AVR 158 Harman/Kardon's Mini-monster

Wednesday, 23 November 2011 |

Harman/Kardon’s latest trick is the AVR 158 mini-monster – as it has been referred to as. This little unit is ideal for those who like good sound but are conscious about money. It is an affordable and stylish way to bring you home entertainment to a new level.

The AVR 158 A/V receiver has the latest Dolby and DTS audio suites as well as HDMi v. 1.4 with 3-D and Deep-colour included. Importantly, this unit also has Logic 7, allowing you to experience 5.1 channel, 360° soundstage, ideal for movies, television and games.

The “mini-monster” boasts three HDMi inputs, 70 watts of power per channel, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier and high-current-capability (HCC).

Some of the key specs are:

Powers a 5.1-channel surround-sound system

70 watts of power per channel

High-current-capability (HCC), ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier

HDMI v.1.4 with 3-D and Deep Colour Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding

Logic 7 processing to turn conventional stereo sources into 5.1-channel surround sound

FM/AM radio with 30 station presets stored, plus Radio Data System (RDS)

Surround-sound decoding for all varieties of Dolby and DTS audio formats

BXR enhancer to improve bass performance of MP3 and WMA files

Lip-sync adjustment to delay the audio signal to match the video signal

Screen-saver function to prevent image burn-in on CRT and plasma displays

Classé: CP800 (R)evolutionary

Wednesday, 17 August 2011 |

The Classé CP800 preamp, is nothing “out of the ordinary” at first glance, with three single-ended audio inputs and two balanced audio inputs. That’s where the “ordinary” ends.

From the inside, this unit brings new features to light, in Classé’ typical manner, it has 4 toslink digital inputs, 3 coax digital inputs, 1 AES/EBU digital in, and…2 USB inputs, one on the front and at the back. With this being said it would only be correct to assume that Classé has indeed added an onboard USB-DAC board. However, the real change over occurs with the outputs.

There are five single-ended as well as five balanced audio outputs. What’s so great about this you may be asking yourself, well, these outputs are configurable. For the first time ever, Classé have added a high-end two channel preamp with bass management to the CP800. If you feel, like many people do that a subwoofer adds a lot to a system, one no longer needs to compromise and use a surround sound processor to manage bass, there are thee configurable outputs that give you the control.

Want more? Well, if you have been an audiophile for a while, you may recall back in the 70’s/80’s there was a nifty feature on many Quad preamps, known as the “tilt” feature. Classé has “reintroduced” this very feature onto the CP800 giving you the ability to make a “not so good” recording, be a lot more pleasant to listen to – you now are able to adjust both the frequencies as well as the shelf. What is more is that the CP800 has brought the “return” of the tone control. Again, this allows you, the user, more freedom to listen to music the way you want too – you have full control over the bass and the treble.

“…Classé has come up with a first in the CP800 with a new kind of power supply. Switching power supplies have huge advantages, but one drawback for audio has been the noise they introduced. Classé came up with a unique way to attack this. The result is probably the best audio preamp power supply ever designed. It’s got the lowest measurable noise floor of anything available by several dB!...”

If you would like to find out more about the CP800 unit, don’t hesitate to contact us via email, alternatively why not come in to one of our branches?

-Information sourced from Classé (August 2011)

Boston's TVee model 30 Soundbar

Monday, 18 July 2011 |

The TVee Model 30 is a soundbar well above the rest. It is the ideal solution from Boston Acoustics and they seem to be catering to consumers who actually want a bit more out of their discreet speaker answers. What makes this unit so much better, there are a variety of reasons, including the fact that the TVee Model 30 has a centre channel – making it a full 3.1 system.

Boston made a wise decision to enlarge the subwoofer, it now has a 7” driver rather than the original 6”. Although this unit is a “simple” system, the features on the TVee-30 are somewhat remarkable. One needs to bear in mind that the unit is specifically designed to adequately replace the sound from your flat-panel TV, the unit takes a feed from either the TV’s analogue stereo outputs, or from the S/PDIF optical digital output. Moreover, the TVee Model 30 can receive audio from Bluetooth, wireless or iPod inputs.

In an nutshell the soundbar is a three 2-way bass-reflex speakers arranged in a row, with a fibre ceramic 3-1/2" woofer and 3/4" tweeter each. The width is just over 38-inches, so it will look great with a majority of 37-50" displays.

Denon BDP-2012: Heimkino Reference Class

Friday, 15 July 2011 |

Denon’s DBP-2012UD player has made it into Heimkino's reference class, regardless of the price. What is it that makes this unit so special? Well, according to Heimkino, the visual quality that the DBP-2012 player produces is on par with some of the leading brands of Universal players on the market to date.

The audio and visual reproductions are well above the standard norm, in fact Heimkino went as far as to say: ...the high point of the test was the Denon's sound quality... is simply superb.

Some of the highlights of the unit include its versatility as a universal disc player, the fact that it is 3D; multimedia and network capable makes it a very competitive unit overall. Finally, Denon went all out in terms of the design aspect, the workmanship is impeccable.

Boston's new toy

Tuesday, 21 June 2011 |

The first thing I noticed when I plugged in the TVeeM25's was the “big” sound coming out of the soundbar. It’s hard to describe other than to say that the sound seems to emanate from the entire wall where the soundbar is located. I found it nearly unbelievable that this much sound could come out of something so small.

It’s also hard to believe that the soundbar has only 2 drivers in it. Normally when you have only a single left and right channel speaker vocals and other center channel audio are muffled. But the TVee Model 25 replicates the center channel perfectly while still rendering excellent left and right channel separation.

Also of note, the relatively small wireless subwoofer, which contains only a single 6" down-firing driver, puts out more than adequate bass response. In fact, when watching iRobot through the system I found the bass to be tight, crisp, and just plain loud! Boston Acoustics doesn’t list full specifications for the unit, but I’m guessing the subwoofer has 100 watts of the stated 150 watt system power, leaving 25 each for the left and right channel drivers in the soundbar.

If you want a soundbar that blends in seamlessly with its surrounding, the TVee 25 system will definitely oblige. The face of the unit is comprised of a single wide speaker grill with only a small BA logo at the bottom center and control buttons on the far right. It is designed to integrate nicely under TVs sized 32" or larger, and can sit right beneath on a counter, or be mounted to the wall.

...Volume control of the TVee 25 is simply awesome. The system will learn whatever remote control you want to point at it, and it’s an extremely easy thing to set up.

Unlike some competing units, the TVee 25 is perfect for bedrooms or other areas where you’d like to keep the room dark. The small operational LEDs near the control buttons only illuminate for a few seconds when buttons are pressed. The rest of the time they’re off, which saves the room from distracting light pollution when watching TV, or trying to sleep.

Installing the TVee 25 is quite simple. The soundbar requires a single power outlet, plus one cable to hook to the TV’s audio output jacks. You can use simple RCA cables for left and right channel connectivity, but for true surround sound you’ll need a digital optical output. Even if your TV doesn’t have one, your DVD or Blu-ray player will, and the unit will accept both connections. You can then plug the subwoofer into any power outlet anywhere in the room and the wireless transmitter will take care of the rest.

-Available Early July

-Review with compliments of “geekbeat.tv”

Denon's Killer combo: AVR-A100 and DBP-100

Monday, 20 June 2011 |

In celebrating their 100th anniversary Denon has released two units to mark the occasion. The DBP-100 bluray player and the AVR-A100 9.2 channel surround sound receiver. The DBP-100 is a universal player, which means that you can comfortably play Bluray’s CD’s and DVD’s, not to mention audio CD’S, audio DVD’S and Bluray audio. This unit comes with Denon’s own vibration-resistant design, it comes equipped with an anniversary edition coupling condenser and cast iron footing for extra sound stabilization.

First up: The DBP-100

The exterior of the DBP-100 has a glossy-finger-print resistant black coating with the 100th anniversary emblem. The inner workings of this unit are just as impressive as Denon’s age, the advanced audio and visual circuit performance comes directly from the SVH (Surpress Vibration Hybrid) mechanism giving the unit more control and stability when discs are being read. Every one of the channels uses AL24 processors for improved sound quality, while the video circuitry uses a high bit-rate video processor for more life-like imagery. The DBP-100 also sports Denon’s Link 4th HDMI clock control - minimising jitter during HDMI transmission and is ideal for best possible audio performance when combined with the AVR-A100.

Second up: The AVR-100

Starting on the outside, the AVR-A100 is in the same black gloss finish and 100th anniversary badging as the DBP-100. The AVR-100 is a 9.2 channel surround sound receiver, which has a variety of features including: high bit ip conversion and upscaling, network radio, music and photo streaming, AM/FM tuner, HDMI 1.4, 3D and ARC support It also has an 11.2 channel pre-amp, as well as direct play for iPod/iPhone via USB and simultaneous playback on two HDMI channels. This unit is feature-full. As with the DBP-100, the in/out connections are on the back panel of the unit, adding to its’ keen design style; The Audyssey MultEQ-XT 32 Room EQ makes speaker setup as simple as making tea – the easy to use setup will guide you through the steps. In terms of power, the AVR-A100 is definitely not lacking, with 140 Watts on each channel, the only thing left wanting is more music!

Pairing up these two units, helps us realise why Denon has been around for 100 years. Thanks Denon, you rock!

-Information sourced from: AudioVideo SA - June 2011

Nautilus...Naturally inspired, technologically perfected

Friday, 10 June 2011 |

“…Now recognised as a design classic, the original Bowers & Wilkins Nautilusis not just our flagship product, but the very pinnacle of technological innovation to which all others must aspire. It is the result of a groundbreaking, five year research and development programme to achieve, as near as possible, the perfect loudspeaker. The Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus is recognised worldwide as an outstanding loudspeaker which continues to shape the direction of the audio industry to this day. Much sought after by cognoscenti, it has been unashamedly designed with the serious audiophile in mind, not only because of its size and shape but also because of its active design – the crossover network is positioned between the pre and power amplifiers.

Bowers & Wilkins' search for the best possible quality in production means that we devote a great deal of time and care to specifying materials and components – and then to finding suitable specialists to make them. For the Nautilus™ body we engaged the services of Raceprep, a specialist company which is expert in the formulation of fibre-reinforced composites. Because of its complex shape, Raceprep engineers make the Nautilus™ shell almost entirely by hand, using a resin which has been identified by computer analysis as perfect for its purpose – ensuring maximum strength and durability. The same attention to detail has been applied to the finish for the Nautilus™ shell. Bowers & Wilkins' paint and lacquer system is imported directly from Germany, where it is supplied only to the leading names in the luxury car industry, such as Porsche and Mercedes Benz...

-Information sources directly from Bowers and Wilkins:


"...Awesome 3D and 2D picture..." Marantz UD7006

Monday, 6 June 2011 |

The Marantz UD7006 is the first Bluray disc player that is 3D enabled. “What-Hifi” has given a five-star rating, and they have done so for a good reason. It is one of the very few that have on-board audio decoding. If you have older home theatre amps, adding the UD7006 does not have the compatibility issues that many systems have, the UD7006 comes with a set of eight-channel analogue inputs. This unit is unique for these reasons, the technology that is used is typical of Marantz but without high cost that is generally involved with Marantz products. Another great feature of the UD7006 is the DLNA certificate. This means that you can stream music and photo’s that are stored on a computer on your home network. The audio and visual results are really good, the pictures are texture-rich and crisp and the sound is clear, moreover the UD7006 uses Marantz’ Anchor Bay 2015 VRS chipset, which effectively minimises most of the background noise that one finds on discs. The UD7006 can play most of the digital formats that are used in electronic information storage – using CD’s or DVD’s is no issue for this machine, it plays mp3’s, mp4’s, 2D and of course 3D. Adding a Marantz UD7006 to your home theatre system is a choice worth making.


(Information sourced from: What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision (July 2011) reviews the Marantz UD7006)

LS Series: Old meets new.

Saturday, 14 May 2011 |

Taking their inspiration for the orginal LS series of loudspeaker, JBL has re-invented the speakers – adding in more power, more quality and more style. The LS series is designed specifically for home theatre enthusiasts who enjoy volume and clarity.

What makes these speakers so good is that they combine compression drivers with dynamic drivers. They are designed with a 176ND high-frequency compression driver which uses a 2” pure-titanium diaphragm with a unique shaped diamond-pattern surround. The ultrahigh-frequency driver is a 3/4-inch ring-radiator design incorporating a low-mass polyimide diaphragm, together the sound and control is excellent.

These technological advances filter all the way down to the woofers, each woofer is specifically fitted with PolyPlas™ polymer-coated-cellulose-fiber cone material, ensuring that no depth is lost.

Want to know more? Have a look and come have a listen...


-Information sourced from home theaterreview.com

Denon's World Best: AVR-4311

Friday, 6 May 2011 |

Denon's AVR-4311 AVR receiver has been voted at the "World's best" AV-receiver in its’ price range. Although the other competitors for the title were close, the AVR-4311 wow'd the judges more than the rest. Given the audio performance of the Denon, the clear-cut design of the chassis and the variety of features that the receiver offers, winning the contest actually wasn't that difficult. For the price range, the 4311 gives owners all they need for their home-theatre systems, without compromising on style or ability. (http://www.soundimage.co.za/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=537)

(Information sourced from: Denon-SA)

Boston's A26's... Small but explosive

Monday, 18 April 2011 |

Many of us have heard the expression “dynamite comes in small packages”. Well Boston Acoustics are the creators behind that dynamite - The A26 bookshelf speakers. Although small, they pack power that is remarkable for their size.

The speakers are 13 inches by 8.25 inches by 10.5 inches, they are light-weight and are nothing like their predecessors from the early 80’s. The Boston boys have learnt a lot of the decades about sound, technology and design. The new remodelled A-series is proof of that. The bass on these little beauties is a good and healthy deep sound, the mid-range is far from tinny and the trebled high-end sounds “real”.

The cross over components – something which is fundamentally important in speaker design, incorporate low-loss film capacitors as well as low-distortion laminated silicon steel cores – for the inductors in all major areas of the speaker system. These cross-overs are a “standard” issue on all of the A-series models, the other standard, with all the A-series’ is the five-way gold plated binding posts.

The A-series, and specifically the A26 bookshelf speakers are definitely a good option for a two-channel system especially when space and money are tight.

(Information sourced from: www.cnet.com: Steve Guttenburg's review on the A-Series)

Denon's AVR 4311... Carries on being awarded.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011 |

Denon’s new flagship AVR may well have all the answers that you are looking for in a home theatre cinema. The 4311 is not merely a repackaged version of its predecessor. It is an all new amplifier totally redesigned internally.

A really impressive feature of this unit is the overall power hike – it gains a massive 455W over the AVR 4310. The AVR 4311 offers an 11.2 channel, completely configurable line-level outputs. The AVR 4311 also has a dedicated “pre-amp” mode which conveniently cuts the signal to all of the onboard power amps, which reduces the current draw and associated distortions – Denon’s AVR 4311 has the ability to act as a heavy-weight processor/ “pre-amp” if the need is there.

Fortunately this unit is more than just power and channels, the features department at Denon has been feverishly working toward implementing HDMi v1.4a – equipped with 3D switching and Audio return channel, Audyssey’s newest Multi EQ-XT 32 room EQ system, Dolby Volume and a huge amount of networking capabilities – both Ethernet and Airplay.

If you are curious about what is happening on the inside, well, the overall design and layout has changed as well, one of the best additions (in comparison to the 4310) is the inclusion of two temperature controlled fans at the bottom of the case. Although this unit has become a “bit of a fatty” – boasting a hefty 17.3kg weight, it still is a unit very much worth considering for a home cinema option.

-Information sourced from Home Cinema Choice, May 2011

Denon's CEOL - T3: It's in the Air...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 |

So... Denon has officially joined the Airplay party. The Denon’s CEOL network music system effectively consigns the concept of traditional hi-fi to history. Although ‘mini’ in comparison to many of the competitors on the shelves today, the CEOL (pronounced kee-ohl) is ‘transformative’. It is made up of a single-piece RCD-N7 network CD receiver and a set of SC-N7 stand-mount speakers.

The back of the unit happily offers two pairs of substantial binding posts, FM/AM tuner connections, an optical digital audio input and two auxiliary phono stereo inputs and best of all... an Ethernet input too. There is also a nifty little port for a subwoofer, (output). Denon didn’t stop there. The CEOL boasts a centre mounted CD tray and 3-line OLED display. They even opted for a USB reader and on the top is a concealed a docking station for an iPod/iPhone.

The cherry on the top, (even though there are more features than have been mentioned), is the AirPlay capabilities. The CEOL is the first of its hi-fi system kind to support Apple’s wireless replay system. With a simple upgrade you can stream direct from iTunes on your Mac or PC, or via an iPhone 3GS/4, iPad or iPod Touch. AirPlay gives the user the ability to simultaneously stream music to as many as six pairs of speakers.

In a nutshell... Denon’s CEOL Hi-Fi is small, modern looking, great sounding and affordable. It brings together all the great things about single unit systems and throws in technological sophistication without compromising power. (No wonder it scored a Five-star review from T-3: The gadget website).

-Information sourced from T-3: the Gadget website: Posted by Steve May on Thu 3 Feb 2011

Marantz Melody Series: MC-R603

Friday, 11 February 2011 |

In the Melody series, Marantz’s MCR603 CD-receiver has out-ranked and outclassed its predecessors. Given a five-star ranking from Stuff magazine if they are so keen on it, it would be crazy not to trust it.

The CD receiver unit on this outside seems pretty standard, in a really sleek silver-gold casing, in usual Marantz class and style. But it is not the outside that makes this machine worth having. The interesting bits and pieces are on the inside.

The M-CR603 functions as an AirPlay client for iPhones, iPods, iPads and the best of all, it does this iTunes library from any computer running iTunes. It is relatively simple to enable this capability, simply download the iOS 4.2 software update from iTunes and you are “wirelessly” set for a music streaming session.

The unit itself has more attitude than an angry biker, with 60 Watts per channel, the Melody Media is more dynamic and versatile than most of its’ competitors. The AirPlay and CD playback, are strong and controlled, the DAB tuner still throws out performance – even in weak reception areas, and the high-quality net radio (192kbps or higher) is also an impressive feature.

The only real downfall is that there is no Wi-Fi built into the unit, it has to be physically connected to the Wi-Fi router – it does kind of defeat the real purpose behind the concept of AirPlay, but in order to use the internet or stream music from DLNA-equipped NAS drives and computers – a router is still very much needed.

If you aren’t very much into the Apple iTunes fad, it isn’t really too much of an issue, all you need is to plug in an optional Bluetooth receiver (RX101) into the M-XPort – place neatly at the back of the unit and stream music from your other devices.

Overall, the unit is powerful, good-looking and gives you the options that many other CD receivers don't. We like it.

Q300's...Space for Sound

Monday, 7 February 2011 |

KEF has bought out the all new Q300’s. These speakers are beautifully proportioned in terms of sound and style. Although larger, in all directions than the B&W 685’s, the sound quality is worth it.

These speakers boast a biwire speaker terminal arrangement which is “...brilliant in its simplicity...” (Whathifi.com review: http://www.whathifi.com/Review/KEF-Q300/). The speakers themselves are far more individual than the iQ30 range of standmounters.

As with many of the KEF speaker ranges, give these speakers a “little space” and the quality of sound is very good, and easily a good addition to your home theatre system.

-Information taken from: http://www.whathifi.com/Review/KEF-Q300/

Denon: AVR 1611: A good Choice

Monday, 17 January 2011 |

The Denon AVR 1611 boasts 3D compatibility through its four HDMI v.1.4 inputs, it also throws in a few other nifty bits, including: Dolby Pro-Logic IIz, which comfortably expands the soundstage to include the front height channels – of course you need an amp to run the signal to. The Denon AVR 1611 definitely does not compromise on its style with this unit, it is still as sharp, clean and uncluttered as we have all come to expect.

Although the back panel seems sparse upon first glance, it covers all the basics needed for a good home theatre system and fortunately, the speaker terminals are all binding posts. This unit has the ability, unlike some other systems, to decode Dolby TrueHD as well as DTS-HD MA soundtracks; moreover it offers seven DSP modes to bring even more depth to your music as well as movies it even includes a Virtual Surround Mode. Installation is aided by Audyssey’s auto setup mode, as well as a group of technologies, (Multi EQ, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume). All of these are designed to monitor the sound as soon as it is optimised.

The overall operation is massively simplified by the use of onscreen menus’ – even though the graphics are a bit dated. The AVR-1611’s power rating is quoted as being: 5x110W which really makes it a monster for an entry level product.

(Information sourced from: Home Cinema Choice: March 2011)

Denon AVR 4311: Electronic House Award Winner

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 |

Denon’s award-winning AVR 4311 Receiver has arrived on our shelves! The AVR 4311 is an audio/video receiver, it offers three-zoned, three-sourced capabilities and provides the user with a high-standard A/V distribution in the home environment. This unit is a 9.2 channel that offers a multitude of features. This unit works with Apple iPhones and iPods, in fact it is “works with iPhone” certified. Some of the most standout features include the latest Audyssey MultEQ Room Correction system and Dolby Volume. It can be configured to a variety of home-theatre systems, it has internet capabilities, and it has Windows and Mac media server products available. This unit includes a built in HD radio tuner and is Sirius Satellite Radio Ready. For users who like the Ethernet capability feature, the ability of IP control and digital media streaming is that much more appealing with the AVR 4311. The AVR 4311 has seven HDMI inputs and two parallel HDMI outputs, and features a single front-panel HDMI.