Hi-Fi Systems Reviews

Alesis Proactive 5.1

Alesis Proactive 5.1

The Alesis ProActive 5.1 surround system offers more than just a set of monitors. The compact, THX-approved system also adds a variety of inputs and format options that can offer a complete solution for certain monitoring applications.

The entire system weighs in around 50 lbs., with most of that weight concentrated in the subwoofer package. read more…

Dolby DM100. A new tool for tracking problems in the digital age.

Dolby DM100. A new tool for tracking problems in the digital age.

My first professional job in the industry was as a broadcast engineer, in what was, in many ways, a simpler time. The chief engineer whose job I inherited had served as something of a mentor to me. One of his tricks-of-the-trade was a simple audio tracking device — a pair of headphones fitted with alligator clips that allowed one to trace line level audio through a wiring system. The method was fast and provided direct feedback of audio presence and quality.

Then digital audio arrived on the scene. By the time it was common to route digital audio signals around a facility, I was employed in the recording studio world. The headphone method no longer sufficing for testing and tracking signals, a handheld serial digital analyzer became the tool of choice, still driving headphones with a decoded signal, but also providing metering and bitstream analysis — checking flag status and measuring parameters like sample rate. read more…

Sony Oxford Plug-ins.

Sony has entered the world of plug-ins with their new OFX-R3 EQ release, with optional GML 8200 emulation. Currently for Digidesign TDM use only, with an HD version in the beta stage, Sony engineers are working on expanding the availability to other platforms in the near future. read more…

Storage Network Solutions A/V SAN.

With digital audio workstations in every audio environment from the bedroom to the studio to the multi-seat post environment, data storage becomes a bigger issue every day. And while our old friend SCSI has served the DAW community well, it is getting a little long in the tooth. In these days of high-resolution multichannel audio and high-definition picture, today’s digital professional now finds SCSI less reliable and unable to keep up with the ever-increasing data storage and transfer demands. Enter Fibre Channel, the future of data storage, and a company called Studio Network Solutions that specializes in Fibre Channel systems specifically designed for the audio and video community with a product called A/V SAN. read more…

Software Review.

No, not the latest digital audio editor, but looks at new DVD-A, DVD-V, and SACD releases you may want to check out. read more…

SRS Circle Surround VST Pro Plug-in.

Although many audio professionals may not be aware, in the last ten years SRS Labs has become a behind-the-scenes audio technology powerhouse, creating over a dozen audio, voice, and surround sound technologies that have been licensed to large consumer electronic manufacturers like Microsoft, Sony, RCA, Philips, Pioneer, Marantz, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sharp, and Samsung. Indeed, over 350 million products, from televisions, DVD players, mobile phones, computer software, audio/video receivers, and portable audio systems, already feature one or more of SRS’s audio techniques. One of these technologies, Circle Surround, is now being used by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN HD, FOX, FX, TNT, PBS, and over two dozen programs, including the 55th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, X Games, NFL, and NBA telecasts. Broadcasters are fond of Circle Surround (or CS for short) because it enables any program telecast in stereo to deliver up to 6.1 surround sound to its viewers without any change to their distribution or broadcast infrastructure. Now, with the new Circle Surround VST Pro plug-in, it’s now possible for anyone with a VST-enabled DAW to deliver CS-encoded audio content without the need of outboard hardware. read more…

TASCAM MX-2424 recorder/ editor . DVD-A production gets a new tool with the now-96k capable 2424.

TASCAM MX-2424 recorder/ editor . DVD-A production gets a new tool with the now-96k capable 2424.

By now, reviews of the new TASCAM MX-2424 hard disk recorder/editor have, like the unit itself, been on the street for some time. And while the unit has been almost universally acclaimed as a 24-track recorder/editor, I must admit that was not my main interest in it. For those of us living a the world of 96k, there is a constant search for another stable tool at that resolution. Now, with version 2.0 software, the 2424 suddenly becomes 96k capable (although the number of available tracks are halved to 12), which is a function sorely needed for mixing for DVD-A release, and something that I’m always on the lookout for. read more…

Fairlight DREAM console. Fairlight’s new console offers all in one Digital Audio mixing, processing, and routing.

Fairlight DREAM console. Fairlight’s new console offers all in one Digital Audio mixing, processing, and routing.

After attending this year’s AES show, you are likely to have seen more products than you could possibly remember. You’ll sort through your notes, look at the information sheets that you picked up at the show, read through your Surround Professional magazine again, and try to decide which of these products deserve looking into in greater detail. Still, there will probably be one or two products that will make such an impression on you that they stick out in your mind without having to look at your materials. One of these products is likely to be the Fairlight DREAM console, and not just because of its catchy acronym-based name (DREAM actually stands for Digital Recording, Editing, And Mixing), but also for its unique, all-in-one design and reasonable price. read more…

Gold Line 5.1 audio toolkit. Tweak your studio and home theater to surround perfection.

You can’t believe the number of times in the last few years that I’ve been asked for a DVD that had the proper test tones to calibrate either a studio or a home theater. While it’s fairly routine and easy to find some test tones in the studio, the home theater is a different story. Sure you can bring a signal generator with you, but it’s not so easy to patch things into a receiver that’s installed into a piece of furniture. But that was before the Audio Toolkit, a DVD-Video disc that gives you, as the package says, “All the test signals you would ever want for 5.1 channel calibration.” read more…

Aria Design Notes By Tim Forman, Owner Alegria Audio

Why full-range?

I have a soft spot in my heart for that fringe group in audio who swear single full-range drivers are the only way to go. I admit there is a compelling argument for that belief. No crossovers to rob amplifier power, introduce potential signal degradation or cause phasing problems and a true single point source, the holy grail of audio reproduction. These gains, they argue, far outweigh the problems of beaming and excursion created distortion. Personally, I believe there are many roads to audio bliss and individually we all have our preferences, which is why I added Aria to my product line. read more…

Alegria Audio Arias

Specifications:

  • Bipole Design
  • No crossover or filters
  • 4 Ohm minimum impedence
  • 50hz-20khz (40hz in room bass
  • Sensitivity: 88db @ 1w Drivers: Two 4.5” paper w/ rubber surrounds
  • XBL2 Motor Design
  • 40”H x 7.5”W X 9.5”D
  • Price $850pr.

Sometimes it seems like there is nothing new under the sun in speaker design. Prowling the Internet for bargains worthy of the pages of Affordable$$Audio, it seems like everyone and his 2nd cousin is trying to tap the “entry-level” market with a pair of overachieving bookshelf speakers. Sure, many of these offerings sound fantastic, but I’ve got better things to do with my precious listening time than hunt the world for the best budget bookshelf. read more…

BADA HD-22 CD Player

BADA HD-22 CD Player

Specifications:

  • Philips Laserhead and Transport BurrBrown PCM1732 HDCD D/A Chipset Uses a single 6N3 tube
  • 96KHz/24Bit digital output
  • HDCD Filter optimized for 44.1KHz To 96KHz
  • Tube and solid state output
  • Two transformers for digital and analog
  • High Quality Op Amplifier – BB OPA260
  • Output Power: <=2.2V
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz(±0.5dB) S/N Ratio: >=110dB
  • THD: <=0.005% Dynamic Range: 110dB Power Input: AC 120v
  • Power Consumption: <=70W
  • Dimension (LxHxD): 43.0 x 11.0 x 37.0 cm
  • Net Weight: 8.0kg (approx. 18 lbs.)

No, this article isn’t about Tony Soprano’s strip club, nor will you get whacked if you read this. And it’s definitely not an Italian-American euphemism designed to attract your attention (OK, well maybe it is). read more…

Studer Vista 8 Digital Audio Console. Vistonics control, VSP processing, and a new center section paradigm are among the features that make the Vista 8 unique.

Studer Vista 8 Digital Audio Console. Vistonics control, VSP processing, and a new center section paradigm are among the features that make the Vista 8 unique.

Several years ago at NAB 2002 in Las Vegas, Studer unveiled its Vista 7 digital audio mixing console – a desk that sought to improve speed and ease of operation through the introduction of a radical new operator interface, which the Swiss manufacturer named Vistonics. Designed for surround production and postproduction for TV, film, and music applications, the Vista 7 was subsequently joined by the Vista 6, which was designed for live broadcast applications.

Last summer, Studer introduced Vista 8, which combines many of the features of its predecessors, including both static and dynamic automation, and is optimized for live production in broadcast or performance applications. read more…

Onix SP3 Integrated Tube Amplifier

Onix SP3 Integrated Tube Amplifier

If you think audiophiles are boring just yell out “tubes are dead” and watch the energy bow the windows. It’s one of the most passionate discussions outside of speaker wires in the stereo world. I first became a believer in tube sound in 1987 when I picked up a used Conrad Johnson PV-7 preamp. To this day I kick myself every time I think that I was ignorant enough to trade it in. During this past summer my yearning for a tubular reunion came to a head. Knowing that integrated tube amplifiers were the easiest solution and fit in well with this e-zine’s mantra of affordability, I went onto audiokarma.org and began checking into the various possibilities. After a few days of reading, I contacted the good people at AV123 and inquired as to reviewing the Onix SP3. Sean was more than happy to assist, and a week later a rather heavy 60pound package arrived.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20KHz
  • Class AB
  • Power Rating: 38W x 2
  • Manually adjustable bias
  • Input Impedance: 250K Ohms Output Impedance: 4 or 8 Ohms Input Sensitivity: 380 mV
  • S/N Ratio: >90dB / T.H.D – 1% (standard tube spec) Dimensions (WxHxD): 11.9″ x 8.1″ x 13.25″
  • Weight: 56 lbs. Tube Complement:
  • 4 X 5881
  • X 12AX7
  • 2 X 6922
  • 2 X 12AU7
  • Warranty: 3 years parts and labor
  • Price: $999

read more…

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