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Best of the Best 2007: Home Entertainment

Brent Butterworth

The Meridian G91A DVD player/surround processor (404.344. 7111, www.meridian-audio.com) combines the quality and elegance of high-end audio/video equipment with the simplicity and convenience of a home-theater-in-a-box system. The unit incorporates a top-notch DVD/CD player, an AM/FM tuner, and a 5.1-channel surround-sound processor, all in a chassis no larger than that of a typical DVD player. The G91A may be used with any speakers and amplifiers, but it is at its best when matched with Meridian’s outstanding digital loudspeakers, which have amplification and sound processing built in. With a G91A, a quintet of Meridian speakers, a flat-panel TV, and a digital cable box or satellite TV receiver, you can enjoy as many entertainment options as a full-size home theater system offers. In fact, because of Meridian’s digital upsampling technology and video upconversion circuitry, the G91A can improve the audio and video quality of the devices connected to it. Its graceful lines, fashioned by acclaimed industrial designer Allen Boothroyd, make the G91A a welcome addition to any interior. Whether the $7,645 unit forms the basis of a high-end stereo music system or a home theater system that also reproduces music beautifully, it is certain to satisfy.

The Artison RCC600 subwoofer (775.833.4344, www.artisonusa.com), which is designed to reproduce deep bass, will earn favor with both home theater enthusiasts and interior designers. Once this speaker is installed into a wall, all that is visible is a slim bezel surrounding a gently curved perforated metal grille, both of which can be painted to complement any decor. Each RCC600 comprises four beefy, oval-shaped woofers set into a frame made from rigid bulk molding compound. The woofers are clamped into opposing pairs so that they cancel out each other’s vibrations and do not rattle the wall. An optional enclosure that fits into the wall improves the definition of bass notes and helps prevent sound from leaking into adjacent rooms. A 600-watt amplifier drives one or two RCC600s. The amp also incorporates circuitry that automatically optimizes the subwoofer’s performance, compensating for any flaws in a room’s acoustics. We found the RCC600’s sound quality comparable to that of the best conventional subwoofers; it delivers the impact in action movie sound tracks as well as it conveys the subtleties of the most accomplished jazz bassists. A package of two subwoofer modules and one amplifier retails for $3,000, and the components also are available separately.

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