AV Receiver Reviews

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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.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 23, 2006  |  0 comments
Chairman of the boards.

A receiver that doesn't handle the latest video and surround formats is a doorstop. A similarly outmoded high-end receiver is a very expensive doorstop. And that's a problem for anyone who bought one during the 20th century. Most DVDs have Dolby Digital and/or DTS soundtracks—those are must-haves. Stereo material usually sounds much better to me in Dolby Pro Logic II than in DPLI or stereo. And, for the largest rooms, Surround EX and DTS ES have added the back channels some people deem necessary. HDMI is on its way in, component video is on its way out, XM and HD radio are knocking at AM/FM's door, and, in a few years, surround receivers will be called on to do things that we can barely begin to imagine today.

Lawrence E. Ullman  |  Jan 15, 2006  |  0 comments

Remarkable. That's the word that best describes the THX Select2 approved Pioneer Elite VSX-74TXVi AV receiver ($1500). This gloss-black beauty is remarkably sophisticated, remarkably flexible, and remarkably easy to setup, thanks to an amazing auto calibration function called Advanced MCACC. The feature set is remarkably deep and includes HDMI switching/processing, a built-in XM satellite radio tuner, a dedicated iPod input with fully integrated controls, and a full suite of THX functions. Even the unit's designation is remarkably long, so I'm going to refer to the VSX-74TXVi as the "74" for the duration of this review.

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