Review Types Archives: Audio Hardware

Audio Hardware Review

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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Denon AVR-X2200W Review

Every well known receiver company has an offering around $800. I’ve always found this to be a sweet spot for a receiver–you gain a more refined piece than entry level, but at a point that doesn’t sting as much as flagship models. As we have written before, receivers in this range sound quite similar, so comparisons come down to features and usability. What sets the Denon AVR-X2200W apart and why do I now have one installed in our bedroom system? A robust platform, second to-none guided set-up and some key differentiating features make the AVR-X2200W an easy recommendation. (more…)

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JL Audio f112v2 Review

The JL Audio Fathom f112 has been highly praised in the audio community and the new version 2 arrives with some solid updates. Chief among them is the updated room calibration system. The Fathom subwoofers have a built-in system called D.A.R.O. or Digital Automatic Room Optimization. The previous models employed an analog system known as A.R.O. which is limited to a single frequency. Moving to the digital domain has allowed the JL Audio engineers the ability to equalize with 18 bands. The new version also employs an updated driver and better amp capable of more output with lower distortion.

These are some of the best subwoofers money can buy. They are compact, especially given the amount of bass they output, and beautifully constructed. Bass output is clean with tons of impact. The new D.A.R.O. is easy to run and does an excellent job at smoothing out bass response. If you are looking to build a reference quality home theater, a pair of JL Audio Fathom f112v2’s should be your foundation. (more…)

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