Receivers used to be little more than an amplifier, then they became the central hub for video signals, and now they're getting network functionality too. Onkyo has announced three new AV receiver models, with the two higher-end models featuring an Ethernet port and the ability to add Wi-Fi (via a dongle) for $40. A lot has changed in Onkyo's AV receiver line for 2011, so let's run down the most important features.… Read more
When people ask "Which AV receiver should I buy?" the answer depends on what you're looking for. For some, the Pioneer VSX-1020-K's excellent out-of-the-box iPod connectivity is a must-have feature, but audiophiles couldn't care less about listening to an iPod on their home stereo system; they're better off with the Denon AVR-1911. Our list of best AV receivers is still the easiest way to see how rank different models, but here we've tried to narrow down the choices based on what kind of buyer you are.
LAS VEGAS--Car audio manufacturers often tout some sort of way to upgrade their video receivers to support GPS navigation. However, that has usually meant purchasing an expensive module and paying for a second installation. If you have one of JVC's new KW-AVX series and an iPhone, adding navigation may be as simple as downloading an app.
JVC has announced a partnership with Fullpower, creators of the MotionX-GPS Drive app for the iPhone, to allow its receivers to interface with and directly control the MotionX app. After connecting an iPhone via the KS-U30 USB audio and video cable, you can … Read more
LAS VEGAS--We're used to seeing AV receivers with integrated Blu-ray players in home-theater-in-a-box systems, but they're pretty rare as standalone products.
Samsung's newly announced HW-D7000 combines a full, component-style AV receiver with a Blu-ray player, packed with features on both counts. The receiver has standard midrange specs, such as 120 watts per channel, four HDMI inputs (each with audio return channel and 3D compatibility), and DTS-HD Master Audio/Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Pro Logic IIz sound processing.
The HW-D7000's Blu-ray features are similar to those of other high-end Blu-ray players Samsung is showing at CES 2011, although … Read more
Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) is a standard public key encryption protocol for e-mail. Gmail S/MIME is a free Firefox add-on that lets users send and receive encrypted e-mail via Google Mail from inside Firefox. It secures your e-mail messages so that only recipients with valid digital certificates can open and read them. To use Gmail S/MIME, you must have a digital certificate validating your identity for your accounts. These are available for free online, and they're easy to install, usually via a wizard. Both users need secured e-mail to open each other's messages; … Read more
Matthew Moskovciak recently wrote about AV receivers that play nice with iPods, but what about stereo receivers?
The CR-H500NT is a CD player/stereo (2x40 watts) receiver, and also offers Internet radio, an Ethernet port, wired and wireless LANs, high-quality phono input, subwoofer output, and best of all, a USB iPod Digital Direct Interface.
So instead of using your iPod's good-enough internal digital-to-analog converter, you'll be listening to the CR-H500NT's higher-quality 24-bit/192-kHz converters, which will … Read more
A new wireless keyboard by Logitech reduces power consumption and eliminates the hassle of replacing/recharging batteries--both using next-generation solar technology. Whereas other solar options force you to place the solar panels in direct sunlight to recharge, the Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 features two panels on top of the keys that charge the keyboard using ambient light, so even indoor light can can be used for juice.
Logitech tells us that a full solar charge can power the keyboard for at least three months, and a convenient on/off button conserves energy while it's not being used. Additionally, the … Read more
I get a lot of questions from readers, and by far, this is the one that seems to be on everyone's mind: "I have an old receiver, and I was considering upgrading to a newer model with HDMI switching and Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio processing. Would I notice a dramatic difference in sound quality from what I have now?"
It's a hard question to answer for a lot of reasons, starting with the fact that one man's "dramatic" is another man's "subtle" difference. I think the best new … Read more
NHT (Now Hear This) speakers have been audiophile favorites for going on 23 years. I loved the original SuperZero, SuperTwo, Model 3.3, and Evolution speaker systems; each was in its own way a classic design.
The new SuperZero 2.0 is an update, rather than a replica of, the original SuperZero. The new, shiny black laminated speaker is an understated jewel, but the SuperZero 2.0's price tag is $99 vs. $125 for the original model. NHT now sells speakers through dealers and factory-direct.
I recently heard the SuperZero 2.0, and the sound was vivid, with a … Read more
I've reviewed a bunch of midpriced receivers over the past few months, and came away impressed by the quality of all of them. Pioneer's VSX-1020 was an immediate front-runner, and I love the Marantz NR1601's rich sound. Yamaha's RX-V667 was no slouch, but Sony's STR-DN1010 didn't thrill me as much as the others. The receivers all carry MSRPs between $500 and $600; street prices are $100 or so less.