AV Receiver Reviews

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 17, 2006  |  0 comments
Set me up, and let me fly.

Back when Jimmy Carter was president (or was it Ford?), my first audio system featured a Pioneer SX-434 receiver. Even then, manufacturers had figured out that SX sells. My old receiver was rated at 15 watts per channel and weighed 18 pounds. Today, I'm reviewing a Pioneer VSX-816 A/V receiver (SX still sells) with 110 watts times seven. At 20.3 pounds, it's put on some weight, but what a difference a couple of pounds can make.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 17, 2006  |  0 comments
Two products, one look.

It wasn't until I uncrated both the Paradigm Cinema 330 speakers and the Harman/Kardon AVR 340 receiver that I realized I'd found something rare in the home theater realm—a visual match between speakers and receiver. Did some invisible hand simultaneously guide Paradigm's whizzes in Toronto and Harman/Kardon's design squad in Northridge, California? These two large companies have no connection that I know of. Yet, this month's Spotlight System is a genuine fusion of Canadian and Californian design sensibilities.

Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  0 comments

For most people, flagship A/V receivers costing $4,000 to $6,000 are just too much: too much size, weight, complexity, and, for sure, money. But the cheapest models are too limited in connections and, more often than not, too flimsy. The result?

Michael Fremer  |  May 26, 2006  |  0 comments

DVD players have become so "commoditized" that it's typical today for players to sell for less than $100. And you know what? Some of these inexpensive players feature progressive scan output and perform quite well overall. I saw one such player advertised in my local paper today selling for $18! It wasn't too long ago that de-interlacing meant adding a $10,000 Faroudja scaler to an already expensive DVD player.

Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

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Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

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Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

Price: $1,000
Channels/Power: 7x105W
Decoding: DD, DD EX, ProLogic IIx, DTS, DTS-ES Discrete/Matrix/Neo:6/DTS 24/96
Ins and Outs: Two coax and five toslink digital audio, one 7.1-channel analog, two HDMI (spec 1.1), three component video, RS-232, three 12V triggers
Highlights: THX Select2, XM Satellite Radio ready, iPod dock ready, EZSet automated setup and EQ, transcoding of composite and S-Video to component video, multi-source/multi-zone, learning backlit remote

Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

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Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

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Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

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Ultimate AV Staff  |  May 24, 2006  |  0 comments

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Apr 18, 2006  |  First Published: Apr 19, 2006  |  0 comments
The great gray lady.

Consumer expectations are a pointed stick. You can almost hear manufacturers of surround receivers going, "Ow, ow, ow! Do you really expect us to provide seven amp channels and a silicon forest of surround modes—and make it all easy to set up?" Yes, yes, and yes.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 09, 2006  |  0 comments

HDMI switching and upconversion are but two of the many standout features incorporated into the RX-D702B, JVC's newest, slick-looking 7.1-channel A/V receiver. Despite its low profile and compact size, this 17 lb. AVR contains seven of JVC's Hybrid Feedback Digital Amplifiers rated at 150W per channel, and is packed with unique performance and convenience features, as well as the latest Dolby and DTS surround decoding options.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Mar 17, 2006  |  0 comments
Clap to calibrate, and don't forget the PC.

During the first hour that the JVC RX-D702B surround receiver sat on my rack, it began to wirelessly suck MP3s out of my PC. Then it sensed the clapping of my hands and automatically set its channel levels. Unpredictable moves are typical of JVC, one of the most underrated companies in consumer electronics.

Rebecca Day  |  Feb 14, 2006  |  First Published: Feb 15, 2006  |  0 comments
A complete system you won't want to hide in the basement.

My basement audio/video system is so last century. It's a mix-and-match collection of gear that's been retired as I've put together my real home theater system upstairs. The TV, a 30-inch analog CRT, circa 1988, doesn't even have a flat picture tube to its credit. The receiver maxes out at four-channel Dolby Pro Logic, and the speaker system is a mishmash of center and surround speakers (unmatched), with unshielded front speakers that deliver a killer image with stereo music but an unwelcome rainbow of colors when placed next to a video display. The DVD player is the only current-millennium piece in the stack, but not by much.

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