Pixll and the New Denon X Series Amps
Denon has launched the X Series, the company's new 2013 range of AV receivers, with five new models starting at £249 for the entry-level AVR-X500.
The AVR-X500 is joined by the AVR-X1000, £349, the XVR-X2000, £499, the XVR-3000, £799, and the AVR-X4000, £1199.
The new AV receivers feature Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth and DLNA streaming, and support for music services such as Spotify. There are digital USB inputs with support for iPod/iPhone connection, and support for playback of HD audio formats.
Elsewhere there's a new interface to make navigation and set-up easier, a full suite of Audyssey sound modes and settings and support for 4K and 3D content. There are also Denon remote control apps for Android and iOS.
Full details on the all the new Denon receivers below, look out for our review of the Denon AVR-X2000 coming very soon.
Release date: May
140W x 5ch
Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD Master Audio Decoders
Compressed Audio Restorer
3+1 (front) HDMI inputs with 3D support
2 optical digital inputs
Easy operation by quick Select buttons, large character display and GUI
Auto Power Off and low standby power consumption
Available in black
Release date: May
(additional features over X500)
145W x 5ch – high quality discrete power amplifier for powerful sound
4+1 (front) HDMI inputs with 3D support, HDMI out with ARC
Advanced Network capability
DLNA 1.5 certified
HDAudio streaming with gapless support
AirPlay audio streaming
Spotify and last.fm music service support
vTuner internet radio
Flickr Photo Streaming
New Denon Remote App
Front USB input: iPod/iPhone digital compatible
Audyssey MultEQ XT with Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ
Setup Assistant and 9 language Hybrid GUI for easy set-up and operation
Release date: May
MORE: Denon XVR-X2000 unboxing video
(additional features over X1000)
150W x 7ch
Carefully selected components and extensive sound tuning
6+1 (front) HDMI inputs with 3D and 4k support, HDMI out with ARC
Analogue and digital video upscaling up to 4k
Multi-zone (2 zones) and multi-source
Setup Assistant and 9 language Advanced GUI for easy set-up and operation
Release date: June
180W x 7ch
Dolby TrueHD, dts-HD Master Audio and Dolby ProLogic IIz
Compressed Audio Restorer
Advanced Network capabilityo DLNA1.5 certified
HD Audio streaming with gapless support
AirPlay audio streaming, Windows8/RT compatible
Spotify and last.fm music service support
vTuner Internet Radio
Flickr Photo Streaming
New Denon Remote App for iOS and Android
6+1 (front) HDMI inputs with 3D and 4k support, InstaPrevue
Analogue and digital video upscaling up to 4k
2x HDMI out (main + zone) with Audio Return Channel
Front USB input: iPod / iPhone digital compatible
Audyssey MultEQ XT with Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ, Audyssey Pro compatible
Audyssey DSX and DTS-Neo:X up to 7.1ch processing
Enhanced multi-zone (2 zones/2 sources)
Digital In to Multi Zone - HDMI/opt/coax signals in different zones
IP Control & RS-232 control
DSD over HDMI support
Setup Assistant and 9 language Advanced GUI for easy set-up and operation
Auto Power Off and low standby power consumption
Available in black
Release date: June
(additional features over X3000)
200W x 7ch
D.D.S.C.-HD Circuit with AL24 Processing Plus
Denon Link HD
9.2 signal processing with independent subwoofer channels, 11.2 pre-out
Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Audyssey LFC
Aluminum front panel with trap door and large 2-line FL display 2+1 Triple HDMI outputs (simultaneously and Zone 2) Audyssey DSX and DTS-Neo:X up to 9.2ch processing 11 speaker terminals for height/wide/B speakers Phono input Multi zone management (3 zones) Available in black and premium silver
Call Pixll on 0113 2509991 or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to order one of the new Denon X Series Receivers.
It seems to be that time of year when the manufacturers are about to bring out their new models in readiness for the winter months (I know we haven't even reached summer yet! :) Arcam are the latest company to meet Pixll to discuss their latest and newest AV Receivers and despite the well documented problems with the AVR 600 we have high hopes for the the three new models the Arcam AVR 380, AVR450 and AVR 750.
Arcam AVR 380 £1499
Arcam has a long established reputation for delivering AV receivers that offer extra sonic capabilities over mass market models. The AVR 380 has been desgined to deliver a truely special experience for all home cinema enthusiasts.
With the perfect power stage for modern "lifestyle" loudspeaker models the AVR380 delivers an impressive and yet musical soundwith a wide range of material and is equally at home with music as it is with movies.
The AVR380 already has an eye to the future with 4k "Ultra HD" and 3D video capability on board. Ultra HD video scaling means both standard and High def sources can be scaled to any resolution when needed too.
For cinema or media room installations the AVR380 can be easily controlled via ethernet, RS232, 12 v triggers and standard IR while audio can be streamed from network servers, internet radio or USB drives.
The AVR 380 is designed in the UK.
75WPC (all channels driven), 90WPC (stereo, 4 ohms)
7 x HDMI, 2 x HDMI Outputs
Network audio, USB (inc Ipod) playback, internet radio, FM Tuner
Available summer 2013
Arcam AVR 450 £2200
The AVR 450 has a very similar spec to the AVR 380 although it offers the user more power and a toroidal based power supply. It also affords more demanding home cinema applications better connectivity and flexibility.
90 WPC (all channels driven) 110 WPC (stereo, 8 ohms)
7 xHDMI In, 2x HDMI Out
Network Audio, USB (Inc iPod) playback, internet radio
Tuners for FM/DAB/DAB+ (in appropriate markets)
Available July 2013
Arcam AVR 750 £4000
Arcam are professing this model to be their "best ever stereo amp!" Not just their best ever AV amp! High praise indeed and a very confident claim! Will it live up to its billing-we will have to wait and see but this is a very important model for Arcam and needs to be a success. Pixll hopes it will be.
Arcam claim that the level of sound quality is far above competing receivers. The power amplifiers are perhaps the finest within any AV receiver. Power delivery is both clean and tight against a background noise level that is astoundingly low. The AVR 750 is comfortable driving any loudspeaker to exteremely high levels and delivers a sonic detail and emotional connection that quickly takes listeners to the very heart of the music.
4k (UHD) video compatible including upscaling
7 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI Outputs, 3 component inputs, 4 component inputs
Supported modes- Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic IIx
DTS Master HD, DTS-ES6.1 discrete, DTS-ES 6.1 matrix, DTS 5.1
Power Consumption max 1.5KW, Power consumption in standby <0.5w
Dimensions- 433 x425 x171
Class G power amplification
Free IOS control app
on board PSU for R series accessories
Speak to Pixll for more information or to pre order any of the new Arcam products. We are available on 0113 2509991 or e-mail email@example.com
Noticed this article in What HI Fi this morning with regards to PMC! What a speaker! for more information on PMC please call Pixll on 0113 2509991 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
PMC launches flagship fact.12 speaker at High End Show
9 May 2013
Being demonstrated here at the High End Show in Munich is the new flagship model in PMC's slimline fact speaker range, the fact.12.
Selling for £12,000/pr when it goes on sale in a couple of months' time – there's just a bit more tuning to be done! –, the new speaker is designed not only to sit above the existing fact models, but also above the remaining speakers in the company's 'i'-range, following the recent trimming down of that line-up to allow the company to concentrate on production of its twenty and fact series.
The fact.12 is the first three-way design in the fact series, and uses a new 5cm midrange dome between the tweeter and the twin 14cm coated aluminium-coned bass units.
The new 5cm midrange driver has been designed using results obtained from work with National Physical Laboratory (above), using laser measurement to 'see' the sound being produced by a speaker by measuring the air just in front of the drivers.
This work helped with the overall design of the speakers, and in particular with the shape and profile of the midrange dome dispersion flange, which provides optimal dispersion and integration, to the point where PMC sees the performance of the new driver as being close to that of the classic PMC75 midrange used in many of its designs.
Apart from the tweeter, carried over from other models, fact.12 was designed as a completely new speaker, with company founder and chief designer Pete Thomas setting his team the task of delivering the transparency, scale and dynamics of PMC's studio monitors in a slimline cabinet.
As in other PMC speakers, Advanced Transmission Line loading is used for the bass drivers and, like the other fact models, the fact.12 has toggle switches to allow some tuning of the drive units' response.
However, in this new model the bass control offers the user the choice of a little bass boost as well as the flat and cut positions, using design principles learned from the company's work on active crossovers.
The new speakers use high-density front baffles 3.5cm thick, and 5cm bases, with extra bracing at critical points, such as where the air-pressure inside the transmission line is at it greatest.
The speaker will be available finished in Rich walnut, Graphite poplar and Tiger ebony, along with the new white silk finish being introduced across the fact range.
A really good article by Techradar on why we should be exited about the new wave of Ultra High Def screens. I hope it will give the consumer electronics industry the shot in the arm it needs. I have to say I'm not sure I agree that the leap from HD to Ultra HD is as big as it was from Standard Def to High Def but I'll let you be the judge of that.
8 reasons why you should be excited about Ultra HD
In depth 4K is coming and you'll have no choice but to love it
Once you've had 4K, you can't go back...
Like it or not, 2013 is the year of 4K and Ultra HD. The movies are already here, the TVs are coming and the disc format is on its way.
There's more reason to be excited about all this than most advances in display tech, too, even if you were unimpressed by the so-called 3D revolution.
This year, the sizes and the prices of 4K TVs are entering the realms of us mere mortals, and we reckon that Ultra HD will sooner or later persuade you to buy a new TV. Here's why...
1. It looks amazing...
Believe us – 4K is not the new 3D. 3D didn't take off for many reasons – the glasses are uncomfortable, it's headache-tastic, the experience just isn't relaxing for the majority. It's also just an extra feature which you either do or (mostly) don't use depending on the content. But 4K is different - the step from HD to Ultra HD is just like the step was from SD to HD. It's a permanent feature of the screen that gets used every time you watch it. Sharper images, more detail. Amazing eye candy, essentially, offering a more pleasant watching experience. Upscaling on some (but not all) of the Ultra HD TVs we've seen so far has been very impressive so HD movies look amazing on big 4K TVs from trusted brands. Native 4K movies are simply mesmerising.
2. You can sit closer to the screen...
With a full HD picture, conventional wisdom says that you need to sit 3 screen heights (3H) away from the display in order to enjoy optimal picture quality – any closer and you'll be able to see the individual pixels, you'll get a headache, and your eyeballs will dissolve. However, with a far sharper picture, 4K videos can be enjoyed optimally from just 1.5H. This makes large screen sizes far more sensible than they were in the past, you can sit a lot closer which doubles your field of view from just 30 degrees to 60 – giving you a far more cinematic, immersive experience.
3. It makes passive 3D more tolerable...
In many ways, passive 3D offers a more comfortable way of watching a 3D picture compared to active 3D. But because the light is split, 3D Blu-rays effectively have their resolution halved. It's much worse when watching a boradcasted 720p sports match - the picture ends up not evening being HD. But with a 4K TV, the resolution is four times higher than full HD which means passive 3D still looks nice and sharp. It's not as sharp as native 4K pictures, but still far better than what we've become used to. Of course, you might still hate 3D. But for anyone who really wants to like it but has yet to be convinced, this might be a reason to get involved.
4. 4K OLED is coming...
One exciting thing for consumers thinking about upgrading is that 4K and OLED tech is arriving at roughly the same time. LG predicts OLED prices will be at current high-end LED prices in the next two years. What's more, Panasonic and Sony are both completely ignoring HD OLED tech and going straight to 4K OLED. So for many people, waiting for a 4K OLED 3D TV might be a good option - they're not far away. If you can't wait, of course, Sony's 55 and 65-inch 4K LED TVs are already around here somewhere (reviews coming soon!) and there'll be lots more from other brands launching at IFA in August/September.
5. Already hundreds of movies out there...
If you think there will only be a few 4K movies available to watch at home, you're mistaken. There isn't yet an agreed format or standard for 4K movies on disc, but it's not far off. And when the players start coming out, there will be literally hundreds of movies and TV shows available from the off. Many have been filmed natively in 4K (or above) over the last few years, but even films shot on 35mm film 50 years ago can be rescanned and remastered in 4K. Sony Pictures alone has already remastered over 100 movies in this way. It's worthwhile, too – the 4K remaster of classics such as Laurence of Arabia will be the first versions of the movie to use and display all of the picture information captured on the original film. So in some respect, 4K remasters will be the definitive editions.
6. TV shows are being shot in 4K by default...
It's not just movies that are getting the 4K love, either. If you want to make a new TV show at Sony Pictures, 4K is now the default format. It's the same elsewhere. It's a little more expensive to make shows this way, but the increased value when it comes to syndication later down the line makes it a no brainer for many of the leading US studios. And of course, older shows shot on film can be remastered in 4K just like older movies. Above you can see Breaking Bad being remastered in 4K, one painstaking frame at a time.
7. 4K TV broadcasts not far away...
A compressed 4K movie stored on a server at a cinema takes up around 200GB of storage space. Sony's market-leading F65 8K camera (Sony shoots in 8K and downsamples to 4K or 2K) can squeeze only around 1 hour of footage onto a 1TB Sony SR memory card. So you'd be forgiven for assuming that 4K TV broadcasts are a long way off, but that's not actually true thanks to advances in compression technology. The newly ratified HEVC compression format for 4K can deliver a brilliant Ultra HD broadcast picture with a bitrate of just 20Mbit/s. When compared to the 12Mbit/s currently employed for HD, that's not such a huge leap. FIFA will be filming the World Cup in 4K in 2016, and as we found out recently, the BBC is planning to trial 4K broadcasting at Wimbledon this very year. As an aside, YouTube is already serving up 4K video, and Netflix says it's not far behind.
8. Glasses-free 3D is coming...
The final reason to be enthusiastic about higher resolution TVs is that they are opening the door for the definitive form of 3D – glasses free – to become a reality. Current glasses-free tech, which is already impressive but not quite ready yet – uses a lenticular-style lens over the screen to separate the light from the panel into two channels – one for each eye. This division of the light effectively halves the resolution which is why glasses free 3D requires at least a 4K panel to be effective.
Talk to Pixll for more information on Ultra HD or any of our latest tv's.0113 2509991 or e-mail email@example.com
You'll have seen online news of Pioneers new VSX range of receivers which are due out any day. Well Pixll met with Pioneer last week to discuss the full range of new models including replacements for the 5 star rated SC LX86 and SC LX56 models.
Whilst we are still waiting on confirmed specs and pricing we have provided some idea below of what to expect. Sorry we dont have any images of the new models yet but they dont look radically different from last years range of Receivers. We are expecting more detailed information soon.
Pioneer AV Receivers 2013/2014 by Pixll
Pioneer VSX 423 £250
Pioneer VSX 528 £300
Pioneer VSX 828 £350 (exclusive to one of the online retailers)
Pioneer VSX 923 £449
A key model for Pioneer. Expected to have 4k pass through, 8 HDMI In's, 2 out one of which will be an assignable HDMI zone.
Pioneer VSX 1123 (looks like this model will be exclusive to one of the major high street retailers)
Pioneer SC 1223 £650
A key model for Pioneer. This will be the cheapest model in the range to carry Class D amplification
Pioneer SC 2023 £899
All Aluminium construction, more power, more custom install features such as 12v triggers and RS232 control.
Pioneer SC LX57 £1200
3 x HDMI Outs, 9x 190 W, superior DAC's onboard for better musical reproduction, audio scaler 192/32
Pioneer SC LX77 £1600
carries THX Ultra 2 Plus certification, more power, AIR Studios tuned, full band phase control
Pioneer SC LX87 £1999
The Flagship model. 220W x9, USB DAC, better transformers
Pixll understands one interesting feature will be the addition of Spotify to the receivers. The specs that we were shown featured the Spotify logo on them but our understanding is that Spotify will be changing the look and feel of its service shortly and Pioneer didn't want to release their models with this feature on until Spotify had made their modification. Pioneer will release their new models and Spotify will be added via a firmware upgrade shortly after.
One thing we noticed flicking through the specs of the various different models when comparing the new models to Yamaha, Onkyo and Denon is that in years gone by Pioneer lagged behind its competitors in terms of its features. Onkyo always had more flexibility, better connectivity, more "bang" for your money- not so any more. Whilst we know that is not the most important thing in an AV receiver it is important. Pioneer now carries more HDMI ins and outs than all of its competitors at each price point (at the time of writing)
Finally, there will be a couple of slimline AV Recievers released later in the year to compliment the slimline TV's that are now the norm and for those customers that have to have their receiver on show.
For more information on Pioneers new range of 2013/2014 AV recievers please contact us on
After a long week at work myself and three friends decided to head out to the cinema and see the latest Iron Man film and boy is it good. AV Forums have reviewed it so I've copied the link below for you to have a read.
For those of you worried that a third Iron Man film might be a bridge too far dont! Go and see it. I'm not quite as geeky about the Marvel films/comics as some but this was thoroughly enjoyable. Its a bank holiday this weekend you have no excuse :)
Latest Review of the Acoustic Energy 3 series 5.1 speaker system (Pixll)
Unlike the relentless pace of change we experience with TV’s and AV electronics, the rate that new loudspeaker designs hit the market is fairly relaxed. Even the most determined of brands will generally only update every two years or so and many brands are quite content to let their products go for rather longer than that. Within this business model there are some more extraordinary examples of longevity. Acoustic Energy will happily sell you a pair of AE1 Classic speakers if you want and although this was out of production for a few years and has evolved into newer models, it effectively dates back to the 1980’s. Neither is it sold for sentimental reasons - if you like what the AE1 does, very little else will do.
What you see here is a brand new range of speakers from Acoustic Energy which is sufficiently unusual an event to be celebrated anyway but reading through the release information that was supplied with them, the design influences of the venerable AE1 are apparently present and correct in these all-new models. Given that Acoustic Energy has a strong track record in making some great affordable multichannel packages, it was only sensible that they were checked out. How does going back to the future work in loudspeaker design?
When you are a relatively small company as Acoustic Energy is, a complete new range of speakers represents a significant investment and striking the balance between keeping your existing customers happy while winning new fans of the brand is a tricky balancing act. With the 3 Series, Acoustic Energy has done a mighty impressive job of walking this design tightrope. These speakers could only be Acoustic Energy to look at but at the same time they have a design aesthetic which is unlikely to offend anyone. For the asking price, this is a well finished, handsome and flexible set of speakers.
Sonically, they strike a similar welcome balance. The 3 Series should be able to work with a huge variety of AV amps and cope with almost everything you could throw at them. They also manage to sound clean, fast and enjoyable while they do so. I feel that the speakers are better value than the sub but the price for these components is a combined price and not a package one so if you choose, you could talk to a dealer about some of the alternatives - or you could choose what is a very civilised and capable performer. There is plenty of competition (and the prospect of Q Acoustics deciding to go multichannel with their Concept 20 could add another one) but Acoustic Energy has built themselves a great new range of speakers that needs to be on your shortlist.
|Ease of use
|Audio - movies
|Audio - music
|Value for money
The 3 Series range is a standard grouping of standmount (301), floorstander (305), Centre (307) and Subwoofer (308). The system supplied for review used 301’s front and back with centre and sub completing the set. Pricing is very competitive with the 301 costing £425 a pair which pitches it right at a competitive area for stereo standmounts and with the centre costing another £349, five speakers can be had for £1,200 which is a pretty solid value proposition. The £800 asking price for the 308 sub looks a little more bullish but the spec of the 308 is sufficiently good to go some way to justifying it - more of which later.
The biggest visual clue to the 3 Series being an Acoustic Energy product is the main driver used in the 301 and 307. This is a 110mm spun, hard-anodised aluminium cone in keeping with Acoustic Energy tradition and with the pointed dust cap and burly surround it means that the 3 series speakers look like traditional members of the AE clan. Aluminium is used by a number of speaker brands with varying degrees of success but with thirty years of relevant experience, AE are as likely as anyone to achieve good results with it.
Where the 3 Series differs from AE designs of old (although not the highly regarded Compact that formed the basis of the last AE system we tested here) is the use of a soft dome tweeter to partner the main driver. This is a 28mm unit and as you might expect it is used in the 301, 305 and 307 for a suitably consistent tonal balance. The other part of the design that all the passive speakers make use of is a front mounted slot port instead of the more common circular design. This has two benefits. A properly engineered slot port should avoid whooshing or any other form of audibility even when the speaker is being driven hard and placing it at the front should limit the interaction between the speaker and the wall even if placed quite close to it. The 307 centre rather unusually is the same in terms of porting and cabinet dimensions as the 301 so make sure that you have the space for it if you are sharing a shelf with something else.
The 308 is by far the most expensive of the models in the range but looking at it, this begins to make a bit more sense. The 308 is a big lad - 12 inch downward firing doped paper driver in a box that is 36cm cubed. It’s no SB13 Ultra but you are unlikely to lose it either. Power comes courtesy of a 500 watt amplifier and AE claims useable output until the mid 20’s in terms of Hz. One interesting feature that I think other manufacturers might do well to emulate is that the 308 ships with feet in place which means at no stage do you risk parking a downward firing subwoofer on the very expensive driver while you hunt around in the box for the other bits. This is a very good idea only slightly undone by shipping the sub on its side in the packaging for reasons I couldn’t entirely fathom. Inputs and outputs are exclusively RCA in type but you can loop through and look at external EQ’s if you need to which is always appreciated.
Perhaps the best piece of news with the 3 series as a whole is that in styling terms AE have built some of the best looking speakers in the price bracket and by some margin. The styling is clean and free of gimmicks but has enough details - like the thin chrome trim rings around the drivers - to avoid looking too sober and dull. The cabinets are immaculately finished and are completely free of imperfections. The review set were supplied in gloss black but for those of you that think crocs are cool, white is also available.
Criticisms of the design are slight by contrast. The grilles are fixed by a magnetic tab system which avoids the need for unsightly holes for lugs but the front panel is slightly recessed from the rest of the cabinet which could be a slight dust trap over time. The 301 is also only a single wired design which shouldn’t be a huge problem but anyone desperate to use the bi-amp feature on their AV Receiver might find this disappointing. The fairly hefty price of the 308 opens it up to more competition from dedicated subwoofer manufacturers but it is hardly a ‘me too’ product.
The 3 Series was used with a Cambridge Audio 551R and 751BD player for the bulk of critical review and this was supplanted with Sky HD and a PS3 for some additional testing. Music was supplied courtesy of a Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 and NAD DAC1 wireless DAC allowing for audio from a computer to be streamed directly to the rest of the equipment.
Test material was mainly Blu-ray but as with everything that is run in the lounge, the AE’s were used all the time so technically test material included such dynamic surprises as Countryfile and other niceties. Installation proved to be simplicity itself and none of the speakers proved a problem to get up and running. The sub was sufficiently large that I found it only really worked in the side position slightly in front of the front speakers but it seemed happy enough in this position.
One of the reasons why the AE1 Classic has lasted as long as it has is because what it does well is still very hard to better elsewhere. There are very few other speakers that can match it for agility and excitement. The good news is that there is recognisably some of this DNA in the 3 Series and what is even better news is that some of the less amenable aspects of the older speakers seem to have been dealt with as well.
The overriding impression that the 3 Series present as a set is one of effortless cohesion. With the same drivers in all the speakers it should not be too surprising that the handover from speaker to speaker is extremely good but with two different materials being used in the drivers in each speaker, the other piece of good news is the handover between driver and tweeter is seamless and really well handled. This gives a front soundstage that is spacious and convincing.
Detail retrieval is extremely impressive too. The claustrophobic soundtrack of The Raid is packed with incidental sounds that add to the experience of the film and the AE’s manage to bring a huge amount of it to your attention without losing the overall balance of sound. The dispersion seems pretty wide as well so even though there is no dedicated rear speaker for the range, I never felt the spread of information at the rear was limited or being beamed at a specific spot on the sofa. That said, it would be interesting to see what AE could have done with an effects speaker and it is an area where some of the competition at the same price have the 3 Series at a disadvantage.
What very few of these rival speakers can do as well as the AE’s can is match their speed and the resulting ‘clean’ performance. The 301’s and 307 start and stop with little or no overhang or bass bloom and while this is pretty handy for film, it really comes into its own with music. The 301 shows almost as little cabinet coloration as the exceptionally talented Q Acoustics Concept 20 but with the added bonus that the 301 manages an extra 19Hz in the bass before bottoming out which is fairly appreciable in practice. This speed and agility is what Acoustic Energy has been about for nearly thirty years and it is good to see that the 3 Series still has it.
Impressively, the 308 sub has more than a little of this too. For a big driver, there is impressive get up and go to the performance and it does a commendable job of integrating with the speakers to handover in a seamless and believable way - which at 55Hz made for usefully omnidirectional bass even from a slightly offset position. Where the 308 is slightly less convincing is that this speed seems to have been bought at the expense of a bit of low-end slam. When something explodes on screen, the 308 gives a slightly polite rendition. As someone who has never been a huge fan of using subs for music, I realise that the 308 is pretty talented in this regard but this has been bought at the expense of some of the absolute bottom end and this means that at the asking price there are some subs I’d probably prefer to make my films go with a bang. On a more specific note to the review equipment, I found that to get the auto on/off on the 308 working properly, I had to increase the output from the amp and back the volume off on the sub to get it to function properly.
This slight restraint is present on the passive speakers as well but it is nowhere near as pronounced. Every now and again I listened to something and wanted the 301’s to be slightly more ballistic in their presentation but effectively this almost always comes at the cost of harshness or brightness with poorly recorded material and AE has decided - correctly - to avoid this. The last spark of excitement might be missing from them but these are unfailingly able speakers and nothing from Spotify or internet radio could provoke them. This is a range of speakers that manages to walk a very neat line between clarity, liveliness and civility that means you should find yourself using them all the time and not simply for film nights.
As a last, very welcome feature, the 301 is a very effective stereo speaker. It goes low enough to be more than listenable without a subwoofer and the qualities that give them such ability with film soundtracks is replicated with stereo. If you have an AV receiver that has any ability with music at all (and the 551R for all of its simplicity is a very musical piece of equipment), you will most likely find yourself listening to music in stereo where you might not have bothered with a sub sat package.
Contact Pixll for more information on the 3 Series or for a demonstration.
We are not too happy with Sky at the minute. We have been having lots of trouble with our broadband connection at the business and after much headscratching it turns out the router is the problem. No problem I hear you say?! Ring them and request a new one. After ringing their customer service and explaining it is for business use I was told it would be at Pixll for the Saturday if not the following Monday. I could live with that. Well we are now on Tuesday and we've been given various dates for delivery by Sky. Very very frustrating.
Anyway, less of my whingeing. What I am pleased to tell you is that I noticed Sky have finally decided to allow 5.1 output over HDMI (rather than the picture going via HDMI and the sound going via Digital Optical).
Sky has confirmed it is rolling out Dolby Digital 5.1 output over HDMI to selected Sky+ HD set-top boxes. Sky says the software update is coming to all Sky DRX8xx boxes, so the DRX890 and DRX895 Sky boxes, the latter being the 2TB Sky+ HD box.
You will need to go in to Settings > Sound menu to enable the Dolby DIgital 5.1 over HDMI setting (see below, picture courtesy of SkyUser), once the software update has been pushed to your box.
The update is being sent out automatically to the relevant Sky+ HD boxes over the next two months.
The software update will then hit other Pace and Samsung set-top boxes "later in the year".
There is also a new Eco mode included in the update, which puts the Sky box in to a low power mode, using just 0.5 watts, when not in use. More details here on Eco mode.
Sky first revealed plans to enable DD 5.1 over HDMI back in July 2009 and it seems like we're finally seeing the update. The ability was already enabled on the latest Sky Amstrad multiroom box.
We noticed the following article on AV Forums this morning which we thought we'd share.
BBC to trial 4K at Wimbledon
Our MASS Home Cinema Speaker System is awarded for high design quality in the "red dot award: product design 2013"!
The innovative power of the Monitor Audio MASS speaker system impressed the 37-member jury of experts for the "red dot award: product design 2013". Those who succeed in winning over the renowned experts in the field can decorate their product creation with the "red dot" and position themselves at an international level. The jury members were delighted to receive 4,662 entries in 19 different categories in this year's competition. Only the best designs were able to win the enthusiasm of the jury, which is how the MASS system received the red dot for its successful design creation.
Monitor Audio's diminutive MASS home cinema system offers sculpted space-efficient design, packed with technology and easy-installation features to make the introduction of high quality home cinema sound into any living space a simpler and more satisfying experience. There are two main system models: a compact satellite speaker and active subwoofer. Both are ground-up designs by Monitor Audio's in-house team, involving the specification of wholly new signal path components.
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