Onkyo HT-R2295 Delivers More Bang For The Buck

The new mid priced 7.1 channel Onkyo HT-R2295 outputs a respectable 130W per channel of power to all its 7 channels making it ideal for those who have large speakers. Priced at only $499, it is one of the highest powered speakers at this price range. It is also designed to be smart device friendly as it has a front-panel USB for lossless and compressed audio from your iPod, iPhone, or a flash drive.

Onkyo HTR-2295

Onkyo HT-R2295

With a full 7.1 setup, the soundstage is wide and well balanced between dialog and ambient surround that is well suited for movie buffs and serious music lovers. Room optimization is achieved by the ubiquitous Audyssey 2EQ acoustic correction. The are only 4 HDMI inputs so you have to be prepared to limit your source devices to just four.

If you want even more convenience in accessing music from your smartphone you can also get the optional UBT-1 adapter to enable Bluetooth wireless audio streaming. This is the latest version with a aptX® codec that delivers near CD-quality sound.

The Onkyo HT-R2295 is simple to use and packs a solid punch of amplifier power that will amply fill a medium sized room for an involving surround-sound experience.

Quick Look : All New Marantz M-CR610 Wireless Network CD Receiver

Marantz has released a new receiver – the Marantz M-CR610 Wireless Network CD Receiver – perfect for those who want a good source for audio and yet cannot fit a full-fledged AV receiver into a space. This receiver come with a CD player and is also an AV receiver and networking streaming media player all in one.

There is plenty to like about this new Marantz. It streams music from the Internet, streams DLNA content from your networked PCs, plays CDs, features AirPlay support and even comes with a front USB port.

This machine might be small but it is by no means reference quality. For a dorm or office, this Marantz M-CR610 Wireless Network CD Receiver will give you the sound of a real stereo system with its small footprint.

Yamaha To Support Spotify Connect

Yamaha recently announced that it will support Spotify Connect, a home audio experience giving you control of your music across your mobile devices with millions of songs built in. Music streaming services has changed the way consumers access music. The integration of Spotify Connect within Yamaha products will provide customers with access to the vast music archive that Spotify has to offer.

Yamaha network AV receiver users that have a Spotify Premium account can now looking forward to enjoying instant access to millions of songs on their home entertainment system. Spotify Connect will be available on all 2013 released Yamaha Network AV receivers via a firmware update.

To use Spotify Connect, customers are required to download the Spotify app for a smartphone, tablet or laptop and have an active Spotify Premium account. If you own a compatible Yamaha network AV receiver and would like to try a Spotify Premium account, there is a free 30-day trial available. For more details, visit spotify.com/yamaha.

Spotify Connect compatible models:
AVENTAGE Preamplifier: CX-A5000
AVENTAGE series AV receivers: RX-A3030, RX-A2030, RX-A1030, RX-A830, RX-A730
RX-V series AV receivers: RX-V775WA, RX-V675, RX-V575, RX-V475
RX-S series slim AV receivers: RX-S600
HTR series AV receivers: HTR-4066
TSR series AV receivers: TSR-6750WA

Arcam FMJ AVR750 AV Receiver Worth The 4-Year Wait

Arcam FMJ AVR750

Arcam FMJ AVR750

It’s been 4 years since Arcam last released an AV receiver and its new flagship AV receiver, the Arcam FMJ AVR750 AV Receiver is said to not only be the finest home cinema AV receiver Arcam has ever made, but also the best sounding stereo amplifier too.

This newcomer boasts clean lines and a dark-grey bodywork that reflect the familiar FMJ aesthetics. Its neatly laid-out rear panel holds seven HDMI inputs and two outputs that are ARC compatible, component inputs, four legacy phono AV inputs and a Zone 2 analogue output. Digital audio options include two optical and four coaxial. For even more external power, you will also find a 7.1 bank of pre-amp outputs.

This 7-channel design AV receiver uses multi-voltage Class G amplification and can be configured as a full 7.1 system, or as 5.1 with two channels serving a second zone.

The Arcam AVR750 sounds delicious to the ears already and it is easily the most accomplished Arcam AV receiver to date. Check back for the full Arcam FMJ AVR750 AV receiver review.

Anthem Announces Brand New Anthem MRX 710 and 510 AV Receivers

Anthem MRX 710

Anthem MRX 710

Look out for Anthem‘s all new MRX 710 and 510 AV receivers! Anthem announced just yesterday, the release of two receivers – the Anthem MRX 710 and 510.

These receivers sit at the top of Anthem’s range of receivers and these models look sleeker and are more advanced and hardworking than their predecessors.

Both these receivers offer 7 channels of audio output with 120 watts per channel for the MRX 710, and 100 watts per channel for the MRX 510. They also comes with an advanced version of Anthem’s proprietary room correction DSP system, the ARC 1M. Other upgrades include 7 HDMI inputs, one with Auto Return Channel (ARC), 2 HDMI outs, 4K video upscaling and pass through, drivers for IP control of select systems, iOS and Android controller apps, a host of available configurations, bi-amping of the L/R channels, and more.

Is 3D History?

3D (or high definition 3D TV) launched with great fanfare at the 2010 CES in Las Vegas. It seems that now, just 3 years on, 3D is no longer the buzzword. Less films are now offered in 3D and theaters are not keen on putting out more screenings as viewership is dwindling due in part to higher ticket prices for 3D screenings.

watching3d

Quite a number of movie fans still prefer films in 2D and some are simply not keen on donning cumbersome 3D glasses for hours. These factors coupled with the fact that 3D content is not as readily available makes any upgrading to 3D less of an urgency.

With the advent of higher resolution Ultra HDTVs this year, 3D may even go the way of the dinosaur. Manufacturers have a new battle to fight so the talk about 3D being the new revolution of TV is simply not going to happen any time soon or if ever.

HDMI 2.0 Specifications Finalized

HDMI specifications haven’t changed for some time, which is a good thing. Every time a change in technology or some new technical specification come about there is usually a flurry of activity by manufacturers to gain market share by touting the latest and the bestest.

So after ten confusing HDMI specification updates, the last of which was ver 1.4, it is good news indeed to learn that HDMI 2.0 does not require any cable change. The current high speed HDMI cables (or Cat 2) will be able to carry all the increased signal and bandwidth upgrades of HDMI 2.0. Cable manufacturers are now required to label HDMI cables according to cable type, i.e. Standard, High Speed, or High Speed with Ethernet.

Types of HDMI cables

Types of HDMI cables

According to the recent press release by the HDMI forum, ver 2.0 is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specification. It significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds major enhancements for higher video and audio resolution bandwidth.

Here is a summary of the HDMI 2.0 specs and features:

  • Increased bandwidth up to 18Gbps
  • Resolutions up to 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
  • Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
  • Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
  • Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
  • Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (Up to 4)
  • Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
  • Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
  • CEC extensions provide more expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point

It is good timing that HDMI 2.0 will arrive just in time as 4K Ultra HD TV hits the stores.

Using Your AV Receiver As a Music Streamer

The delivery of digital music is slowly transforming from disc based to being file based. Many consumers are digitizing their CD collection and storing them as digital files and playing them back through a music streamer like the Squeezebox Touch. The range of music that are available for purchase as a download online are increasing by the day with online sources like HDtracks, iTunes and most recently SuperHiRez by Acoustic Sounds.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced last week that it will join manufacturers, retailers, music labels and artists in offering expanded support for and promotion of high-resolution audio (HRA). CEA is exploring various initiatives and plans to leverage opportunities to promote HRA at the 2014 International CES. With these latest developments, we will see a gradual demise of CD and standard resolution audio. Streaming music will be a whole new industry and soon overtake physical CDs in popularity.

Most receivers purchased in the last 2 years already support media streaming. Not only are compressed music files supported such as MP3, WMA, and AAC but also high resolution files such as FLAC, WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless and even DSD, Sony’s leading format which have become an underground sensation in the computer audio community.

Depending on the receiver model, all you need is a PC running Windows with Windows Media Player installed or DLNA-compatible media servers. For quick access you can store music files on a USB thumb drive and play back from there. You can be sure as digital music streaming becomes more popular, manufacturers will see the opportunity to incorporate more such functions into the modern AV receiver.

Must Have Features For Your Next A/V Receiver

Most receivers nowadays come with quite a complete set of features such as Full HD, 3D support, all the DTS sound formats, Ethernet port, built-in Wi-Fi, room correction software, multi zone playback and many more.

But as new display technology, smart devices and new media sources becoming more ubiquitous it would certainly help if you have a receiver that can conveniently communicate and access these devices and new media sources.

If you are planning to upgrade your aging receiver, here are some key features to look out for to future proof your purchase:

  1. 4K Pass-through & Up-Scaling – As all videophiles will agree, having the highest resolution picture will greatly enhance the viewing experience and Ultra HD is the next step forward. Ultra HD 4K displays are coming down in price and you may own one in future, so having a receiver with 4K support will not cause restrictions your upgrade path.
  2. Bluetooth – If you have Android and non- iOS devices, having Bluetooth support a good option. It allows you to easily and wirelessly connect any smart to the receiver for playing stored or streamed music. It may not sound as good as AirPlay but with the new Bluetooth apt-X codec high quality stereo audio transfer is now possible.
  3. AirPlay – If you are plugged in to the Apple environment and want to play music from your iOS devices over the home theater sound system then AirPlay is  a must have.
  4. MHL (mobile high-definition link) allows an HDMI-quality connection between a receiver and a compatible smart phone.  The standard supports video of 1080p/60 and audio in 7.1 format. It is useful for connecting your smartphone and tablets to watch streamed video. It is also used to connect the Roku Stick , the thumb drive-sized device that serves as a full-fledged Roku media player.
  5. High Resolution DAC – If you have a lot of music in high-res, or do intend to digitize your music collection in higher sampling rates, higher end receivers come with audiophile-quality DACs and supports most audio formats like WAV, AIFF and FLAC. Look for DACs capable of playing 24/96kHz at the minimum. 24/192Khz music are already widely available from many download sources.
  6. Ethernet Switch – A wired network environment is always more stable than Wi-Fi. And it is better for audio quality too. Nowadays many sources are dependent on a broadband network but the router usually do not have enough ports to support all the playback and display devices. Having an Ethernet switch in the receiver will alleviate this problem so that your other Internet-dependent components (Blu-ray player, Media Streamer, Roku, game console, Apple TV, etc) can be on the network. The latest Sony ES line like the STR-DA5800ES has a 4-Port Audio grade Ethernet Switch.
  7. App Control  is useful as a second remote. Most major brands already have a free Remote App.

Pioneer Releases All New Pioneer SC-1223-K

The future of TVs and home theater systems looks rather exciting, with the onslaught of 4K Ultra HD displays and the expected price drop in the coming years. Consumers are already looking at good home theater receivers to have themselves a high-class audio visual experience in the comforts of their own home. While there are plenty of AV receivers to choose from in the market, the Pioneer SC-1223-K is a great pick for an AV receiver with the latest features.

The SC-1223-K is a 7.2 Channel Network Ready Receiver that features Pioneer’s proprietary Class D3 Amplification, offering support for the newest high-resolution audio formats such as Dolby Pro Logic IIz, TrueHD and DTS Master Audio. It also features Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration technology, making the task of calibrating your speakers a most enjoyable experience. Also, with Full 4K Ultra HD support, this receiver is ready to accept any home theater components that can send 4K content to those large 4K displays. Folks looking for an AV receiver with upscaling support will also be pleased.

Read the full Pioneer SC-1223-K review now to find out more!