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  1. How to choose the right system

    9/03/2017 10:00 AM


    How to build the perfect hi-fi system

    "It’s no good having a band with the 10 best guitarists if I don’t have a pianist,” said former Real Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini after losing his job.

    It’s an elegant metaphor, whether it’s describing a musical ensemble, a football team or a hi-fi system. In essence, it’s about balance as much as individual quality. The whole should amount to more than, or at the very least equal, the sum of its parts.

    But balance is one of those concepts that can be hard to define, let alone to find. While a lot of it boils down to trial and error, there are certain guidelines that will aid and, hopefully, ease your path to sonic enlightenment.

    Set a budget


    The first two questions you need to ask yourself are: what will you be using your system for, and how much are you willing to spend?

    The latter relates to the former. It’d perhaps be easiest to begin at the start of the chain – what will you be using as your source?

    Each decision will have a knock-on effect: if you play all your music from your smartphone or tablet, but want a traditional hi-fi system, you’ll likely want something with Bluetooth built in. If you play mostly vinyl, you’ll need to think about whether you want a turntable with a phono stage or will buy the latter separately for more versatility when upgrading in the future. If this isn’t going to be your main hi-fi system, can you do without another CD player and invest more heavily elsewhere?

    Make a list

    It’s probably worth making a tick-list of the features you want, such as a headphone output or Bluetooth, and then prioritising the things you need most and those you can do without to make your money stretch further.

    Having a realistic budget from the off will also help you spread your money more evenly. It should stop you buying your dream amplifier with the lion’s share, only to match it with a budget turntable the flaws of which it’ll emphasise, exacerbated by playing through a pair of speakers you found by your neighbour’s bin.

    There’s more to careful pairing and system-building than simply buying components that retail at a similar price, of course, but budgeting properly for each part of the chain ought to set you on the correct path.

    Think ahead

    You might also have space restrictions. If you haven’t room for multiple components, you’ll need to consider if you can pool certain functions, such as a turntable with built-in phono stage, a ready-made system with amplifier and CD player combined, or active speakers, to reduce the number of boxes to accommodate.

    This needn’t affect the quality of your system, and it isn’t a decision that needs be made solely on space, but think carefully about which parts you’re most likely to upgrade when electing those you can combine.

    Choose the right speakers

    Speakers react differently depending on their position in a room and how close they are to each other and to any walls, so the best-sounding pair you can afford when listening at a dealership might not be the best-sounding pair when you get them home. We always recommend measuring the dimensions of your room when it comes to choosing the right speakers.

    Don’t be blasé when it comes to positioning, either; they’re likely to come with a manual with the manufacturer’s suggestions for placement, but there’s nothing like experimenting with a keen ear.

    Consider all options

    Of course, you may not be building your system from scratch. Perhaps you already have one or more components and now you’re looking to find the final pieces of the jigsaw.

    We often make the point that you shouldn’t dismiss a product simply on its star rating in our magazine, but this is a particularly pertinent point if you’re looking to add to something you already own. Certain products may not be flawless all-rounders, but they could well have the blend of talents you’re looking for.

    So often in life it’s the little things that can make the biggest impression, and that’s the case with system building.

    Budget for any extras

    Set aside funds for quality cables, stands and equipment supports – you simply won’t get your money’s-worth if you don't. And the golden rule, as always, is: never buy anything without having heard it first.

    A good support lets your kit perform optimally. Turntables in particular are sensitive and respond well to a rigid, low-resonance platform, so steer clear of those wobbly floorboards or uneven bits of carpet.

    And if you can use a dedicated mains outlet, that would be ideal – and avoid placing mains cables and signal cables too close to each other, as performance can suffer.

    System suggestions

    So there you have it. A few tips and tricks to achieving the system of your dreams. To help you on your way and hopefully provide a few sparks of inspiration we've already created a few systems that may (or may not) tickle your fancy.

    We've covered various bases, using different sources and system components, all of which we know work together. Have a look and see what you think - we'll be adding more systems to this list as and when we've tested them

     

    Article taken from Whathifi.com

    Posted By Atish Moin
  2. I remember the good old days when projectors would really excite me.  Nowadays I feel that a lot of manufacturers have really let their game down.  I also remember the Benq PE8720, what a machine!  Amazing physical presence, big bold chassis backed up by a bigger and bolder picture.  That was really the last time I remember being really impressed by a DLP projector.

    Not too long ago I received a call from Andrew Lambkin @ Benq Australia telling me that had a new model ready for release and to be tested.  He brought the W11000 over to our Auburn store.  I was won over as soon as it was taken out of the box.  This was a formidable piece of equipment, almost intimidating.   The remote control and the control panel are amazingly solid.  We powered it on and used the Xbox One with 4k UHD version of "The Revenant" movie.  1 word - WOW!  I felt like I was taken back to the days of the Benq PE8720.  Back to the days where build quality took precedence over trying please the market by reducing quality so one could compete with substandard brands and their pricing.  Really, I cannot describe the picture in this blog, it wasn't a viewing it was an experience.  Everything was film-like, skin tones, black levels, colour saturation.  Andrew and I were amazed.  I put 4 on order almost immediately.

    I am glad Andrew introduced this amazing machine to us, he looked very proud as he introduced the flagship W11000 4K UHD THX reference-grade home theatre projector to us.  It houses a big zoom and amazing horizontal and vertical lens shift capabilities, making it extremely flexible to fit into almost any environment.  Additionally, the W11000 is painstakingly engineered, built, and individually calibrated to deliver precise Rec. 709 colour and performance for an authentic movie-going experience the way filmmakers intended.  The best part is yet to come, this machine is the only 4k DLP projector on the market with THX 4k display certification.

    Being in the industry one usually gets desensitised or even bored sometimes of new products or announcements.  The W11000 and the W8000 from Benq are really impressive, really really impressive.  It has renewed my vigour for projectors.

     

    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-1
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-2
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-3
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-4
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-5
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-6
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-7
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-8
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-9
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-10
    BenQ W11000 4K THX Digital Home Theatre Projector-11

    Posted By Atish Moin
  3. New warehouse

    23/12/2016 12:59 PM

    After years of our warehouse being at Meadowbank, we have moved our warehouse to Silverwater.   As is the case with almost all of Sydney, the Meadowbank warehouse is being knocked down in order to make way for apartments.  The great thing about Silverwater is that it is very close to our retail showroom.  This should help us become a lot more efficient in our services.  We are really hoping to have an amazing 2017 online as well as in store.  

    Posted By Atish Moin
  4. Posted By Bearded Blogger
  5. Here are 10 things to consider when you begin the search for the right AVR to suit your needs.

    1. Inputs and Outputs

    – As of 2016, most mainstream AVRs sport HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection. This allows them to pass 4K/UHD and 3D content from the source device through the AVR to the display.

    – To pass HDR10 content from Ultra HD Blu-ray and online providers with a compatible Roku or Chromecast streamer, you need an AVR that supports HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2.

    – Try to determine if the HDMI ports operate at 10.2 or 18 Gbps; they should operate at 18 Gbps if possible.

    – An HDMI input on the front panel is a plus if you plan to connect and disconnect a source on a regular basis—for example, a gaming console or camcorder.

    – Some AVRs offer more than one HDMI output. With two HDMI outputs, you can feed a projector for nighttime viewing and a flat-panel TV in the same room for daytime viewing. Alternatively, you can send the second HDMI output to a TV in another room, though this will probably require a fiber-optic or coax HDMI cable for such a long run.

    – Some AVRs offer an asynchronous USB DAC, which lets you send digital-audio bitstreams from high-res audio source devices. This is important for audiophiles.

    – If you have source devices that rely on optical or coaxial digital connections, make sure the AVR you choose has enough of these inputs to suit your needs.

    2. Power Rating

    – Power ratings for AVRs typically come with many caveats; for example, power ratings typically refer to only one or two channels being powered.

    – The more channels you need to power at once, the lower the output of each channel. But it’s extremely rare for a movie or music to demand equal power from all channels simultaneously, so this is less of an issue than it might seem.

    – There’s not a lot of difference between 100 watts and 120 watts, or 80 watts and 110 watts. All else being equal, small increases in power ratings do not represent much of an upgrade.

    – Most AVR power ratings are specified with a speaker impedance of 8 ohms, which is very common among consumer speakers. If your speakers have a lower nominal impedance, they will draw more power from the amplifiers; be sure the AVRs you are considering can safely drive speakers with less than 8-ohm impedance.

    – Many AVRs advertise power ratings into speaker impedances of 6 or even 4 ohms with very high THD (total harmonic distortion) figures; with THD, the lower, the better.

    – The sensitivity of your speakers will have a greater impact on how loud your system can play than the power rating of an AVR.

    – The power rating of an AVR does not need to match the power-handling spec of your speakers, but they should be in roughly the same ballpark. Under most conditions, the AVR is supplying no more than one or two watts to the speakers.

    – For a hybrid high-performance solution, consider an AVR with preamp outs connected to a dedicated amplifier for the three front channels, which typically consume the most power. With some nine-channel AVRs, adding a 2-channel amp lets you take advantage of 11-channel processing.

    3. Immersive Audio

    – Support for immersive audio—that is, sound from speakers placed around and above the listening position—has become nearly ubiquitous in modern AVRs.

    – You can get Dolby Atmos and DTS:X capability in very affordable AVRs.

    – Auro 3D is a paid add-on for upper-tier AVRs from some brands. However, there isn’t much content encoded in Auro 3D yet.

    – Seriously consider a 9-channel AVR that gives you 5.1.4 channels (five main channels, one subwoofer channel, four overhead or height channels) if you want the full immersive effect. 5.1.2 is good, but 5.1.4 (and 7.1.4) systems can convey movement and ambience better.

    4. Number of Amplifier Channels

    – As a general rule, more amplifier channels will cost you more money. Therefore, it is important to decide how many speakers you need to power ahead of time.

    – 5-channel AVRs are the most basic and typically the most affordable.

    – 7-channel AVRs can handle Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in a 5.1.2 speaker configuration as well as traditional 7.1 speaker systems.

    – 9-channel AVRs can handle 5.1.4 Atmos and DTS:X, which offers a superior immersive experience to systems with only two elevation channels.

    – Some 9-channel AVRs also offer 11-channel processing, but you’ll need an external 2-channel amp to take advantage of that.

    – This year there are several 11-channel AVRs to choose from; these models can handle 7.1.4 Atmos/DTS:X or amplify multiple zones.

    5. Room Correction

    – Room correction—compensating for acoustical irregularities in a given room—is one of the most important features to consider when deciding between different brands of AVRs.

    – Some companies, such as Yamaha, Pioneer, and Onkyo, use their own proprietary systems, while others, like Denon and Marantz, license sophisticated third-party solutions such as Audyssey and Dirac Live.

    – There is a lot of variation in terms of capability between different room-correction systems.

    – Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Dirac Live both have a reputation for being very effective.

    – Some speaker and room combinations benefit from room correction more than others.

    6. Networking

    – Whether you need it or not, a 2016-model AVR is likely to have some sort of network connectivity.

    – An Ethernet port is useful if you plan to locate the AVR far from a wireless router or use IP control in conjunction with a home-automation system. Also, a wired Ethernet connection assures the best possible performance for audio streamed from other devices on the network.

    – Many AVRs use Wi-Fi to offer compatibility with Apple AirPlay, DTS Play-Fi, and other wireless AV systems.

    – Another useful networking feature is playback from a DLNA server connected to your home network.

    7. Wireless and Multi-Room Audio Features

    – For many years, some AVRs have offered the ability to send audio and video to two or more separate rooms or “zones” in a home using dedicated hard-wired connections such as interconnect and speaker cables as well as analog video and even HDMI.

    – These days, many AVRs come with some sort of networked-audio capabilities. Some brands only offer their own proprietary system such as Denon HEOS or Yamaha MusicCast, which work only with other compatible products from the same manufacturer. Other brands, like Pioneer and Onkyo, have adopted third-party platforms such as Google Cast and DTS Play-Fi.

    – If you like to mix and match brands, the DTS Play-Fi ecosystem includes products from the most manufacturers.

    – If you use Bluetooth, look for aptX technology, which ensures high-quality audio transmission.

    – Some AVRs offer the option of streaming audio from cloud-based services.

    8. Analog Inputs and 2-Channel Audio

    – Unless you have a legacy video source, such as a LaserDisc player or VCR, analog video inputs, such as component or composite video, are completely unnecessary.

    – If you have a collection of analog-audio sources, make sure there are enough analog-audio inputs to accommodate them on the AVRs you are considering.

    – If you plan on listening to vinyl records, look for an AVR that offers a phono input; not all of them do.

    9. Remote and App-Based Control

    – Since AVRs are complex devices, they often come with remote controls that are stuffed with buttons.

    – Many AVRs have included an RS-232 serial port for connection to home-automation systems from companies like Crestron, but this is being supplanted by IP control over your home’s network.

    – Control apps for phones and tablets are available from many AVR makers, but their functionality varies widely. If like to control things with a mobile device, you might want to consider how capable the app is.

    – Look for an IR input if you plan to use a standard remote and house the AVR in a cabinet or closet.

    10. Budget and Recommendations

    – The key to shopping for an AVR is to set your budget first, determine how many speakers you plan to power, factor in what sources you intend to connect, and consider the kind of content you intend to consume—some folks are music-first and others use AVRs primarily for home cinema.

    Article originally written by 

    by  on October 24, 2016 on AVSForum

    Posted By Atish Moin
 

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