Q I was planning to replace my 225Wpc Anthem Statement A2 amplifier with a 300Wpc McIntosh MC302 amp to improve my system. It was suggested that I would get more bang-for-the-buck by instead replacing my Integra DHC 80.3 surround preamp/processor with a new McIntosh MX122 surround preamp/processor. The reason given was that upgrading to a marginally more powerful amp wouldn’t result in a significant difference in my system, but a state-of-the-art processor would. Do you agree with that viewpoint? The speakers I am using are Definitive Technology Mythos STS Super Towers with a Mythos center channel and surrounds. — KJ King
AT A GLANCE
Transfer analog sources to high-resolution digital including DSD
Phono preamp with variable EQ settings
Built-in headphone amplifier
No input for low-output moving-coil cartridges
No software-based vinyl noise reduction
The Korg DS-DAC-10R lets you move your music from LP records into state-of-the-art high-resolution PCM or DSD files, all while retaining their essential vinyl character.
Ten years ago, who would have figured that almost every major new music release would also get issued on vinyl? Every day more and more people are learning to appreciate the appeal of vinyl records, but sadly the lack of portability means that for most of us it’s a stay-at-home listening experience. That can be frustrating in a world where we’ve become so accustomed to digesting our music on the go, so lots of new vinyl records come bundled with a lossy-compressed Digital Copy as a free download. Of course, at that point you’re no longer getting the vinyl experience at all, so really, what’s the point? But, what if you could capture some of that analog goodness in a portable hi-res audio version that you can take with you, instead of those crappy MP3 files we’ve endured for so long? That’s the idea behind the DS-DAC-10R, a handy little box developed by the pro-audio mavens at Korg and distributed by Essence.
AT A GLANCE
Oval planar magnetic design
Easy to drive
Nice and comfy
Cable lacks phone mic or inline controls
Acoustic Research knocked one out of the park with the AR-H1 — it’s a real contender.
Acoustic Research has a long, proud history dating back to 1954 with the introduction of the AR1, the world’s first acoustic suspension speaker. But rather than run through a model-by-model inventory of their innovative speakers and the brilliant AR turntable, let’s fast-forward to 2018 where the AR's current owner is based in Hong Kong and they’re getting serious about making audiophile headphones. Witness the AR-H1, an ambitious reboot for the brand.
AT A GLANCE
Superb resolution and color
No dynamic iris
No lens memories
The Sony VPL-VW285ES brings true native 4K resolution down to a price more viewers can aspire to. Add a generous helping of UHD’s wider, deeper color and high dynamic range, and it’s hard to resist.
Ultra HD with true native 4K resolution on its imaging chips has been, so far, difficult to do at a cost most consumers can accept. New DLP-driven 4K projectors that utilize pixel-shifting, which delivers the full UHD pixel count in successive half-frames of diagonally shifted pixels, have recently come on the market at prices as low as $2,000. But native 4K projectors that can put all 8 million pixels in a UHD frame on the screen simultaneously have been pricey, with the cheapest to date coming in around $8,000.
Q I am building a dedicated 15 x 10 x 28-foot (WxHxD) home theater with two rows of seating and a bar for the third row. I plan to buy new speakers and am interested in the advantages, if any, of line-source over regular point-source designs. I’ve heard that line-source speakers create a larger stereo sweet spot. Is that the case? —Lorne Charles / via e-mail