Sennheiser GSX 1000 Audio Amplifier Review

It's no secret that as far as sound cards go most PC users never venture beyond whatever they got on their motherboard. Integrated sound cards became quite decent in recent years - we started seeing some respectable DACs (such as the ESS Sabre), good headphone amplifiers, and shielded electronics. However, going with a good dedicated sound card still makes a lot of sense, especially for those who want more features, quieter microphone inputs, cleaner outputs, and better amplification. While just about everyone knows about dedicated sound cards made by Creative and ASUS, not many know that the legendary Sennheiser also manufactures two. They're called the GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 PRO and are essentially the same, with the $250 GSX 1200 offering an ability to daisy-chain up to eight of those sound cards for hard-wired, lag-free communication. In this review, we'll check out the slightly less expensive GSX 1000 ($230) that lacks the aforementioned daisy-chaining feature (quite useless to anyone but professional gaming teams), but is otherwise exactly the same.  "


Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 16:32:47 UTC in Sennheiser by Wesslan

Outlaw Audio RR2160 Stereo Receiver Preview

Is “New Retro Receiver” an oxymoron? If so than Outlaw audio has one with their new RR2160 Stereo Receiver. It’s been eleven and a half years since Outlaw Audio released its classic two-channel RR2150 Retro Receiver. The new model preserves the analog signal purity of its predecessor, while adding DLNA and high-resolution capabilities via a multitude of digital audio inputs and a new, more powerful 110-watt stereo amplifier.The Outlaw Audio RR2160 uses a high-end Burr Brown 24-bit, 192 kHz DAC for playing high-resolution music files. DNLA-capable servers can connect over a home network when the RR2160 is wired via Ethernet or a wireless bridge, while front- and rear-panel USB-A jacks support flash drives, and a rear-panel USB-B jack supports music stored on computers.  "


Posted on Tuesday, June 06, 2017 @ 10:51:02 UTC in Outlaw Audio by Wesslan

Amplifier/Receiver: Emotiva XPA Gen3 Power Amplifier

Emotiva XPA Gen3 Power Amplifier

Throughout their history, Emotiva has been widely recognized as the world’s best value in high-end audio. They have earned this reputation by offering amazing products that rival the best money can buy at unbelievably low prices. Their latest release is the XPA Gen3 series amplifiers. This is the next incarnation of their venerable XPA amplification line. All Gen3 amps share the same chassis and high-current switch mode power supply module with multiple power rails for Class H operation. They can then be configured for anywhere between two to seven channels through an individual modular Class A/B power amplifier “blades”. The amplifier modules are rated at up to 300 watts per channel (8 ohms) for the two channel configuration down to 200 w.p.c. on the seven channel set up. And power rating is with all channels driven. Each power amplifier module has its own Class H control circuitry and high current FET rail switches for improved efficiency. This amp delivered the goods power-wise but also impressed with a balanced, detailed sound.  "


Posted on Monday, May 08, 2017 @ 20:25:23 UTC in Emotiva by Wesslan

Audio Research VT80 Tube Power Amplifier

" The VT80 is the polar opposite of those adjectives. No, I’m not going to waste my time trying to change that guy’s opinion; many have the attitude “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up!” So how, exactly DOES the Audio Research VT80 tube amp sound?  "



Posted on Monday, May 08, 2017 @ 20:14:37 UTC in Audio Research by Wesslan

Amplifier/Receiver: Anthem MRX 1120 A/V Receiver

Anthem MRX 1120 A/V Receiver Review

Much like a luxury sports car, the flagship AVR is expected to have every bell and whistle under the hood in order to appeal to the well-heeled crowd that’s willing to drop a few thousand dollars on a piece of electronics. The real bummer is that even if you spend the extra cash on a flagship, there’s no such thing as totally future-proofing your investment, due to the rapidly changing landscape of the home theater business. This has been especially true during the past few years in which 3D has come and (thankfully) gone, and when we’ve witnessed the rise of 4K even before a final industry-wide spec was finalized! At first, 4K was boasting a bump in resolution, which is all fine and dandy. But because most people sit too far from their displays for it to matter much, another hook was required—and it has now arrived in the form of high dynamic range (HDR) plus wide color gamut, delivered by the competing incompatible formats dubbed Dolby Vision and HDR10.  "


Posted on Monday, May 08, 2017 @ 18:08:20 UTC in Anthem by Wesslan

Yamaha Aventage RX-A3060 A/V Receiver Review

Buying an A/V receiver has always been a challenge, even to the well informed. Incoming technologies add still more complexity. Sometimes, however, they also generate new priorities and narrow your choices. Sure, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X require you to add more speakers and make your system more elaborate. But if you want to run those formats in their most effectively enveloping configurations, your shopping expedition for a receiver has suddenly become a lot simpler. Within Yamaha’s Aventage line, the RX-A3060 reviewed here, with its nine onboard amps and 11.2-channel processing, is the only model that can run the new height-enhanced surround formats in 7.2.4 channels; only an outboard stereo amp is required to complete the setup. If your goal is a mere 5.2.4 channels, eliminating the back-surrounds but keeping the four height channels, you have this and one additional choice, the RX-A2060 ($1,700), also with nine amplifiers built in, but without the upgradeability to 7.2.4.  "


Posted on Monday, May 08, 2017 @ 18:00:49 UTC in Yamaha by Wesslan

Amplifier/Receiver: Marantz SR7011 A/V Receiver

Marantz SR7011 A/V Receiver Review

The D+M Group was formed in 2002 with the merger of Denon and Marantz, each a powerhouse in A/V receivers and other audio categories. Through several changes of ownership, the two brands have remained distinct, with different cosmetic looks, slightly different feature sets, and slightly different voicings; each team has its own sound-tuning engineers and expert listeners. But as a reader once pointed out, popping the lid on comparably priced models from the two brands may reveal a close kinship in circuit layouts, suggesting certain economies of scale. And the new top-of-the-line AVR from Marantz further mimics its sister brand by adopting HEOS multiroom connectivity, a feature previously associated with Denon. Our review sample of the receiver arrived with Denon’s HEOS 7 and HEOS 1 speakers, and we put them through their paces together.  "


Posted on Monday, May 08, 2017 @ 17:56:10 UTC in Marantz by Wesslan

Amplifier/Receiver: Onkyo TX-RZ1100 A/V Receiver

Onkyo TX-RZ1100 A/V Receiver Review

Onkyo must not have gotten the memo about Class D–powered audio gear being smaller, svelter, lighter. The company’s new topmodel-but-one TX-RZ1100 is an imposing object 8 inches tall, and while the receiver’s 43-pound weight poses no challenge to the seemingly 100-pounders of yesteryear, it’s not exactly nothing, either. Nevertheless, the newest Onkyo is indeed a Class D design. The marketing materials refer to it as “Onkyo High-Current Digital Amplification,” which raises my hackles slightly since Class D isn’t “digital” in the digital-audio sense, but that is discussed in my recent online article about amplifiers (found at The TX-RZ1100 does have, however, a fully nine-channel layout, rated at 140 watts each with channels driven in pairs. That’s a lot of pretty substantial channels for any receiver, whatever the topology, and it explains both the unit’s overall heft and the weighty-on-its-own, rather un-Class-D-like power transformer I found residing inside.  "


Posted on Monday, May 08, 2017 @ 17:51:15 UTC in Onkyo by Wesslan

Amplifier/Receiver: NAD M32 Direct Digital Amplifier

NAD M32 Direct Digital Amplifier

The NAD M32 Direct Digital Amplifier is a true bridge product. On one hand, it’s a high-end two-channel integrated amplifier that employs some impressive technology from the Masters Series. But when you plug in the optional BluOS module, it becomes a fully-capable streaming player that can pull in content from your network’s library, the Internet, or anything with Bluetooth capability.If you’ve followed NAD’s history even a little, then you know it’s focused on sound quality above all. The Masters Series is the pinnacle of that mantra and as such, employs the most advanced technologies. I covered the M17 & M27 surround separates in 2014 and found they delivered some of the cleanest sound I’d yet heard from a multi-channel setup. By keeping the signal in the digital domain right up to the speaker outputs, the M32 puts out phenomenal sound with no perceptible distortion and a damping factor that simply defies description.  "


Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2017 @ 16:10:26 UTC in NAD by Wesslan

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