September 08, 2008 by EH Staff
You’ve got your rockin’ speakers, but what’s going to drive them and what will you be hearing out of them?
Amplifiers, preamp/processors, A/V receivers and integrated amps can play and process everything you throw at them these days, from the latest high-resolution audio specs to upconverted 1080p video.
You don’t have to be an audiophile to tweak and upgrade components all the time, but swapping out a piece here and there, or adding source content like a new Blu-ray player or (going back to old school) turntable can increase the enjoyment you get out of a theater or media room setup.
That’s right—we couldn’t help but award McIntosh for releasing the MT10 Turntable, which undoubtedly made Mac fans extremely happy to add to their audio havens. When it came to Blu-ray this year, we honored LG Electronics’ BD300 player that, along with the super-crisp HD videos you can play, allows you to stream Netflix rentals straight to it.
The range of other electronics we chose shows that you can feed great audio for under $1,000 with the likes of Signal Path International’s Peachtree Audio Decco Integrated Amp or Harman Kardon’s beefy AVR 354 receiver, or go a bit heavier with something like Bryston’s incredible B-100 Integrated Amp or Cary Audio Design’s CAD 120S Tube Amplifier, on up to pieces like Classe Audio’s SSP-800 preamp/processor. It all depends on your room size, speaker sizes and whatnot—you won’t need an $8,000 processor for your soundbar, but you might need to go separates to fuel $25,000 floorstanding tower speakers.
For those of you who want everything in one system, there’s even SE2 Labs’ innovative ITC One theater console that jams in source components, processing and more all in one box. It’s a one-stop shop the likes of which we hadn’t seen, and it can rock any room.
- Products of the Year 2008
- Products of the Year 2007
- Products of the Year 2006
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