Review Types Archives: Audio Hardware

Audio Hardware Review

Arcam AVR850 Receiver Review

The Arcam AVR850 is a refined and high performing AV Receiver – and at $6000, among the most costly available for purchase today. What does one get for that $6000? Easily the best amplifier performance I’ve ever experienced in a dedicated AV receiver, paired with cutting edge Dirac Live room correction. Together, these two attributes mean the AV850 performance rivals many separate processor/amp combinations, with the convenience and footprint of an “all-in-one” AV receiver. While lacking some bells and whistles present in more mainstream receivers, the AVR850 represents an exciting alternative to separates for someone who values sound quality and top notch room correction, with potentially little-to-no compromise in performance. (more…)

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SVS PB16-Ultra Subwoofer Review

Big sub, big sound. Sure the PB16-Ultra is a beast, but given today’s technology, bringing low-end performance sans distortion requires of size and weight. SVS has a pair of subwoofers featuring their new 16” driver, the SB16-Ultra, previously reviewed by us and the PB16-Ultra. The SB is a sealed box design, while the PB is a ported box.

If you are looking to reproduce the lowest subsonic octaves, then the PB16-Ultra is your choice. (more…)

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Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver Review

Unlike most companies, Anthem doesn’t do a yearly refresh of their receivers. They don’t try to stick in every single new feature that comes out each year, most of which people don’t use. Instead they focus on upgrading when necessary. The updated MRX x20 line of receivers from 2016 is the third release in the MRX line and adds essential features including HDMI 2.0a, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and DTS Play-Fi. Most importantly they’ve kept Anthem Room Correction in place and added support for 11 channels of audio. The Anthem MRX 1120 is a powerful, great sounding receiver that serves as the heart of a high-end home theater. (more…)

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SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer Review

While many AV components, like TVs and Blu-ray players, keep getting smaller, subwoofers keep getting bigger. A decade ago a 12” subwoofer was considered large but in the world of 15” and even dual 18” drivers those now seem quaint in comparison. In 2016 SVS joined the world of larger subwoofers by introducing models with a 16” driver. The SVS SB16-Ultra is a sealed 16” subwoofer that includes room correction features and Bluetooth support. With a powerful 1500 watt amplifier and a beautiful piano black finish, the SB16-Ultra delivers more than enough deep, powerful, tight bass for all but the largest rooms. (more…)

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KEF Custom Install THX Speaker Review

One of the most exciting things about buying a house this past year was the opportunity it presented me for my home theater. After years of having rooms that I had to leave undamaged in rental houses, I could do anything I wanted. One of the first things I did was to decide to go with in-wall speakers to open up more space in the room. Because of my love of their UniQ sound I went with the KEF THX in-wall system and over the past few months it has proven to be fantastic. The KEF system is dynamic and detailed, offering huge performance while becoming almost invisible in the room. (more…)

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Denon AVR-X6300H Review

At RHT we hold Denon receivers in high regards. Across the line, we find Denon units to be consistent performers who effectively embrace leading edge features. Coupled with best-in-class setup assistant software, Denon units are easy to recommend. The AVR-X6300H is Denon’s newest high-end receiver offering. At $2200, it sits just below the flagship AVR-X7200W and as expected brings a wealth of features to the table, which this year includes direct integration of HEOS – Denon’s music streaming platform – and 11 amplified channels. The X6300H sounds terrific and if you are in need of 11 amplified channels or added power over the X4300H, it is easy to recommend. We like the direct integration of HEOS into the X6300H, which makes adding the music streaming platform easier than previous iterations. The HEOS system overall continues to show promise – though it is still a step or two behind competitors like Sonos with regards to ease of use and stability. (more…)

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KEF Reference Review

My fellow RHT writers have been quite jealous of me over the last few weeks. The reason is that I had the opportunity to review a set of speakers from the KEF Reference series: the Reference 1 bookshelves and Reference 2C center channel. Editor’s Note: Yes, I’m jealous. My system is currently boxed up to move.

Quite simply, the Reference 1’s and 2C are the best speakers I’ve had the pleasure of having in my home. And while, at nearly $15,000 for the set-up that I currently have, they are also the costliest, but offer noticeable improvements over speakers I’ve had experience with at lower price brackets. These are truly refined speakers from every way in which you can approach them – be it build quality, aesthetics or sound. If you are looking for a truly high-end bookshelf speaker then the KEF’s absolutely deserve a look. (more…)

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Raumfeld Wireless Speakers Review

Raumfeld is a recent entrant into the whole home audio arena. They’ve entered into it with a wide array of speakers, from the small models you’d expect on a countertop to a pair of floorstanders more common in a dedicated stereo system. With a nice finish and the best sound of any wireless speakers I’ve heard, Raumfeld impresses both the eyes and the ears. Some small drawbacks make them imperfect for everyone, but the dedicated music lover will come away impressed.

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ELAC B4 Speaker Review

When we looked at the ELAC B6, it offered better performance for its price than any other bookshelf speaker we had heard. They do well with all genres of music, from classic rock to alternative, classical to pop. The ELAC B4 is the newest member of the Debut line, only with a 4” woofer instead of the 6.5” woofer of the B6. Otherwise the speakers seem almost identical: same binding posts, same vinyl wrap, same grill only smaller. The B4 also performs very well, only it isn’t a speaker I’d likely recommend to most people except in specific cases. (more…)

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Marantz AV7702mkII Processor Review

It’s hard to find the point of diminishing returns correctly. If you aim for too low of a price point on a product, you might leave off a feature that is too important to be without. Of course if you can’t decide when to stop adding features, the price escalates out of control. Knowing what is essential and what to cut is how you wind up with a product that works great for most people. The Marantz AV7702mkII preamp manages to find that sweet spot. It has every feature most people will need, but sacrifices the ones you don’t want. (more…)

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