Richard Stevenson

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Richard Stevenson  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  0 comments

I have been turned. Having being derisive and scathing about soundbars for as long as I can remember, my opinion has been massaged by the performance and spousal acceptance of one of the breed. You see, soundbars have not and never will deliver proper home cinema sound. They are too small, the left and right channels are too close together and those that do try to integrate rear effects never quite succeed. Yet they are damn popular with the proletariat. The UK soundbar market has been doubling in value every year for the last five years and in 2013 is expected to crest the key £100m mark. That is a whole lot of soundbars.

Richard Stevenson  |  Sep 29, 2013  |  0 comments

Every now and again something comes along that is so focused and so madly different from the mainstream that it stands in a category virtually of its own. While the big Japanese brands cram ever more licensed and bespoke home cinema technology into ever cheaper AV receivers, there are brands that just refuse to choose the same inevitable path – a path that logically can only lead to a reduction in outright performance as R&D cash is poured into features, logos and gadgetry rather than sound quality.

Richard Stevenson  |  Aug 12, 2013  |  0 comments

The avalanche of super-sized TVs hitting the market this Summer has got me thinking about that lynch-pin of serious home cinema, the projector. These thoughts go along the lines of, ‘how long before projectors are redundant in most installs?’

Richard Stevenson  |  Jul 10, 2013  |  0 comments

Sitting in the shadow of Yamaha’s flagship Aventage receiver, the £1,500 RX-A2020 is a big and hefty lump of AVR goodness. The range build and cosmetics are superb, even if there is a serious hint of Harman Kardon about that full-width black Perspex screen, and the display is bold, bright and large enough to see from the other side of the room – even if you live in a sports hall. The rest of the fascia is pleasingly minimalistic and the sculptured knobs, different sizes at that, have a cool and solid feel to them.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 29, 2013  |  0 comments

We may still be in the grip of economic gloom but I can see some light at the end of the consumer electronics market’s long dark tunnel, and that light is home cinema. During this recession, the electronics industry has fared even worse than other consumer goods sectors and has had more dips than a fondue party. The general public are simply not buying TVs and audio systems like they used to. In fact, throughout 2012, the UK public purchased half as many TVs as it did in 2006.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 15, 2013  |  0 comments

I have yet another subwoofer-induced headache, and it's not from playing the opening sequence to The Expendables 2. Rather, it's from trying to get my noodle around a mind-bogglingly complex setup. You see, my period of single subwoofer purity has come to an end, with a second Velodyne DD18+ joining my system to capitalise on the new breed of 11.2-channel AV hardware.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 01, 2013  |  0 comments

I have just spent 10 hours watching four movies back to back. It started with serious violent action from The Sweeney and the sci-fi remake Total Recall, then a re-run of Skyfall just to cement my opinion that it is my least favourite Bond film of all time, even though I still enjoyed it. The marathon concluded by having my noodle well and truly baked by Cloud Atlas.

Richard Stevenson  |  May 18, 2013  |  0 comments

Always keen to maximise the potential of his home cinema setup, Richard Stevenson discovers that a 10-year-old idea still has a lot going for it.

Richard Stevenson  |  May 02, 2013  |  0 comments

Marantz’s new flagship AV amplifier/processor duo sets sail on the HCC test bench with the new UD7007 universal player at the helm. While other brands, such as Pioneer and even Marantz’s sibling Denon, have opted for an integrated battleship AV receiver to top their range, Marantz is going for a fleet approach; the AV8801 AV processor frigate and the MM8807 amp destroyer. It’s all about performance. The system has been designed to deliver the sonic goods with more accuracy and firepower than a standard player/AVR combo can achieve.

Richard Stevenson  |  Apr 27, 2013  |  0 comments

Of all the half-baked ideas that have come to home cinema over the years, CES 2013 sported perhaps the most ridiculous AV tech yet – the curved-screen TV. This is a case of technology for technology’s sake, because a curved screen for TV viewing is both pointless and completely foils all the good work put into making screens ultra-thin to hang on the wall. Hang a curved screen on the wall and you are going to have some serious wings sticking out, and that’s never a good look.

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