTV tuner requirement. Component
reviews: Sharp LC-45GX6U Aquos LCD HDTV, Genesis 6.1 speaker system,
Cary Audio Cinema 5 amp and Cinema 6 surround processor.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (June)
– The DVD for the film Boogeyman is on the
cover and rather appropriate, because of a report on the HD optical
disc talks between Sony & Toshiba – which we now know broke down.
“One Format Under Blue?” is another feature which is now beside the
point. After diligent search thru all 86 pages for the
front-cover-featured article titled “Does HDTV Promote Obesity?” we
must report it refers to the One Installer’s Opinion column, which
doesn’t answer the question but does promote more prime time HDTV
viewing (because program quality has allegedly improved) along with
more exercise. Equipment reviews: Optoma H79 720p DLP video projector,
AudioControl Maestro & Diva AV preamp & processor ($16k for the
pair), Totem Acoustic Mite-T speakers & Thunder subwoofers,
Sherwood Newcastle R-965 AV Receiver, Pioneer Elite VSX-56TXi Receiver,
Kenwood VR-8070-S AV Receiver.

WIDESCREEN REVIEW (May) – Seems to be leaning toward the Blu-ray
format in the HD DVD battle, since these two cover stories are side by
side: “Blue-ray Attracts Support;” “The Need for One HD Format.” (Have
to agree with WSR.) Other cover stories: Analog TV Cutoff for 2006?,
Reviews of Sony Qualia 006 SXRD 70-inch RP HDTV; Myrad MXD7000 &
MXA7150 Pream/Processor/Power Amp; Over 40 DVD Reviews. Sword-wielding
Elektra graces the cover. Inside articles: Sharp XV-Z2000 DLP
Projector; Eggleston Works Fontaine II tower speaker system, The future
of 3D movies, DVDs under $3.

THE SENSIBLE SOUND (April/May)
– The little Print Magazine That
Could plugs away on its efforts in “helping audiophiles & music
lovers to spend less & get more.” This is their 28th year of doing
just that, and as you can see by the cover of the Recommended
Recordings Issue, the pricing of components reviewed is not something
you have to search for the fine print to be shocked by. Reviewed items
in addition to the Usher speakers are Arcam’s DIVA CD players, Lowther
2.5 MK II horn speakers, and Soliloquy 6.0i speakers. There is more
space given this issue to the disc reviews due to all the writers
checking in with some of the recordings which caught their fancy during
the past year. They are not required to be new releases, and in fact
some are mentioned which are out of print (but with eBay, GEM and
others online today that’s not as hopeless a bit of information as it
was years ago). The Soundscapes column talks about the fascinating
Musee de la Musique in Paris and grouches about nobody including a
useful mono switch in their outboard phono preamps (Agreed!).

THE ABSO!UTE SOUND (April/May) – Gilmore’s Model 2 speakers are
the main component on the cover and called a “radical reinvention.” New
Electronics from BAT and Conrad-Johnson are reviewed, and “Hidden
Treasures” lists some of the best-sounding LPs. Other cover hardware
mentioned: Thorens TD2010A turntable, Speakers from Calix, Wharfedale
and Verity Audio, 20 pages of great upcoming audio gear in a report on
the Las Vegas CES. Jonathan Valin assembled the great-sounding
classical LPs that are not on HP’s Superdisc List, and it’s only Part
One of a series. His opinion is that there isn’t any digital format
which stores as much musical information as a vinyl record. A few of
the LPs listed have a single asterisk at the start of their listing.
This means the disc is actually still available (and it means all the
rest aren’t – so there!) Still onto vinyl, there is a TAS Roundtable
discussion between Valin, Garth Leerer, Wayne Garcia and Josh Bizar on
The Resurgence of Vinyl. [See our vinyl reviews this issue if you
haven’t as yet.]

HDTV ETC. (June/July) – The overly-busy cover promotes primarily
an HDTV Buyer’s Guide (seems to be a buyer’s guide in almost every
issue of the slick magazine lately) and “over 5000 HD products inside!”
The ones identified on the cover are: SIM2 front projector, Ultravision
direct view display, Panasonic HD receiver, LG LCD display, Hitachi
rear projection set, and Samsung HD receiver. Feature articles are
“Movies, Piracy and You,” “HDTV Programming,” and a HDTV Glossary.

HDTV ETC. (April/May) – “Format War?” is the biggest type on the
cover; the issue also features a new buyer’s guide with over 300 LCD
and Plasma Displays detailed. There are features on the Current State
of HDTV Technology, Highlights of CES 2005, and an HDTV programming
guide. Under test & review are: Boston Acoustic speakers and sub,
Sharp’s AQUOS 32-inch LCD, Sharp’s LCD Projector, Polk’s Flat Panel
speaker ensemble, and Hitachi’s 42-inch plasma in their Director’s
Series. Editor Clint Walker’s piece on High Definition Living assails
the consumer electronics industry for failing to make hi-def
understandable and accessible to the general public.

DVD ETC. (May/June) – The busy front cover covers the latest on
hi-def DVDs from CES 2005, has special features on the special effects
of car crashes, on Anime, a feature on the director of the anime Ghost
In The Shell, and the Test Center evaluates the NEC ND-3500A DVD
recorder & Nero 6 Ulta Edition software; SimAudio Orbiter Universal
disc player (“an audiophile’s delight,” at $7100), RBH MC Series Mark
II 6.1 speaker system, Yamaha MusicCAST digital audio system, and
Monster PowerCenter HTS 5100. There is a DVD Recorder Buyer’s Guide,
and a survey of the top ten DVDs having to do with Food.

THE INNER EAR REPORT (Vol. 16 #3) – The front cover illustrates
the Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur Gran Viola & Duo 18 Sub (I kid
you not and no typos there either). Other products listed on the cover:
StudioLab Protege speakers, Wilson Benesch A.C.T. speakers, Neat
Acoustics speakers; Benchmark DAC, Meridian G07 CD Player, Chord 2600
Integrated Amp, ExctPower Regulator, Straight Wire speaker cables,
Pioneer Elite DVD player, Hitachi video projector, NAD HT amp &
tuner/processor, Sharp AQUOS LCD monitor & system with DVD player,
AirPort Express, and Six Synergistic Systems – by which TIER means
groupings of different components they have reviewed and then hooked
together at various price levels and found worked well together.
Categories are Budget System, Budget High End System, Uncomplicated
High End, and The Complex System.

HI-FI NEWS (July) – The shiny Chord One top-loading CD player is
on the cover and described as Cool. Ken Kessler says it bring joy back
to hi-fi. Audio Research’s VM220 power amp, Tannoy’s Arena dual
concentric lifestyle speaker and Quad’s affordable 33/303 pre/power amp
from the 1960s is in the Classic Kit section. The Home Entertainment
section explains details of LCD technology, has a receiver shootout
between Harman and Marantz, and reviews Fujitsu’s finest projector, the
LPF-D711. Other gear: Windows Media PCs, Naim Audio DVD5 and AV2,
Pro-Ject Debut III turntable, Jolida JD-100 CD Player modified by Parts
Connexion, Waterfall Victoria speaker, EAT KT-88 Diamond tubes, Chario
Silhouette 200 speaker, PMC FB1+ speaker

HI-FI NEWS (June)
– “Two-channel Bliss!” is the title for Denon’s
all-out focus on stereo SACD with their DCD-SA 1/PMA-SA1 SACD
player/amp combo. Arcam’s Solo CD player/receiver is reviewed, and
Rogers’ LS3a speaker – as its name might indicate – is seen as a
recapturing of the magic of the original BBC LS3/5a. The Garrard
301/401 turntables are celebrated, and four new gadgets tied in with
Apple’s iPod are matched against one another. Other cover-mentioned
reviews are Musical Fidelity’s A5 pre/power amp, Njoe Tjoeb’s tube CD
player, ATC’s Pro speaker/amp, and Origin Live’s top turntable. The
Home Entertainment section is now an integral part of the issue instead
of a separate publication.  It covers Fujitsu’s 50-inch plasma
display, Rotel’s AV processor, a three-chip front projector from SIM 2,
and there is a feature on what you should know about HDMI and FireWire.
Other gear: Mission e82 speaker, Ae Ve Vaos speaker, Dynavector
SuperStereo ADP-3 surround sound processor, Nordost Valhalla Reference
Power AC cable, and Conrad Johnson Premier 18LS preamp.

AUSTRALIAN HI-FI AND HOME THEATRE TECHNOLOGY (April-May) –
This
slick publication is a sort of Down-Under counterpart of Hi-Fi
News.  Well-designed and written reviews cover the audio and HT
worlds with an occasional bow to local products – such as the Aussie
turntable from Continuum on the front cover – described as Best at the
Las Vegas CES. The April-May cover also features an article on Dolby
5.1 and bass management failures. There is an Audio News section, a CES
Report, Meet the Designer – which this issue features PSB’s Paul
Barton, and even a humor feature on how a collector searched high and
low for the disc of his dreams. Equipment reviews include: NAC C320BEE
stereo integrated amp, Whatmough (Aussie firm) Opus 30 speakers, Stello
DP200 DAC/Preamp & S200 power amp, Sangean WR-1 two-band radio
receiver, Ivie IE-33 Audio Analysis System, Kenwood KRF-X9080D AV
surround receiver.  Their music review section is divided into
Back Stage, Rock, Jazz, World Music, Classic, and DVD Reviews.
[Subscription Info: 1800 227 236 (labeled freecall but perhaps that’s
only in Australia); hifi@horwitz.com.au]

BOUND For SOUND (Issue #164) – The audio news section discusses
a Chinese amp which can be purchased direct for about $900 but looks
very similar to an amp imported by a U.S. high end company which sells
it for $7000. BfS also weighs in on the critical side re: DualDisc.
Martin DeWulf even says, “How much longer until we put DualDisc up
there on the shelf with the rest of Sony’s impressive list of failed
formats?” Well, DualDisc wasn’t entirely thought up by Sony, and Martin
considers SACD to be part of that “impressive list!” Part II of
Components of Merit appears this issue and it covers Speakers &
Accessories. Among their Most Meritorious: Merlin, VMPS & Gallo.
The Silverline Sonatina III speaker is reviewed, and Resolution Audio
responds to a BfS review of their Opus 21 CD player. A new contributor,
Brandt Kwiram, writes concering how sensible Audio-only people are vs.
the crazy Audio-Video nuts (his terminology, not mine).

AUDIO XPRESS (June)
– Cover articles this month are on How to
Control Diffraction, A Phono Preamp Starter Kit, ABCs of Building
Electrostatic Speakers, Try This Small Powerful (Pentode) Tube Amp,
Tips on Recycling Tube Parts, Making Accurate Attenuators, and a review
of Smart Home Hacks (a book on tips and tools for automating your
house). Inside is also Part 1 of an All-JFET phono preamp article and
Part 5 of a series on Tube Audio Construction Tips. There’s been an
increase in color photos lately in Audio Xpress.

AUDIO XPRESS (May) – The cover of The Audio Technology Authority
is neater this time, with only three items displayed – Triangular Boxes
for Eight Drivers, How Caps Behave, and Improving DVD Sound. The last
article describes simple circuit mods to improve the sound of any DVD
player. Most of this issue is devoted to vacuum tubes and bringing back
the publisher’s Glass Audio magazine. The reason is the growing
resurgence of interest in tubes, which seems to be tied into the
growing interest in vinyl and analog reproduction in general. There has
been an increase in new companies with tube products and services. Some
of the articles include: A 6336A-based All-Triode Amp, Reducing
Filamentary Triode Amp Distortion, MU: The Last Tube Factory in America
(didn’t know there was one!), The Many Faces of Distortion (by French
audio writer Jean Hiraga).

MULTI MEDIA MANUFACTURER (May/June) – David J. Weinberg writes
the most critical and courageous review of a Consumer Electronics Show
I have ever enjoyed. To quote, “Never in the course of human events has
the nature of consumer electronics been so computer-centric, never
before has our freedom to control use of purchased software been so
threatened.” He describes the craziness of CES in general, then visits
some of the 2500 exhibits and names names when he observes expensive
plasma displays way too blue-green, or sound from trés-dear speakers
way too shrill and harsh. Another qoute on equipment reviewing: “I
recognize the need for a publication to make money to stay in business,
but I also believe there is an implied obligation for AV magazines to
try to assist and guide their readers, to help them make more informed
decisions as they approach purchasing new electronic toys.” In other
articles Barry Fox writes on The Bitter Blu-Ray Battle, Nelson Pass on
Practical MOSFET Testing for Audio, and ON Semiconductor is featured in
“New Chips on the Block.”

THE BAS SPEAKER (Vol. 27 No. 1) – Packed with text and few
illustrations, the Boston Audio Society’s publication is full of
reports on past meetings of the very active group, reprints of various
pertinent articles, news about audio and video, and contributions from
members. Not afraid to voice controversial opinions you would never see
in the slick magazines, the BAS even raises our hackles as one member
claims in this issue that it is a demonstrable fact “that hi-res offers
absolutely no audible sonic advantages over the 20+-year-old 16/44 CD
format…” (!) That comes from a report on a club meeting back in 2003
(why so long ago?) with Paul Reynolds, formerly of Philips, as guest,
talking about SACD.  All thru the report various members check in
with various derogatory comments on Reynolds’ statements to the group.
There is a fascinating piece on the late Norman Pickering of phono
cartridge fame. Frank Beecham writes on Can We Restore Media Diversity?
and “We Don’t Care About HDTV” counters some of the CEA propaganda with
survey results showing that HDTV isn’t exactly instantly replacing NTSC
TV in the minds and purchasing decisions of most Americans. A visit to
Brad Meyer’s Point One Audio studio and a talk by David Kaye on sound
reinforcement and on his brother Richard Kaye of WCRB is a nostalgia
trip for former Bostonians but should be of interest to most readers.
Talk about not fearing controversy, check out the article “DVD CCA Is
an Innovation-Stifling Cartel” – “The DVD Copyright Control Association
is a bunch of bullies” it starts out, and seems to back up its
allegations.

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