Review of the Denon AVC-X8500H AV Amplifier by Richard Stevenson

Friday, 25 May 2018 |


The Denon Flagship AVC-X8500H powers the next generation of home theatre with the world’s first 13.2 channel AV Amplifier that supports the latest immersive audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. Built-in HEOS technology supports Amazon Alexa* and takes music listening to the next level with wireless whole-home audio.

The AVC-X8500H ushers in a leading-edge home theatre experience with13 channels of built-in amplification to enable premium 3D surround sound up to 7.2.6 without external amplification and supports latest 4K Ultra HD picture standards.

Featuring Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless streaming connectivity, the Denon AVC-X8500H is equipped with an advanced dual antenna transceiver system for robust streaming even in congested urban environments. Plus, with Apple's AirPlay compatibility, you can enjoy listening to your favourite audio content wirelessly from your iOS devices such as an iPhone or iPad.

As with all of Denon’s higher-end amplifiers and receivers, the X8500 supports Denon's HEOS multiroom system, which means you can enjoy your favourite music anywhere – and everywhere – around your home. You can share music stored on your home network, via Internet radio or from streaming services with HEOS wireless speakers, or even other HEOS-capable receivers, throughout the house. The system can be controlled using the free HEOS app and supports a wide range of streaming services including TuneIn, Internet Radio, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal, Napster and Deezer.

We are excited to share the Home Cinema Choice review below -

Review of the Denon AVC-X8500H AV Amplifier by Richard Stevenson from the new May 2018 issue of HOME CINEMA CHOICE magazine.

HOME CINEMA CHOICE SAID;

“…this Denon is a proper stunner”

“Yeah, but how does it sound? Quite quite amazing in fact. This Denon is clean, punchy and dynamic with a solidity to its imaging that makes even two-channel recordings sound wonderfully three-dimensional.”

“The balance is neutral but lacks nothing in grunt and drive when the volume knob gets turned to the right. That gorgeously crafted power supply, visible throught the casework, supplies all those channels with enough juice not to run out of steam when the going gets tough.”

“Using a 7.2.6 setup with front height channels, the Denon mapped Atmos-encoded material efficiently into every speaker. And those front heights really worked well in filling the void above the screen…Dialogue was improved too…Moreover, the additional front heights deliver a much greater sensation of three-dimensional sound generally…”

“Thanks to the Denon’s cracking processing, mapping more mundane sound formats onto this mighty 13-channel system is equally fun….The genuine Atmos sound wins comfortably, but the AVC-X8500H is a master of upscaling 5.1 platters into something resembling immersive 3D audio.”

“Yet it is with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X material that the Denon really shows its mettle as the class-leading AV amp of the moment. Spin anything and it beguiles. The Atmos track on ‘La La Land’ (UHD Blu-ray) is woefully shy when it comes to height information throughout, yet the AVC-X8500H digs into the soundtrack’s subtleties and nuances with ease. Dialogue is crisp and articulate; the musical numbers are funky and infectious. Some scenes in particular and so successful at evoking the mellow feeling of an LA jazz club that I almost booked myself a flight out there.”

Meet the new boss
“After a few weeks it was patently clear that Denon’s new model sets the current benchmark for integrated AV amplifiers and does so at a relatively affordable price. Try to get this level of functionality anywhere else and you’ll face a higher bill and a separate processor/power amp(s) combination to wrestle with.”

“It’s a brilliant addition to Denon’s portfolio…”

HCC VERDICT -
WE SAY: “Denon’s feature-packed 13-channel AV Amplifier is complex to set up but delivers the most immersive surround sound yet from a single box.”

S&I VERDICT –
The Denon AVC-X8500H takes multi-channel surround sound and immersive audio to a level previously only available on high-end AV processors and it does so whilst also providing all the amplification necessary in a single unit.  If you're looking for an AV amplifier that can handle 13.1-channel processing it should obviously be at the top of your list because it's the only one. Decision made!!!!




Klipsch Heritage Wireless The Three Speaker System

Saturday, 31 March 2018 |



The Three wireless multi-room speaker is part of Klipsch's Heritage Wireless series, incorporating the best of the old and new. Spun copper switches and knobs, real wood veneer and classic acoustic design represent the old; built-in Bluetooth, streaming multi-room audio, and support for high-resolution digital music represent the new. Despite it's unassuming retro look, The Three is highly capable of filling your room with Klipsch's modern signature sound. 

Description
Incorporating luxury materials such as real wood veneer and tactile spun copper switches and knobs, the Klipsch Heritage Wireless Three tabletop stereo system blends the acoustics and classic design legacy of Paul W. Klipsch with the latest technologies available today.

PROFESSIONALLY TUNED STEREO SOUND
The Three is a stereo tabletop system featuring two 2 1/4” full range drivers and a 5.25” long-throw woofer, bi-amplified for audio resolution and professionally tuned by Klipsch acousticians to deliver a premium audio experience.

SUPERIOR BASS REFLEX
In addition to the active 5.25” long-throw woofer, The Three also features dual opposed 5.25” passive radiators to deliver enhanced bass reflex. 

WIRELESS MULTI-ROOM READY
The Three tabletop stereo system is part of the Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room System, which is an all-encompassing solution for distributing your music throughout your home. Listen to your favorite internet radio stations, streaming services, personal digital music library, and CDs, DVDs, etc. 

CONNECTS TO ANY SOURCE
The Three includes audio input connections for Wi-Fi (for Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio System), Bluetooth®, Analog, 3.5mm miniplug, Phono Pre-Amp, and USB Type B audio. So go ahead, connect your turntable, computer, CD player, smartphone, or tablet and enjoy superior stereo sound from a beautifully crafted tabletop stereo system. 

Product Highlights:
  • built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from compatible devices
  • Bluetooth 4.0 including aptX technology for high-fidelity streaming with compatible devices
  • built-in Wi-Fi® for wireless music streaming when connected to a home network
  • two 2-1/4" full-range drivers
  • a 5-1/4" long-throw woofer for solid bass with dual opposed 5-1/4" passive radiators
  • 60 watts total system power
  • frequency response: 45-20,000 Hz



Computer Audiophile says - If you're looking a speaker in this category, with all the inputs, looks, and sound quality most people need, and don't want to break the bank, The Three from Klipsch must make the list of potential purchases. The Three is possibly the most versatile loudspeaker I've used to date. In addition, it sounds great and looks great. 

PCMAG.com says - Klipsch's stylish The Three speaker delivers terrific audio performance with serious bass response, and connects to a wide variety of wired and wireless sound sources.

S&I Verdict - The Three gets a 10/10 from us for its handsome design, ease of use, versatility, and compelling audio performance.

Shop here


#1 best amplifier spot - Rotel RA-1592 - CNET

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 |

CNET Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg picks the best receivers and amplifiers with the Rotel RA-1592 Integrated Amplifier claiming the #1 spot. The list of Outstanding Receivers and Amplifiers for Audiophiles showcases the RA-1592 in top position.  This Rotel flagship integrated amplifier includes 200 watts per channel of Class AB amplification, a 768KHz 32 Bit DAC and full array of analog and digital source inputs including a photo stage for vinyl enthusiasts.

More on the Rotel RA-1592 - 
Rotel claims the RA-1592 “leverages the strengths of [its] award winning RC-1590 preamplifier and RB-1582 Mk II power amplifier in a sleek single chassis design.” With a powerful 200 watt per channel Class AB amplifier using performance audio grade components, the RA-1592 can effortlessly drive large speaker systems. The impressive Rotel manufactured toroidal transformer is a key element in the power supply design which also includes custom slit-foil storage capacitors and a dual-monoblock topology. All of this helps to ensure the amplifier performance stands up to even the most complex music and real world playback conditions.

To complement the amplifier section, the RA-1592’s preamplifier incorporates the superb 32-bit/768kHz AKM digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and analog stages of the highest quality. The DAC and surrounding circuitry supports a vast array of source inputs including DSD capable PC-USB (24-bit/192kHz), 3 coaxial, 3 optical, integrated aptX® Bluetooth and front mounted USB iPod input. In recognition of the faithful analog music lovers, there is a phono stage input (MM), XLR balanced input and 3 analog RCA source inputs.

User selectable A-B speaker outputs with 5-way binding posts, RCA pre-output and dual subwoofer outputs provide the ultimate flexibility in installation. The amplifier protection circuits monitor DC offset, overcurrent, short circuit and temperature to protect both the electronics and attached speakers.

Custom integration features include RS232 and Ethernet IP control, 2 trigger outputs, remote IR input and automated digital signal sense power control for easy integration with streaming sources and control systems.

The RA-1592 is the finest integrated amplifier yet in Rotel’s 55 year history of producing performance audio components. Well deserving of the award.


FANTASTIC NEWS Yamaha YSP-2700 AND RX-A3060 BOTH WON A 5 STAR AWARD

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 |



We are pleased to inform you all that following - YSP-2700 and RX-A3060 have received a 5 star award in “WHAT HIFI October 2016 - 40th anniversary issue”

Let us take a look below at what they had to say…..

5 star review on High End Home Cinema - Yamaha MusicCast RX-A3060

Yamaha’s MusicCast RX-A3060 home cinema amplifier has just received a 5 star award in the latest What Hi-Fi magazine, the 40th year anniversary issue 2016. In the review they speak about the high end sound quality and flexibility the amplifier can offer as well as its excellent build quality. The price point demands quality and that’s what the Yamaha MusicCast RX-A3060 can offer.

S&I Verdict - Yamaha just keeps getting better every year, sound quality is amazing, build quality is also great. You will not be disappointed with this feature rich receiver.

5 star review for MusicCast YSP-2700 Soundbar

Yamaha’s MusicCast YSP-2700 surround soundbar has just received a 5 star award in the latest What Hi-Fi magazine, the 40th year anniversary issue 2016. The review talks about the exceptional dynamics and quality from a single bar at the front of your room, bouncing beams around the room to give you surround sound. Not only is it geared for movies but also for music and enjoying your favourite content – no matter what it is. With a whole host of handy features like Clear Voice, Auto Calibration, multi-room with MusicCast and different CinemaDSP modes to suit your content – it’s a soundbar with incredible added value!

S&I Verdict - For high-quality audio without the hassle of a discrete system, this soundbar is the next best thing.

MusicCast offers wireless audio connectivity like no other network music system on the planet. Featuring WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay and a whole host of streaming services – the system has something for everyone. You can listen to music in one room, in a different room, in all the rooms at the same time or any combination you like. It’s all controlled through one simple app which is free to download for Android and Apple devices and you can try the MusicCast system completely free with the demo mode. The product line-up is vast, over 30 different products to choose from so you can pick one to suit your needs and lifestyle. You can also distribute music from your MusicCast device to external Bluetooth devices or any other MusicCast product on your home network – all with just a few taps.

Yamaha does it again... The Yamaha MusicCast RX-A3060 and the YSP-2700 Soundbar will be coming soon to a S&I near you. To pre-order call - 

Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440 
Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165


Denon AVR-X3300W reviewed

Friday, 26 August 2016 |

Denon has just released their new AVR-X3300W 3D immersive sound AV receiver. With the addition of the X3300W to their X Series line (the AVR-X1300W and AVR-X2300W). Denon rounds out the series with their strongest receiver in the lineup. In the AVR-X3300W you get a receiver that is not only ready for a wide range of speaker models, but on the home theatre side is ready for what the future holds in emerging audio and video technology.

From Denon
Denon announces an addition to its Network AV Receiver X Series line, the AVR-X3300W. This model joins the recently introduced AVR-X1300W and AVR-X2300W AV receivers, offering the latest future-ready features, best-in-class user interface and immersive 3D sound.

What HiFi says -

“On paper, the Denon AVR-X3300W’s power is up 20 per cent compared with the AVR-X3200W (180W next to 150), so you could be forgiven for not expecting a huge step in performance. But you’d be wrong. Very wrong. It shares similar character traits, for sure. Punch and poise are still high on the agenda, but you immediately get a sense that there’s more waiting in the wings. This particular Denon has a couple of extra gears.” -What Hi-Fi.

What HiFi Verdict -  
One of the most expressive and entertaining surround amps we’ve heard in a while.

For 
  • Powerful, punchy sound
  • Loads of detail
  • An entertaining all-rounder
  • Impressive dynamics
  • Easy to use
Against 
  • Nothing at the money
Read the full review here

Sound & Image Verdict
The introduction of this model really rounds out their new X-Series nicely and it’s good to see consumers having such flexibility in these models at all the right price points. The AVR-X3300W features a simple, fuss-free layout and enough power to fill even larger rooms with unique Denon sound.

AVR-X3300W - Highlights & Benefits
• 7.2 channel AV Receiver, 105W per channel at 8 ohms, 20-20kHz, 0.08%THD
• Built-in Wi-Fi with 2.4GHz/5GHz dual band support; built-in Bluetooth
Improved network stability especially in Wi-Fi-crowded homes
• 4K/60 Hz full-rate pass-through, 4:4:4 color resolution, HDR and BT.2020
Latest HDMI standard for future-proof compatibility
• 8 HDMI inputs (incl. 1 front) with full HDCP 2.2 support; 2 HDMI outputs
Plenty of inputs for your digital devices; ready to feed a TV and projector in parallel
• Dolby Atmos (up to 5.1.2) and DTS:X (via firmware update)
Blockbusting 3D sound with effects from overhead
• AirPlay, Internet Radio, Pandora, Spotify Connect, SiriusXM, DLNA 1.5
Access to almost unlimited online music sources
• DSD (2.8/5.6MHz), FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV support
High Resolution audio streaming for HiFi enthusiasts, even gapless
• Advanced Video Processing with analogue to HDMI conversion and full rate 4K Scaling
Full HD and even Ultra HD video quality from existing DVDs or analogue sources
• Audyssey MultEQ XT32, Dynamic Volume, Dynamic EQ and SUB EQ HT
Delivering stunning equalization for your individual room including subwoofer EQ
• Advanced Multi-Room options; 7.2ch Pre-out; RS-232 Control
Audio and video in multiple rooms; ready for 3rd Party Home Automation systems
• Color-coded speaker terminals, Setup Assistant
Hassle-free installation, and setup and operation
• Denon 2016 AVR Remote App
Unprecedented level of command and control
• Intelligent ECO mode with off/on/auto setting
Energy-conscious without compromising on performance

The Denon AVR-X3300W is coming to a Sound & Image near you. Contact  Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440 and Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165 to pre-order your receiver.


DENON AVR-X2300W AV RECEIVER WHAT HI-FI REVIEW

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 |

Fully loaded with the very latest audio and video technologies, the AVR-X2300W delivers incredibly immersive surround sound, optimised via extensive sound tuning – not to mention plenty of amplifier power. It has Dolby Atmos decoding and processing, for the same revolutionary 3D surround sound found in premium movie theatres and – via a future firmware update – will be able to decode DTS:X soundtracks, for complete three-dimensional surround compatibility.

Key Features & Benefits
• 7.2 channel AV Receiver with 150W per channel: Enough power to fill medium size rooms with unique Denon sound
• Built-in WiFi with 2.4GHz/5GHz dual band support; built-in Bluetooth: Improved network stability especially in WiFi-crowded homes
• 4K/60 Hz full-rate pass-through, 4:4:4 colour resolution, HDR and BT.2020: Latest HDMI standard for future-proof compatibility
• 8 HDMI inputs (incl. 1 front) with full HDCP 2.2 support; 2 HDMI outputs: Plenty of inputs for your digital devices; ready to feed a TV and projector in parallel
• Advanced Video Processing with 4K Scaling for HDMI sources: Full HD and even Ultra HD video quality from existing DVDs or other digital video sources
• Dolby Atmos (up to 5.1.2) and DTS:X (via firmware update): Blockbusting 3D sound with effects from overhead
• AirPlay, Bluetooth, Internet Radio, Spotify Connect, Network Audio Streaming: Access to almost unlimited online music sources
• DSD (2.8/5.6MHz), FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV support: High Resolution audio streaming for HiFi enthusiasts, even gapless
• Audyssey MultEQ XT, Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ: Delivering perfect equalization for your individual room
• Colour-coded speaker terminals, Setup Assistant, Denon 2016 AVR Remote App: Hassle-free installation, setup and operation
• Intelligent ECO mode with off/on/auto setting: Energy-conscious without compromising on performance

The Denon AVR-X2300W is awarded with the WHAT HI-FI  5 STARS! It also passed with flying colours in an in-depth 3-page FIRST TEST review in the new August issue of WHAT HI-FI magazine!

Here Is what they had to say…..

WHAT HI-FI SAID:
“Once up and running the X2300W sounds beautifully balanced. We use it in a variety of modes – 5.1, 7.1, stereo and Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 – and it never fails to impress. We start off with a Blu-ray of Pixar’s ‘Brave’ and like what we hear. Voices are rendered beautifully. There’s weight, natural warmth and articulation in the midrange that leaves most rivals sounding mechanical in comparison. This amplifier is great at subtleties. Low-level dynamic shifts are delivered with skill and without overstatement. It all helps to draw the viewer more into the action on the screen.”
“As the film approaches its finale, the amp is happy to move up through the gears delivering a spacious soundfield packed with stable and precise movement of growls and screams.
The bear fight is delivered with plenty of enthusiasm and no shortage of punch. This Denon can play loudly too, certainly enough to fill all but the largest of rooms.”
“Where does that leave the X2300W? It’s clearly better than its talented predecessor, and delivers the same fuss-free user experience.
“Set-up is as easy as it gets. Denon has gone to a lot of trouble over recent years trying to simplify its AV amps without compromising features, and we think it has done a fine job here. There are a few tweaks over its predecessor, but on the whole the experience is pretty much the same. That is to say, really good indeed.”
Verdict 
“No revolution, but the AVR-X2300W didn’t need to be. It’s a superb sonic all-rounder and well-equipped with it”

S&I Verdict
The menus are simple and easy to follow, delivering a superlative music listening experience, and it's equipped to deliver the ultimate home theatre experience as well. We’re convinced this is going to be a winner and we’re looking forward to be able to show you its capabilities.


Give us a call or visit us at either branch to experience this award winning Denon AV Receiver for yourself.

Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440
Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165







Marantz M-CR611 - Hi-Fi Choice GROUP TEST WINNER

Sunday, 22 May 2016 |






Marantz has taken things to another level with their network receiver, the M-CR611. The M-CR611 is so packed with features, you will need to hold onto your hats. The M-CR611 connectivity checklist includes Bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet, Analog In, USB, Headphone, and coaxial FM. 

The moment you see the M-CR611 you’ll know that this latest incarnation is pure refinement. With a high-gloss jet-black finish and organically curved side panels, the immediate impression is style and elegance.

The feature set includes two sets of speaker binding posts, with 60 wpc of power on tap, a remote control, access to Pandora, Sirius XM satellite radio, Internet radio, Spotify, DLNA support and, amazingly, a CD transport (with DSD file support)! A Marantz mobile app is available to control all functions, including volume, but you can use other control apps as well.

Marantz CR-611 Network Receiver:
  • 60W x 2ch (6 ohms THD10%)
  • Air Play on board. 
  • Online Music Service Spotify Connect, Pandora(NA), Sirius XM Internet(NA), QQ music (CN), Internet Radio
  • Computer/NAS music file streaming (DLNA1.5)
  • Plays CD, WMA/MP3(CD-R/RW)
  • Built in Wi-Fi network module and built in diversity antenna. 
  • Bluetooth with NFC.
The Marantz M-CR611 was reviewed by Ed Selley in the new June issue of HI-FI CHOICE magazine. The M-CR611 is the winner of a Mini System Group Test comprising of six systems and is awarded with a 5 STAR rating.

HI-FI CHOICE SAID;
“More impressive still is that the specification is in many respects, superior to anything else in the group…”
“There is plenty of power on tap and it never sounds like it is straining to hit respectable levels. More than this, it manages a very effective balance between sounding exciting without tipping over into being forward.’
“…manages to extract the best bass performance in the test from the partnering speakers.”
“Simply put, there is a greater sense of this being a group of performers rather than a lead vocal and supporting instruments…”
“…the Marantz does a fine job of balancing realism and fun across a variety of musical styles.”

WE SAY
“A very well equipped unit with a sparkling performance at a bargain price”

Group Test Verdict
“The Marantz M-CR611 takes the top spot for its consistently enjoyable performance combined with the best overall specification while offering the lowest price in the test – even with speakers added. Control app flaws aside, this is the best all-round combination here."

S&I verdict -
For those seeking a plug and play audio entertainment solution, the Marantz M-CR611 is highly recommended.