Home Electronics: On the Plus Side

<< Back to Robb Report, October 2003

Finally, this magazine has a reason to add some T+A to its pages. The German company, which, it should be noted, pronounces its name T plus A (an abbreviation for Theory plus Application), had been building speakers, amplifiers, preamplifiers, and digital components exclusively for Europeans since 1978. Now it has entered the U.S. market with the K6, a DVD/CD/multichannel processor/tuner for movie and music lovers who loathe the complications associated with hi-fi.

“We prefer to proceed step by step,” Siegfried Amft, the founder and president of T+A, says in explaining the company’s steady yet slow emergence from the Continent. “After becoming a key player in Germany, it was the next step to go into the European market. Now we are ready for the next step, and that is the U.S. market, which is very difficult and requires very competitive products.”

Amft believes that Americans are ready to embrace a luxury system designed expressly for non-audiophiles. Compact, uncluttered, and uncomplicated, the K6 ($6,995), paired with T+A’s Talis Mini 5.1 speaker system ($4,250), has little in common with most high-end home theaters, except first-rate performance. “The K6 may be a little bit peculiar or eccentric,” concedes Amft. “But as hi-fi equipment becomes more and more of an integral part of the living surroundings, it has to have excellent design, high quality, and perfect, easy function.”

No buttons are visible on the K6. An optical sensor on its underside turns the machine on and off with the wave of a hand across it, though it is not necessary to even rise from your seat to operate the device. The infrared remote sensor is located at the same level as the couch cushions, and the display window rises forward when powered and returns to flush in the off position.

There is also no need for an inch-thick instruction manual; the K6 recognizes different types of discs and how they should be played, and the “setup assistant” tailors the room settings by establishing loudspeaker distances, levels, and synchronization.

The matte finish blends in with any decor, eliminating the need for hi-fi camouflage, and the 20-inch-tall, 8-by-8-inch subwoofer fires to the sides so that it can be placed behind a sofa or chair. The K6 also hides the tangle of wires, because a lid conceals the rear panel, and a hollow column in the pedestal keeps cabling out of sight.

The K6 produces a picture that is clear and bright and sound that is big and natural. This is gear for those more concerned with enjoying realistic sound effects than evaluating the attack of the mid-range. In short, T+A gives high-end home theater performance without high-strung posturing.

T+A, 707.762.0914, www.taelektroakustik.com

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