This a review and detailed measurements of the Pioneer SC-1222 Home Theater Audio/Video Receiver. It is on kind loan from a member. The SC-1222 is discontinued. I see one on sale on Amazon for US $540.
The SC-1222 came out in a series of AVRs from Pioneer with class-D amplifiers, running much cooler than competing class AB units of the time:
I had an SC series which I retired due to a bad TI DSP IC that fails and causes loss of audio. So if you are going after then in used market, be very careful.
Being class D, the AVR ran very cool in my tests and never shut down or go into protection. As I note later though, at or near max power there is a loud mechanical buzz/hum from the transformer that is proportional to power level. Likely you won't hear it because the sound it produces will also be loud but it is something that should not be there.
Testing was performed after a factory reset and disabling subwoofer.
This is a review and detailed measurements of the JBL HDI-1600 two-way bookshelf speaker. They were purchased new and drop shipped to me for testing. The HDI-1600 costs US $900 for one.
Note: my company Madrona Digital is a dealer for Harman products such as JBL line (although we hardly sell any audio gear of this type). And I am personally friends with key people in the company. So feel free to read as much bias as you like in this review.
There is some style to the HDI-1600 but overuse of plastic degrades the image of having bought anything expensive:
Back panel binding posts are OK but the bi-wire shunt is thin and flimsy (does the job though):
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Infinity RC263 center home theater speaker. It is on kind loan from a member. The RC263 costs US $268 on Amazon including Prime shipping.
The RC263 is too large for my photo booth so you have to settle for where I test speakers for listening:
As you see the RC263 is a 3-way which is a recommended configuration for horizontal center speakers (two-way "MTM" designs tend to have poor horizontal direcitivty). Inclusion of two mid-woofers should help with power handling which is critical for center speakers as in movies most of the energy is directed at it (due to anchoring the screen). We will see this in measurements to follow.
Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able...
Any avid reader of Audio Science Review knows that we are disappointed with the objective measurements of today's home theater receivers and surround processors. They generally rank in the third performance tier and often below a $9 phone dongle in distortion and noise. Today's players are almost all mass market companies as the advent of HDMI AV standard killed all the high-end audio companies that were producing AV processors. Reason is that their volume was too small for the HDMI transceiver IC companies to support them so they had no choice but to exist the market. But did they ever produce good products? A member loaned me the Meridian G68 processor to answer that question.
The G68ADV feels quite elegant compared to the generic look we have in AV products:
The interface is very easy to navigate with a number of hard buttons to select input (and "more" button which shows another row).
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Verdant Audio Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from the company. The MG 1 costs US $4999 for a pair.
As the model number implies, the MG 1 cabinet is made out of laminated Bamboo which I like:
The back panel is shows nice quality binding posts that are easy to manipulate:
When the owner contacted me to send me the speaker I cautioned him that if measurements don't look good, I would still be publishing them. To my pleasant surprise he said he had no issue with that whatsoever.
Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Silent Angel (Thunder Data) Bonn N8 8-port gigabite audiophile Ethernet switch. It is on kind loan from a member. It seems to cost US $399. As a way of comparison, a brand name switch without the "audio grade" designation costs US $35 so about ten times cheaper.
From outside, the Bonn N8 looks like the most generic switches:
Look at the cheap labeling underneath:
The external power supply from respected Mean Well company is a bit step above what you get with these cheap switches.
Company advertises better clock, better power supply filtering and better PCB layout as the improvements. Some generic eye pattern and noise improvement graphs are shown by the company but of course, no graphs showing the improvement out of any audio streamer. Unless you listen to digital bits from Ethernet cable, I am not sure what is behind this common and...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Infinity R162 bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $270 from Amazon including Prime shipping.
Despite its budget price, the R162 looks good and weighs a good bit:
The back side shows the typical, too close together binding posts:
If you care about country of manufacture and can't read it above, it is China.
Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the RME Babyface Pro FS Portable professional audio interface (ADC, DAC, headphone and digital I/O). It was kindly sent to me by the company. The Babyface Pro FS Costs US $899. It is an upgrade to the non-FS version of the same product.
The Babyface Pro FS makes a hugely positive impression the minute you take it out of its nice hard case:
Machined out of a solid chunk of aluminum, it is quite heavy and sits still even with heavy XLR cables pulling on it.
The LED displays are bright and cheery and hard buttons are easy to figure out (I did not even bother with the manual).
The side panel has provision for external power but it is not needed. Despite all of its functionality and LED bar graph, the Babyface Pro FS is entirely "bus powered" via USB 2.0:
The only reason to use an external power supply is for stand-alone operation or...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Devialet Expert 200 Amplifier, DAC, Phono premaplifier and wired streamer. It seems to be a generation behind the current products offered by Devialet. The Expert 200 cost US $9,650.
The Devialet line of amplifiers made quite a buzz when originally announced given its unique, lifestyle packaging which has not changed yet:
A combination of class A amplifier and class D current source is used to keep the size down, and efficiency up.
Innovative for its time was inclusion of an SD card and online configurator to change the operation of the unit including re-purposing the back RCA connectors:
The thin package creates real compromises here with the exclusion of balanced analog inputs or preamp outputs.
Usability suffers quite a bit as well with the display being on top of the unit which simply is not visible from afar. There is...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel M22 Stand-mount speaker. It is on kind loan from a member who I think was the second person to send me a speaker. The M22 is long discontinued. It cost I think US $2,000 when new but I see it on used market for around US $600. As such, it may make an alternative to buying something new now at $600 price point.
The M22 enclosure is extremely solid and finished well:
While the grill was a bit frayed, the rest of the speaker has endured the years very well, something that you may not be able to say about a vinyl wrapped budget speaker you buy today.
The back panel shows not only the binding posts but also a set of useful controls (if you don't use electronic EQ):
I measured the unit as seen. For listening tests however, I also used the tweeter control (see later in this review).
Love the fact that the binding posts are far apart...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the iFi Pro iCAN headphone amplifier and preamp. It is on kind loan from a member. The iCAN costs US $1,799 from Amazon including Prime shipping so quite expensive.
There are more selectors and controls than any headphone amplifier:
The labels are clear in the picture but I had a heck of a time reading them in my typical workstation environment. Type is small and against silver background with too little contrast.
The headphone outputs are a mess. There is no standard 1/4 inch headphone out. Yes, there are two of those but they are for balanced headphones that have two 1/4 inch headphone jacks. There is a 3.5mm headphone socket but that seems to have huge attenuation, making it unable to drive any non-IEM headphone. Then there is 3.5mm balanced socket which is not common. The only common connector is the 4-pin connector. This is a mess in general in the industry but ifi takes it...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 bookshelf speaker. It was kindly purchased new and drop shipped to me for testing. The DBR-62 costs US $600 a pair from multiple sources/dealers.
The DBR-62 comes in black and walnut finish or the distressed Oak and white which is what I received:
I really like the baffle, the slot port and woofer. The grill on the tweeter is a bit out of place in my mind but not overly so. Overall, it is a very modern take on speaker design which I like. It comes with a gray patterned grill which can hide the drivers if you like.
So far my reviews of other Andrew Jones speakers has not resulted in any star performers. Some have actually been disappointing. Will the DBR-62 be an exception? Let's find out.
Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 USB DAC. It was kindly sent to me by a member. Despite having been announced back in 2012, the DacMagic 100 seems to still be a current product, available on Amazon costing US $199 including Prime shipping.
While it won't be mistaken for a high-end audio products, the DacMagic 100 nevertheless differentiates itself from budget DACs with its enclosure and design:
The back panel also shows some differentiation:
Notice the dual S/PDIF coax inputs. And a ground lift for USB input which may solve nasty ground loop issues (no guarantees though).
An external adapter, double the size of typical phone charger, powers the unit.
Overall, the box makes a positive impression.
DAC Audio Measurements
As usual, we start with our dashboard of 1 kHz tone and see what we get:
This is a 3-way speaker with a coaxial mid and tweeter in the middle, a bass driver and passive radiator:
As such it is NOT the common MTM configuration which has directivity issues and causes side reflections to be dissimilar to direct ones.
Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR bookshelf Atmos enabled speaker. It is on kind loan from a local member. They cost US $749 for a pair. That may seem high for a bookshelf speaker but you are getting two speakers in one. An up firing two-way coaxial driver that is driven by its own terminals. And a front facing 3-way speaker with the same coaxial driver mated with a small "woofer."
Here is what it looks like:
These are introduced back in 2014 and Dolby Atmos was all the rage (news, not delivery). Realizing getting people to stick speakers in their ceiling is hard, Dolby announced this upfiring scheme at the same time as the surround sound technology. They proceed to license a fancy crossover for it which cost a lot. I don't know if that is what is used here or not.
Overall, the speaker feels quite a bit more hefty substantial than the...
Since it is often claimed here in the forum that replacing cheap sand-cast resistors with low-inductance resistors would lead to clearly audible improvements, and since it's no use pointing out that the sound change (unless it's completely imagined) is very likely due to slight deviations in the resistance values, I'm now so annoyed that I want to get to the bottom of it
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II. It has been upgraded from AKM AK4490 to AK4493 DAC chip. It was kindly sent to me by the company a few weeks ago. I see it on Amazon for US 109 with free but not Prime shipping. I will be calling it SK10 from here on.
The SK10 has the familiar SMSL look with a small LED display:
A remote control is provided which makes navigation easy although you still have to deal with "In1" and such for input names as opposed to "USB," etc. It is workable though.
The back panel also follows previous SMSL small DAC products:
I am not a big fan of the micro-USB connectors but they work. When I tested the Toslink input, my cable got stuck there and took fair amount of force to pull it out. So there is a bit of tolerance issue there.
Really, I am nitpicking here as these products are easy to use and you can adapt to their...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Rythmik L12 subwoofer. It is kindly purchased by a member and drop shipped to me. The L12 costs US $559 in two colors (black oak and matte) and US $619 (gloss white). If you buy a white one to stick in your home theater, you and I will never get along.
The sub is still on the measurement gear stand at 5 feet and I am in no mood to take it down by myself to take a picture. So you have to settle for a stock photo:
Not much to look at. I did take a picture of the back though so you can see the numerous settings and configuration as tested:
Note that most of the switches are three-way which makes it hard to understand at first. For example, the power button as off, auto, and always on. The way it is labeled it seems that it only has off and Audio On.
A single parametric EQ is provided which is hugely better than none. Typically though you have at least two...