The Marantz AV8802 is awarded with the BEST AV PROCESSOR award for 2015/2016

Monday, 21 December 2015 |

Sound & Image is very excited about the new Marantz AV8802. You’ll enjoy a whole new world of content thanks to the many built-in network features, which includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and support for internet radio along with subscription streaming services including Pandora®, SiriusXM™ and Spotify Connect®.Enjoy the ultimate in cinematic surround sound with Dolby Atmos®, the most advanced motion picture surround sound system ever developed. Dolby Atmos features object-based soundspace creation and reproduction, with the ability to place sound elements with pinpoint precision via front, side and surround speakers along with overhead speakers or up-firing Dolby Atmos enabled speakers.

The Marantz AV8802 is awarded with the BEST AV PROCESSOR award for 2015/2016.

AV TECH MEDIA SAID;

“With both film and music sources it sounds imperious, with a natural balance and huge soundstage among its standout performance traits. Enjoying this gifted presentation is made easy by Marantz’s slick user interface and step-by-step setup guide. An obvious upgrade to any separates-based system – roll on movie night!” 

AV Tech media is the publisher of HOME CINEMA CHOICE, HI-FI CHOICE AND HI-FI NEWS magazines and the Awards are publicized in all three titles.


AV8802 Multichannel A/V Preamplifier with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth –
Main Features:

• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in
• Current Feedback topology and new Marantz HDAM
• Toroidal transformer & Copper-plated chassis
• Three-piece top cover construction
• High-performance power supply with 4x 10.000μF capacitors
• Audiophile 32-bit/192-kHz D/A Converters
• Auro-3D upgrade-ready (up to Auro 10.1)
• Dolby Atmos (5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4 configuration)
• Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio
• Audyssey MultEQ XT32, LFC, Sub EQ HT, Pro ready
• Audyssey DSX; DTS Neo:X (11.1ch)
• 13.2ch pre-out (13.2ch XLR, 13.2ch RCA) and 11.2ch signal processing
• Latest HDMI version with 4k 50/60Hz 4:4:4 resolution
• HDCP 2.2 upgradeable (requires hardware modification)
• 7+1 front HDMI in / 3 HDMI out (2 + 1 zone) (4k 50/60Hz, 3D, ARC, Deep Color)
• HDMI scaling 1080p, 4k 50/60 Hz
• ISF video calibration
• MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA, AIFF
• HD Audio streaming: FLAC 192/24, DSD, ALAC
• Gapless Playback
• USB port
• Spotify Connect, Pandora, SiriusXM* (* where available), Flickr, Internet Radio support
• Phono (MM) input
• Setup Assistant and Advanced GUI
• 4 Smart Select buttons for fast selection of listening presets
• RS232
• Marantz Remote App for iOS and Android devices

Sound & Image are great advocates of Marantz products – we guarantee that the AV8802 won't disappoint!!!

Excellent review for both Rotel RB-1590 and RC-1590

Monday, 14 December 2015 |

There is no substitute for experience. More than fifty years of designing, engineering, and manufacturing audio/video components has put Rotel at the top of the audio field. They have always been a family owned business. That is why they take the time to build, test, and critically evaluate each new model before it goes into production.
The RC-1590 Stereo Preamplifier and RB-1590 Power Amplifier have been engineered to the highest audio standards while providing the user with an incredible level of control flexibility. It includes extensive arrays of both analog and digital inputs, to accommodate the needs of a modern music system. 

We are very pleased to announce that both the Rotel RC-1590 preamplifier and the RB-1590 power amplifier have received an outstanding review on technofile.com

Some of the review highlights include:

"The RB-1590 is a very good thing in its own right. I fell under this amp's spell so quickly it was reminscent of a teenage girl swooning over a favourite boy band or, in my age group, the Beatles."

"The soundstage is wide and deep, the highs are clean and crisp without being shrill and the bass is tight and deep without being boomy. The system also offers great clarity and refinement and didn't seem to care whether they were asked to play rock, classical, jazz, concerts, movies, or whatever. They just sat there, happily gobbling up whatever signal I fed them, giving me beautiful and bountiful sound in return, from the most glorious music to the most outrageous movie sound effects. Naturally, this performance is also affected by the source material, but I fed it good signals and the Rotel repaid me in kind."

"In short (well, I guess that ship has sailed…), this is a wonderful pair of audio components that, given Rotel's history, should serve you well for many years, or at least until the neighbours show up with torches and pitchforks to force you to turn it down."

You can read the full review here.

For music enthusiasts who won't accept compromise, the RC-1590 preamplifier and RB-1590 power amplifier are in a class of their own, at prices that belie their incredible performance. Available from our Sound and image stores.


HEOS is Test Winner in T3 - "It's a star performer!"

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 |

HEOS wireless speakers are designed specifically for the home. Together or individually these powerful Wi-Fi wireless speakers deliver pure, precise sound.



Fantastic news from the magazine T3: The HEOS system has recently been featured in a 10-page-multi-room-test in T3 magazine against Sonos and Bluesound, and HEOS Won! We received the T3 5 star Best on Test and also the T3 5 Star Platinum Awards.

Overall Winner: HEOS
On HEOS: HEOS by Denon is our multi-room system of choice. Feature-rich and musical with local USB playback, backed by a solid app, it’s a star performer!
Test 1: Design
On HEOS: “The HEOS by Denon range is a Marmite proposition, but its tapered tabletop speakers are on the right side of striking.”
Test 2: Set-Up
Winner: HEOS    
On HEOS: “Thanks to its ease of use and inventive app design, HEOS by Denon wins this category by a pinch […] Denon makes it easy to group speakers and assign zones […] impressively up to 32 HEOS units can be run on a single system […] a ‘pinch to group’ feature on the app enables multiple locations to be grouped together on the fly, should you want to rock the entire house”.
Test 3: Sound
On HEOS: “The HEOS 7 thunders for attention; its startling how much bass it offers.
About T3:
For over a decade T3 has led the market as the UK’s premium technology lifestyle brand. Via the magazine, the website, the weekly email newsletters and podcasts, T3 provides its affluent, informed male readers with everything they need to stay up to date with the latest and best gadgets and consumer technology.
See the HEOS range from Sound & Image here

HEOS by Denon is available from both our Menlyn and Sandton Stores today!

Rotel RC-1590/RB-1590 Reviewed

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 |


Rotel has been widely acknowledged for 50 years as a leader in affordable high-end electronics designed for serious audiophiles and home-theatre fans. They've been in this game long enough that when we hear model denominations starting at RC and RB, it automatically pops up images of respectively pre- and power amplifiers on the retina. And this time it concerns models in Rotel`s absolute top class, where Rotel even implies that they compete with cost-no-object amplifiers costing many times the price.

We take a look at the latest Hi Fi News Review – ‘This new heavyweight, but disarmingly affordable, pre/power combination sits at the top of the Rotel range. Can it challenge the big-hitters of high-end hi-fi ?’

Hi Fi News says -

"Both preamp and power amp are solid, neatly turned-out and have controls with a precise and well-engineered feel. And as you'll see from the internal shots on these pages, both also have a clear, logical layout, and use high-quality components"

"The detail on offer here is always impressive, particularly in the way in which ambience and the size and acoustic character of a recording venue is conveyed - and especially so with higher resolution files. It just goes to show that this heavyweight amplification isn't all about 'going loud', but rather it has refinement and clarity to match its muscle."

"It does a fine job of delivering a wide range of music with detail and excitement intact. That Rotel has managed to offer all this for very sensible money, along with wide-ranging input flexibility and fuss-free behaviour, is a tribute to its design and manufacturing."

‘There’s nothing to complain about when it comes to fit and finish’

Hi Fi New - Verdict –
There’s no denying that the Rotels deliver a lot of bang for the buck, and though in absolute terms this isn’t the most refined amp combo in the world, it does a fine job of delivering a wide range of music with detail and excitement intact. That Rotel has managed to offer all this for very sensible money, along with wide-ranging input flexibility and fuss-free behaviour, is a tribute to its design and manufacturing.

Sound & Image -  Verdict - 
We have always been impressed with Rotel and this combination ticks all the right boxes for us. Perfect combination of power and control. The Rotel RC-1590/RB-1590 is for the discerning audio enthusiast and provides the highest levels of performance. 5 stars from Sound & Image!

Specifications –


RC-1590
Stereo Preamplifier

·                     Twin toroidal transformers to maximize analogue/digital circuit isolation
·                     TI precision volume control IC
·                     MM Phono input
·                     Three line-level analogue input stages (CD, Tuner and Aux),
·                     Six digital input stages (three coax; three optical)
·                     32bit 768kHz Asahi Kasei Digital to Analogue Converter
·                     Internal Bluetooth module supports both APTX and standard SBC
·                     Front facing USB input for iPod/iPad connections with 2.1A charging capability
·                     Rear panel PC-USB 24bit 192KHz input supports Windows, MAC and DoP (DSD over PCM).
·                     Tone control cut/boost up to 10dB
·                     Balanced (XLR) input stages
·                     Twin balanced (XLR) and single-ended (phono) output stages
·                     Twin sub-woofer outputs
·                     Front panel status display

RB-1590
Stereo Power Amplifier

·                     Output power 350W per channel, both channels driven, 20Hz-20kHz
·                     Twin mono-block construction
·                     Slit-foil reservoir capacitors, total 80,000mFd
·                     Twin speaker terminals for each channel
·                     Balanced (XLR) input stages 
·                     Two stage power-on circuit
·                     12-volt trigger control
·                     Thermal, over-current and over-voltage protection circuits
·                     5U chassis

Both the preamplifier and the power amp are available in black and silver finishes. Give us a call or visit us at either branch to audition the new Rotel additions for yourself.

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


The DENON AVR X2200 has arrived!

Friday, 28 August 2015 |

Packed with the latest audio and video technologies, the AVR-X2200W delivers incredibly immersive surround sound, built on an extensive sound tuning and plenty of amp power. With Dolby Atmos, you’ll experience the same revolutionary 3D surround sound found in premium movie theaters. And, via a firmware update (available fall 2015), the AVR-X2200W will be able to decode DTS:X soundtracks, which also deliver an immersive 3-dimensional soundspace. Full wireless connectivity is provided by both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with dual antennas that help ensure robust signal transmission and reception. Stream your favourite music through AirPlay, Spotify Connect or local network storage drives, and enjoy easy control via the Denon 2015 AVR Remote iOS and Android apps. The AVR-X2200W features an advanced video processing system which provides for 4K Ultra HD full rate, and it can upscale analogue and digital SD and HD video to 4K UHD. The AVR-X2200W is also HDCP 2.2 compliant, a requirement for 4K Ultra HD copy-protected content.


The new Denon AVR-X2200W AV Receiver wins a 5 Star What Hi-Fi rating!

What HiFi recently reviewed the unit and they say:

"You'll be tempted by Denon's articulate and future-proof Dolby Atmos amp"

The new Denon AVR-X2200W AV Receiver has been awarded a 5 Star What Hi-Fi rating!

"An articulate, detailed amp with stacks of functionality and future proofing"

"….a receiver that pushes the boundaries of what we've come to expect at this price."

"…this amp is as big on performance as it is on specs, proving that Denon is once again back on its A game."

Performance
"The midrange shows great insight, picking out plenty of fine detail in every tyre screech and gear change, while delivering an engaging fluidity to dynamics that makes it as precise as it is articulate."

"It's a really well balanced presentation. Up top, the treble is crisp and refined while the low end packs just enough rumble for the big action scenes."

"It would appear Denon has spent some time on the X2200's way with music…There's a much greater handling of rhythm and timing, and dynamically it's full of expression and fluidity."

Verdict
"Denon has thrown everything at this receiver and with fantastic results It's been quick to pick up where it fell down last year, and added in some excellent functionality that leaves no stone unturned in 2015.

The Denon X2200 will deliver an exciting, well-considered home cinema experience no matter what setup you decide, while future-proofing your system for some time in the process. If that's not tempting, we don't know what is."

See the full review here.
 




Monitor Audio Gold 300 received 5 Stars!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 |

Introduced at CES 2015, Monitor Audio's new Gold Series speakers represent the fourth generation of the Gold range. The new Gold Series represents an evolution of its predecessor, the Gold GX Series, keeping the same form factor while incorporating many refinements to the prior design that are intended to further enhance performance. Some of the refinements include a new bass driver, tighter production tolerances of its ribbon high-frequency transducer, and re-fashioned grilles.


The Monitor Audio Gold 300 recently received an amazing review from Home Theatre Reviews. 

Home Theatre said –

"Gold Series drivers, with their satin silver finish, provide a beautiful contrast to the high-gloss cabinet finish. Trust me, you won't want the grills hiding these beauties."

"The C-CAM (Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium) material originated in the aerospace industry for engine components, and Monitor Audio has been fine-tuning the material for its drivers for more than 20 years."

"The attack and decay of the piano's notes were palpable and had a tonal quality that was dead-on accurate."

“the Gold 300 speakers reproduced it all with the tonal neutrality found among only the best loudspeakers.”

"this sub goes really low. I mean, chest-thumping low!"

Conclusion –
“Let's just cut to the chase. The beautifully designed Monitor Audio Gold Series system is the best-sounding surround system at its price point that I've ever heard, period. The trifecta of special features I mentioned--including the ribbon transducer, 18Hz frequency-response limit of the sub, and the versatility of the monopole/dipole surrounds--all contribute to the excellent performance. As to their value, I suspect you'd have to spend significantly more to better the combination of accurate sound, design aesthetics, and sheer musical enjoyment that Monitor Audio Gold deliver.”

Read the full review here. 


Monitor Audio Gold 300 available from Sound & Image.

The Monitor Audio's new Bronze speaker range reviewed

Monday, 20 July 2015 |

Monitor Audio has unveiled full details of its new Bronze speaker series. The popular, entry-level Bronze range of loudspeakers from British manufacturer Monitor Audio gets a significant upgrade in guise of a new generation of the company’s proprietary C-CAM drivers. Also, apart from the regular black oak, walnut and rosemah finishes, there’s a new offering – white ash.

Sound & Image reviews this latest entry-level champion…

Invisible driver fixings and floating magnetic grilles are among the cosmetic highlights of the Bronze line-up. In fact, the new line looks identical to its predecessor, except for the drivers, which now have a steel grey sheen compared with the white of its predecessor.

Key to the new design is the latest generation of C-CAM drivers. Engineered in steel grey, the proprietary bass and mid drive units use a new type of "dished" C-CAM cone, which uses the entire cone surface to radiate sound. The driver's voice coil is thermally coupled to the back of the cone, which draws heat away from the coil for better power handling and optimal performance at all volume levels, claims Monitor Audio.

A new 25mm C-CAM gold dome tweeter extends each speaker's frequency response to 30kHz. An "innovative venting system" allows air to flow outside the tweeter's magnet assembly into a rear-loading chamber, minimising air compressions for "lower distortion and improved damping".

The reflex loading system is the HiVe®II variety also found on MA’s higher end Gold range, which uses rifled port grooves to speed the air in and out of the cabinet for cleaner, more powerful bass and a superior transient response.

Additional technical highlights include polypropylene film capacitors, air core and laminated steel core inductors.

The seven-model range includes - the Bronze One standmount model with a 14cm C-CAM bass driver, followed by the pair Bronze Two standmounter with 15cm bass unit. Next in line are two floorstanders, the Bronze Five with twin 5.5in drivers arranged in a 2.5-way configuration, and the Bronze Six with twin 6.5in C-CAM bass drivers operating in tandem with a further 6.5in mid-range unit. Finishing off the range with the Centre, FX surrounds and W10 subwoofer.

If you want to create a Bronze home cinema package, then look no further. Sound & Image have the New Bronze 6 Home Theatre package in store. With the matching Bronze FX Surround , Bronze Centre and Bronze Subwoofer.  In this way matching drivers tuned for different roles are able to develop a wonderfully uniform, tonally consistent sound-field involving seismic low bass and richly coherent mid-range detail, which rises in frequency to meet the illuminating resolution of our fabulous Bronze C-CAM tweeters.

At Sound & Image we are very impressed with the New Monitor Audio Bronze Series. The Bronze series will transform the quality of your home entertainment at a price that won't break the bank. Book a demo at Sound & Image and listen and hear for yourself how beautiful great value can sound.

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




DENON AVR X5200W wins AV Forums Highly Recommended award

Saturday, 30 May 2015 |

The Denon AVR X5200W wins the AV Forums Highly Recommended award! Steve Withers, Assistant Editor AV Forums gives the AVR X5200 the thumbs up:
 
"The X5200 is a breeze to setup and control, with a well designed menu system and plenty of flexibility."
 
"The X5200 is feature-packed and the addition of Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D is just the icing on the cake."
 
"Whether it's surround sound, immersive audio or music, the X5200 does the lot and it does it well."



There are obviously a large number of AV receivers available, even if you're looking for ones that support Dolby Atmos, so it's a competitive market place. However the design, features, flexibility and performance of the Denon AVR-X5200W, make it a strong contender for anyone looking to buy a new receiver. The level of features and overall specifications are second to none and the ease of setup and well designed controls and menu systems make it a very attractive proposition.

The performance was excellent, regardless of which audio format you choose, and the Dolby Atmos decoding was incredibly immersive. If you want support for Auro-3D the choices are more limited, in terms of mass market receivers. Yes you'll have to pay an extra fee for the privilege but it seems a small price for cutting-edge technology and the X5200 doesn't disappoint in terms of the quality of its Auro-3D performance.
- Steve Withers, AV Forums

Our verdict-

“Denon’s AVR-X5200W is triumph of cutting-edge features and multichannel performance. The design, features, flexibility and performance of the Denon AVR-X5200W, make it a very attractive proposition. Supports Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D (with upgrade). Offers some of the most versatile speaker and amp configuration options we’ve seen in a while. And in terms of sonic ability and performance, you won’t be dissappointed.”

Give us a call or visit us at either branch to audition the AVR-X5200W for yourself.

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

Both the AVR-X3100W & AVR-X7200W were awarded an AVForums Highly Recommended badge in these recently published reviews

Thursday, 14 May 2015 |

AVR-X3100W


AV FORUMS SAID:

"The AVR-X3100 is a musical AV receiver and lives up to the type of performance expected from its bigger brothers."

"…It was dynamic and full, never getting brittle even when the scene breaks into a chase and the human choir voices get louder and mixed with action cues."

"Bass handling was tight and assured with excellent cohesion between the LCR and surround speakers in all three systems we tested it with…"

"We were never disappointed with the dynamic performance on offer, bearing in mind the price point the X3100 is positioned at…"

CONCLUSION
"…the X3100 is a seriously impressive mid-range performer that has all the Denon hallmarks for sound quality in stereo and multi-channel use. You then have all the features available on-board such as WiFi, Bluetooth, DLNA, Airplay, Internet Radio and networking. Add in the ease of use approach that Denon have introduced and you really do have a very appealing package indeed. Highly recommended."

Read the full review here: 
https://www.avforums.com/review/denon-avr-x3100w-7-2-av-receiver-review.11211

Sound & Image saysEasy to use, excellent range of features, superb onscreen menu and a top-drawer performer, Denon’s mid-range receiver is deeply impressive.


AVR-X7200W


AV FORUMS SAID:

"When listening to 5.1-channel soundtracks the Denon did a great job of delivering a lively and dynamic sound field. The surrounds were well integrated and had presence, without drawing too much attention to themselves; whilst sounds and effects were seamlessly panned around the room. The front soundstage was open and detailed and dialogue remained clear and focused on the centre channel. The bass was well integrated, supporting the entire mix and providing impact where necessary. As a result the entire sound field remained tonally balanced, helping to envelope the listener with greater precision. When we moved to 7.1-channel soundtracks the rear opened up a bit more, whilst retaining all the strengths we found with 5.1-channel mixes."

 "When it came to Dolby Atmos soundtracks the results were as impressive as we expected, with the additional overhead speakers really opening up the immersive nature of the audio."

"Finally we moved onto our Auro-3D 9.1 setup and whilst the approach may differ from Dolby's Atmos, the results were just as impressive."

Should I buy one?
"…The X7200 also managed to deliver a highly impressive performance with music and the mono-block design certainly paid dividends. So overall the AVR-X7200 is an excellent AV receiver and more than deserving of a Highly Recommended award."

"…In terms of its price tag, the X7200 is one of the more expensive 9-channel AV receivers but there is nothing we have reviewed to date that out-performs the Denon…"

Read the full review here: 
https://www.avforums.com/review/denon-avr-x7200w-review.11351

Sound & Image says – Superb sound quality, easy to set-up, impressive surround performance, excellent features. In our opinion, in terms of features and performance the Denon AVR-X7200W does more than enough to justify its price tag.

Please contact us for pricing and availability, as well as to set up a demonstration at our Menlyn or Sandton branches.

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



Yamaha’s AVENTAGE RX-A1040 - REVIEW

Tuesday, 7 April 2015 |

Yamaha’s 2015 lineup of AVENTAGE AV receivers have been out in the market for a while now. A lot was promised, so now, with quite a few of them in the field, we can report back on their actual abilities. The RX-A1040 promised a handful of great features, with high-resolution audio and video performance at a very good price.

The 7.2-channel AVENTAGE AV receiver’s build quality and finish is superb. The setup is fairly simple, but needs some fine tuning, which is one of our strengths, so we’ll happily assist you.

The menu layout is easy to navigate and very intuitive with the supplied remote and for those of you who prefer using your iOs device to control the amp, the Yamaha App is quite brilliant and so easy to use. Getting the amp onto your network and controlled by your phone/tablet is another of our expertise, so no need to worry about getting that set up while we’re around.
The built in Wi-Fi has proven to be very reliable, and long gone are the days of dropped Wi-Fi signals and tedious setups.

Audio and video quality is top notch, with 4K Ultra HD support, but with almost no content available, we have to be content with FullHD1080P blu-ray content and these are supported and reproduced faithfully. The step up in audio quality over the RX-A840 is quite noticeable, and definitely worth the extra cash.

Power wise, the 120W delivered is enough for a great home theatre experience as long as you have the right speakers for your room size. Again, this is another of our expertise, so chat to us for some good recommendations or bring us your room dimensions to get some expert advice and leave the rest to us. Most of our clients use the 2nd zone speakers often, and they are easily controlled by the remote or the App. This is such a great feature that a lot of our customers love.

There are additional connectivity options that the RX-A1040 offers over the RX-A840; like the 12v triggering – used in more advanced home theatre rooms, where you might want to trigger a power amplifier to switch on or off, or to raise or lower an electric screen. Also, analog video outputs for the second zone might be something to consider if you have an older tv in another room that you want to share the video signal with.

Overall, we’re impressed with the RX-A1040 and particularly like the amp for the ease of use, the ‘custom’ features like the 12v triggers and analog video for the second zone. Lastly, the control App is one of the best we’ve used and have nothing but positive feedback from clients already using it.

It’s highly recommended, so give us a call or visit us at either branch to arrange an audition of the Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A1040 for yourself.

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




Sennheiser URBANITE on-ear Headphones

Thursday, 22 January 2015 |

The URBANITE is completely dedicated to delivering only the most intense sound pleasure that will reflect the skill of Sennheiser's uncompromising aural expertise. It serves up massive bass, while still ensuring excellent clarity through the entire frequency range, making ears feel like it's their first time with a pair of headphones all over again.

The URBANITES aren’t just style-infused, they are – as the name suggests – positively urban. And with that comes a greater bass emphasis that often becomes such an issue in headphones of this type.

Design
There are more angles, and some style elements that aren’t desperate to please absolutely everyone. Things like the rough fabric-topped headband and the squared-off, bulky ends of the band give them a slightly more youthful style.

You can get the Sennheiser URBANITES in black, blue, bronzey brown, purple and red/blue – the loudest of the lot. For a company that has spent most of its 60-plus years making pretty boring black headphones, this pair is quite a looker.

They’re very well-built too. The outer part of the headband is either metal or fabric covered, and while there’s plenty of plastic going on, there’s little of the telltale creaking when you twist them.

It’s clear that the Sennheiser Urbanite care an awful lot about comfort, which is frequently a big problem with mid-firm on-ear headphones. The pads are topped with a velour-like fabric, which is generally a bit softer and comfier than the synthetic leather that’s more commonly used.

It works wonders – these headphones are very comfortable in their class, even for glasses-wearers.



Sound Quality
But what about the thing that really matters, the sound?

Here’s the official word from Sennhesier’s Linda Irvin:

“In terms of the sound, the Urbanite and Urbanite XL deliver a high-quality and substantial bass response to suit the target audience's sound preference but due to Sennheiser’s uncompromising audio expertise we can also ensure excellent clarity throughout the entire frequency range.

“Rather than artificially amplify the bass in the specific frequencies, we use decades of experience and innovation in the true physics of sound technology to naturally amplify the existing bass in order to reproduce ‘true sound’.

“Often loud, thumping volume is sometimes misinterpreted as indicative of best bass but this is definitely not the case and more importantly, not suitable for protecting hearing over the long term.”

Verdict
Good looks, a practical design and bass with balance make the Sennheiser URBANITE headphones a good choice for the more discerning basshead. Give us a call or visit us at either branch to experience the URBANITES for yourself.

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


Yamaha R-N500 - reviewed

Tuesday, 20 January 2015 |

Yamaha has introduced an age-old favourite, the stereo receiver, into their line-up. But, they have included modern features for today’s digital customers. Where many stereo receivers stop short of streaming music options, the R-N500 embraces them with full support for Apple AirPlay and DLNA-compatible devices. Connect this receiver to your home network router and turn your compatible computer, smartphone, and tablet into a wireless music source. They'll make sweet music alongside your CD and Blu-ray players, turntable, and other components thanks to the R-N500's high-power, low-noise construction.

Stream your iTunes® library wirelessly with AirPlay

If you use any Apple portable devices or iTunes on your computer, then you'll love the R-N500's built-in support for Apple AirPlay. It lets you stream music directly from an iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch®, no wires required. Plus, if you have a large iTunes library on a networked computer, all those songs can be sent to the receiver as well. If you're not an Apple user, this receiver's DLNA-compatibility opens up wireless streaming to compatible PCs, music servers, and Android™ devices. AirPlay requires a wireless home network and a wired connection between the receiver and network or a wireless connection using an optional Yamaha Wi-Fi adapter.

Free control app for Apple and Android
A network connection also offers you the opportunity for smartphone control using Yamaha's free Network Player Controller app. Download it to your Apple or Android device to use it as a Wi-Fi® remote. It lets you select streaming music options and even view album artwork with select sources.

Modern sources are welcome, as well as legacy components
In addition to network sources, the R-N500 offers plenty of digital and analog inputs for sources like disc players, as well as a phono input for a turntable. If you're interested in more modern equipment, there's a front-panel USB port, offering direct digital connection for iPods, iPads, and iPhones. It also accepts USB thumb drives — perfect for loading high-resolution FLAC and WAV files to take advantage of this player's 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog conversion.

Product Highlights:

  •         80 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.04% THD
  • ·       4-ohm capability allows use with a wide range of speakers
  • ·       Internet-ready for listening to music from a networked computer
  • ·   Apple AirPlay for streaming music from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or computer running iTunes
  • ·   DLNA 1.5 certified for streaming music with compatible computers, music servers, and portable devices
  • ·       Plays high-resolution digital music files via USB storage device or a networked computer (up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution)
  • ·    Free Yamaha Network Player Controller app lets you use your Apple or Android device as a Wi-Fi remote
  • ·       Front-panel rotary controls for loudness, bass, treble, and balance
  • ·     Pure Direct mode bypasses tone, balance, and loudness controls for cleaner sound
  • ·       40 AM/FM presets
  • ·       Remote control

Verdict
The R-N500 is a bargain for the money. A combination of retro and contemporary features, there's very little missing. For many people the Airplay function will be extremely handy, but if you happen to be into both Spotify and vinyl then this machine is made for you. And if you are into anything other than surround sound, it still is all you'd ever need. Even just as a network player this is outstanding value. Well done Yamaha.

Give us a call or visit us at either branch to experience the Yamaha R-N500 for yourself.

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