AV Receiver Reviews

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 23, 2007  |  0 comments
The inverted bottle meets the custom virtuoso.

At some point in the evolution of home theater, someone noticed that the phrase includes the word home. At that point, weird and wonderful things began to happen. Speakers morphed into smaller, more rounded, and occasionally more imaginative shapes. The surround receivers that fed them maintained their black-box identities but moved discreetly into closets. Back panels began to sprout extra jacks, the better to interact with touchscreen interfaces, second zones, and other niceties that have become staples of the connected home.

Daniel Kumin  |  Jul 04, 2007  |  0 comments

Just how much A/V receiver can they contrive to give us for $500?

Gary Altunian  |  Jul 02, 2007  |  First Published: Jun 02, 2007  |  0 comments
American design meets German engineering.

Even a quick glance at the home theater section of your local consumer electronics retailer reveals an overabundance of A/V receivers. They're a staple component in home theater. After you sift through all the ubiquitous brands, you'll come across Sunfire. The company is the creation of the venerable Bob Carver, also founder of Phase Linear and Carver Corporation. In a previous audio life, I sold many Phase Linear 400 and 700 power amplifiers, which were among the most popular and affordable high-powered stereo amps during the 1970s. Bob Carver has consistently reinvented himself and refined his product offerings, and one of his latest creations is the Sunfire Theater Grand TGR-3 A/V receiver from the company's XT Series. It's a component that borrows many features from Sunfire's high-end processors and amplifiers. And its straightforward operation, proprietary features, and impressive sound quality might earn it a place among the best high-end receivers. The TGR-3 is a great example of meticulous American design, albeit of Chinese construction.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jun 04, 2007  |  First Published: May 04, 2007  |  0 comments
The natural high.

I drink green tea the way some people drink water. I make it in large batches, keep it in the fridge, and guzzle it all day. Such are the dimensions of this innocuous drug habit that I blend teas, often adding a pinch of Butterfly Sencha (with peach and sunflower petals) to a standard Sencha, creating something more subtle than the former and more interesting than the latter. (The Tea Squad may burst through the door to arrest me at any moment.) I do the same with surround equipment. This month, I've deliberately brought together a receiver brand that prides itself on neutrality with a speaker brand that obsesses about the purity and phase coherence of high frequencies. Marantz, meet Tannoy. Tannoy, meet Marantz. What will happen next?

Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 03, 2007  |  0 comments

Used to be even the most basic receiver came with two accessories: a cheap wire dipole FM antenna and a plastic-loop AM job (which most often seemed to degrade reception). You still get the antennae, even if nobody except dental-office denizens listens to much terrestrial radio anymore. But you get a lot more with your receiver today.

Fred Manteghian  |  Apr 29, 2007  |  0 comments

"The new phone book is kinda' slim. Everyone must be switching to cellular," Gina remarked seeing what I was holding.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 23, 2007  |  First Published: Mar 23, 2007  |  0 comments
Together again for the first time.

As I unboxed this month's Spotlight System, I flashed on the innovative histories of Marantz and Snell Acoustics. Saul B. Marantz was a bona fide American audio pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s. His company's electronics not only sounded amazing, they were drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe that's why Marantz's early designs regularly sell on eBay for more than their original prices. Peter Snell was one of the brightest speaker designers to emerge in the mid-1970s. Back in the day, I owned a pair of his first speakers, the Type A, and had many conversations with Peter about music. In those simpler times, Saul Marantz and Peter Snell could launch their companies armed with not much more than a driving passion to produce great audio gear—and the inspired engineering to make the dream real. Best of all, both companies still adhere to their founders' perfectionistic traditions.

Shane Buettner  |  Apr 17, 2007  |  0 comments
  • $1,499
  • 75-Watts x 7 into 8 ohms
  • Processing Modes: DD, DD-EX, ProLogicIIx, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker, DTS, DTS-ES/Discrete/Matrix/Neo: 6, DTS 24/96, Logic 7
Features We Like: Two HDMI 1.1 inputs (PCM-audio compatible), three component inputs, EzSet/EQ auto calibration and room EQ, three each coaxial and toslink optical digital audio inputs, one 7.1-channel analog audio input, XM Ready, USB Audio and iPod connectivity, AV sync delay, A-BUS Ready, multi-source/multi-zone
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 15, 2007  |  0 comments

Most popular AV receivers come from companies based in Japan, Korea, and China. Most of these are huge companies with the resources to develop products quickly and promote them widely.

Shane Buettner  |  Apr 07, 2007  |  0 comments
  • $1,999
  • 125-Watts x 7 into 8 ohms
  • Processing Modes: DD, DD-EX, ProLogicIIx, DTS, DTS-ES/Discrete/Matrix/Neo: 6, DTS 24/96, SRS Circle Surround II, HDCD decoding
Features We Like: THX Select2-Certified, Four HDMI 1.2 inputs and two outputs with video upconversion and cross-conversion, four component inputs, Audyssey auto calibration and room EQ, three coaxial and four toslink optical digital audio inputs, one 7.1-channel analog audio input, XM Ready, 7.1-channel preamp outs, AV sync delay, multi-source/multi-zone
Mark Fleischmann  |  Mar 22, 2007  |  First Published: Feb 22, 2007  |  0 comments
Tubular chic meets comforting conformism.

KEF's KHT5005.2 speaker system and Onkyo's TX-SR674 surround receiver are an odd couple. The KEF speakers are slim, tubular, and chic, the latest thing in décor-friendly sub/sat sets. And the Onkyo receiver? It couldn't be more conventional, conservative, even conformist. It's a plain black box with a very good features set for the price. But could it be that the two complement one another? Could this, in fact, turn into a long-term relationship?

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 26, 2007  |  0 comments
Little speakers are looking up.

Pricewise, these Definitive Technology ProCinema speakers and this Pioneer Elite A/V receiver are a perfect match. Even visual cues unite them, with the receiver's shiny-black metal faceplate echoing the satellite enclosures' black-gloss curve. In other ways, they may seem like an odd couple (or septet, rather). Wouldn't that big receiver be too much for those little speakers? No, say the specs. With the satellites rated to handle as much as 200 watts per channel, the receiver's hefty rated 140 watts are well within the acceptable range, although the speakers' 90-decibel sensitivity suggests that they'll play fairly loudly, even with a lower-powered amp. Therefore, it is legal to marry these speakers to this receiver, at least in Massachusetts, Canada, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Shane Buettner  |  Jan 18, 2007  |  First Published: Jan 19, 2007  |  0 comments
  • $1,999
  • 125-Watts x 7 into 8 ohms
  • Processing Modes: DD, DD-EX, ProLogicIIx, DTS, DTS-ES/Discrete/Matrix/Neo: 6, DTS 24/96, SRS Circle Surround II, HDCD decoding
Features We Like: THX Select2-Certified, Four HDMI 1.2 inputs and two outputs with video upconversion and cross-conversion, four component inputs, Audyssey auto calibration and room EQ, three coaxial and four toslink optical digital audio inputs, one 7.1-channel analog audio input, XM Ready, 7.1-channel preamp outs, AV sync delay, multi-source/multi-zone

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