Official Anthem BLX 200 Owner's thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 94 Old 10-20-2009, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello, everyone

I've heard some rumors that Anthem is going for a new universal BD player.

Has anyone known or heard anything about it?

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post #2 of 94 Old 10-20-2009, 07:16 AM
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Some information from CEDIA 2009.

It would be interesting to find out who's platform it's based on.

http://www.soundstage2.com/avtour2009/ced_dly01.html
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post #3 of 94 Old 10-20-2009, 08:19 AM
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Its not a universal as in sacd/dvd audio at least

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...ad.php?t=58851
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post #4 of 94 Old 10-20-2009, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwt View Post

Its not a universal as in sacd/dvd audio at least

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...ad.php?t=58851

I thought it was a universal one.

However, it might be worth exploring it - when it appears - since the news from Anthem say that it's built from scratch.

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post #5 of 94 Old 11-28-2009, 11:50 AM
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Has anybody had a chance to see one of these yet? If so, did you get a chance to find out how load times are?
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post #6 of 94 Old 12-17-2009, 12:44 PM
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This thing is fast...very fast. Loads UP in less than 30 seconds to first menu screen and navigation is just as quick. Impressed so far, though it seems to rely on preamp section of your gear to do quality scaling.
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post #7 of 94 Old 12-17-2009, 05:29 PM
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Data sheet posted @ Anthem (bottom of page):

http://www.anthemav.com/NewSitev2.0/...X/BLXHome.html
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post #8 of 94 Old 12-18-2009, 08:32 AM
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No 7.1 analog output which I need. Seems to be geared to those with Anthem processors.
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post #9 of 94 Old 12-18-2009, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apesma View Post

No 7.1 analog output which I need. Seems to be geared to those with Anthem processors.

That's a real shame. I have an Anthem AVM20 processor, but it does not decode the latest lossless codecs, so multichannel outputs is a must for me.

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post #10 of 94 Old 12-18-2009, 11:44 AM
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Yes it is geared to Anthem or any other processor that has HDMI 1.0 with audio capability[or higher]. Those people won't need the analog outputs.

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post #11 of 94 Old 12-22-2009, 03:57 PM
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I got a chance to see one of these in action today. It is very quick loading. The aesthetic design is kind of off- it's not quite a match for the Anthem Statement line, but it clearly looks like it was supposed to be close. The dealer was comparing it to a BDP-09 Pioneer, and they were claiming the picture looked slightly better- I did not see them compared so I can't comment on that. They did not know who the OEM partner for the player was.
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post #12 of 94 Old 12-22-2009, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osiris13 View Post

I got a chance to see one of these in action today. It is very quick loading. The aesthetic design is kind of off- it's not quite a match for the Anthem Statement line, but it clearly looks like it was supposed to be close. The dealer was comparing it to a BDP-09 Pioneer, and they were claiming the picture looked slightly better- I did not see them compared so I can't comment on that. They did not know who the OEM partner for the player was.

Yeah, I'm not digging the looks very much.
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post #13 of 94 Old 01-06-2010, 01:06 PM
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Any updates on this player?

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post #14 of 94 Old 01-06-2010, 01:47 PM
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I've seen the Anthem player at my dealers store. Didn't have time to see it in action. I was told that it has a softer picture than the Denon 2010 blu ray player but much better audio.

I'll report back once I spend some time with it.

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post #15 of 94 Old 01-06-2010, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybk View Post

I've seen the Anthem player at my dealers store. Didn't have time to see it in action. I was told that it has a softer picture than the Denon 2010 blu ray player but much better audio.

I'll report back once I spend some time with it.

Interesting. I wonder how the 1s and 0s become "softer" on their way to the video display. Assuming the player is connected via HDMI of course. How can one image from the same disc be "softer" than the same image from the same disc coming from a different player? The internal video processing would have to be automatically "softening" the image in the digital domain for that to happen. Is that likely to be happening? Maybe 2 years ago... not so much today. Frankly, I'd be surprised if there was any real difference. Sometimes people will swear there's a difference - but they end up assigning things that USED TO BE POSSIBLE with analog video to digital video and things just don't happen in the digital domain that would happen in the analog domain. This also assumes the same fixed-pixel display was being used too... of course. The display's pixels aren't going to "go soft" for one player and not for another and digital pixels don't bleed into their neighbors. So again.. unless the video processing in the "soft" player has some magical digital domain softening algorithm (or the other player has some sort of artificial sharpening being applied) both players will "look" essentially the same.

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post #16 of 94 Old 01-07-2010, 07:17 PM
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I received an e-mail response today from Anthem letting me know the BLX 200 is available and attached a fact sheet.

I'm surprised with the popularity of Anthem processors here that we haven't heard much about this player. Being very satisfied with my AVM20 processor and Anthem's service, I am interested in this player. That said, I've already been on one firmware adventure when I purchased a BD player that was just released (Pioneer 51) and do not want to go on another.

I was very disappointed to see no multichannel analog outputs (my AVM20 has no HDMI) on the BLX 200, but Anthem tells me that audio from the digital outputs is much better than DVD. So my question is, how much audio quality is lost when using the lossy tracks as opposed to the lossless tracks on BDs?

Have there been any reliable reviews yet?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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post #17 of 94 Old 01-08-2010, 04:20 AM
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I'm surprised with the popularity of Anthem processors here that we haven't heard much about this player.

I love my D2/P5 combo but this BDP doesn't get me excited.
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post #18 of 94 Old 01-08-2010, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

I was very disappointed to see no multichannel analog outputs (my AVM20 has no HDMI) on the BLX 200, but Anthem tells me that audio from the digital outputs is much better than DVD. So my question is, how much audio quality is lost when using the lossy tracks as opposed to the lossless tracks on BDs?

You will NEVER get Lossless sound quality from the Anthem player with your existing processor. The best you will get is 1.5Mb/s from TrueHD or DTS-HD MA. There were a few DVDs made with DTS at 1.5Mb/s (Superbit DVDs mostly). That 1.5Mb/s limit means you lose 3/4 or more of what is encoded in the TrueHD or DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Yes it, it will mostly be better than DVD (DD was commonly 384kb/s and DTS was commonly 750 kb/s on most DVDs) so 1.5 Mb/s is better than most DVDs - but it's not equivalent to lossless audio.

Sounds to me like you are an ideal customer for the Oppo BD-83SE which is about the same price, but it has dedicated stereo outputs AND 7.1 analog outputs, both with higher quality D/A conversion than the standard Oppo BD-83. You'll have all the benefits of lossless audio formats AND support for DVD-Audio and SACD plus the best DVD upconversion I've ever seen (only the Lumagen Radiance processors are as good and they sell for $4000-$6000 depending on model). If at some point you do get a newer processor with HDMI, the Oppo still produces excellent sound quality via HDMI. Of course, none of the players we are talking about right now will support 3-D. If you think you'll be interested in 3-D in the future, the Playstation 3 is the only current player known to be capable of 3-D support (with a firmware update said to be in the works) - and it's only $300, but you're back to no analog outputs and only Toslink as your audio connection (they havd HDMI, of course).

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post #19 of 94 Old 01-08-2010, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn View Post

You will NEVER get Lossless sound quality from the Anthem player with your existing processor. The best you will get is 1.5Mb/s from TrueHD or DTS-HD MA. There were a few DVDs made with DTS at 1.5Mb/s (Superbit DVDs mostly). That 1.5Mb/s limit means you lose 3/4 or more of what is encoded in the TrueHD or DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Yes it, it will mostly be better than DVD (DD was commonly 384kb/s and DTS was commonly 750 kb/s on most DVDs) so 1.5 Mb/s is better than most DVDs - but it's not equivalent to lossless audio.

Sounds to me like you are an ideal customer for the Oppo BD-83SE which is about the same price, but it has dedicated stereo outputs AND 7.1 analog outputs, both with higher quality D/A conversion than the standard Oppo BD-83. You'll have all the benefits of lossless audio formats AND support for DVD-Audio and SACD plus the best DVD upconversion I've ever seen (only the Lumagen Radiance processors are as good and they sell for $4000-$6000 depending on model). If at some point you do get a newer processor with HDMI, the Oppo still produces excellent sound quality via HDMI. Of course, none of the players we are talking about right now will support 3-D. If you think you'll be interested in 3-D in the future, the Playstation 3 is the only current player known to be capable of 3-D support (with a firmware update said to be in the works) - and it's only $300, but you're back to no analog outputs and only Toslink as your audio connection (they havd HDMI, of course).

Thanks for the feedback. That's the kind of information I was looking for and what I suspected.

Actually, the Anthem is a bit out of my price range but I was interested as I am very happy with my AVM20. I agree that for my needs the Oppo 83SE (or if I couldn't stretch the budget that far, the 83) might be a better choice for me.

I'm in the process of deciding if I want to replace my Pioneer 51 and am checking out my options.

Thanks again.

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post #20 of 94 Old 01-15-2010, 07:36 PM
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Wow, I guess there really isn't much interest in this player!

Given Anthem's reputation for excellent products and service, I'm quite surprised.

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post #21 of 94 Old 01-16-2010, 04:29 AM
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You will NEVER get Lossless sound quality from the Anthem player with your existing processor. The best you will get is 1.5Mb/s from TrueHD or DTS-HD MA. There were a few DVDs made with DTS at 1.5Mb/s (Superbit DVDs mostly). That 1.5Mb/s limit means you lose 3/4 or more of what is encoded in the TrueHD or DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Yes it, it will mostly be better than DVD (DD was commonly 384kb/s and DTS was commonly 750 kb/s on most DVDs) so 1.5 Mb/s is better than most DVDs - but it's not equivalent to lossless audio.


While your basic premise is correct, some of your numbers are off just a bit. DVD's most common DD bit rate is at 448kbps, and domestic Superbit DTS titles were all 754kbps
The handfull of DTS tittles that featured 1536kbps were early releases before DTS released the "half bit rate" which became the standard for DVD.

Saturn,

Keep in mind that companion track for True HD tracks are often encoded at 640, or 448 kbps on BD, so they don't offer much or any upgrade from DVD in those cases, but it seems most studios use DTS HD MA as their primary encode which in almost all cases have the 1536kbps core track that is accessible via SPDIF or coaxial digital connections. So overall yes you can expect a slight audio quality increase till you upgrade your preamp to get lossless capability.

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post #22 of 94 Old 01-16-2010, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apesma View Post

No 7.1 analog output which I need. Seems to be geared to those with Anthem processors.

I think it is geared to mainstream users. Analog outs are so limiting and provide an inferior sound when attempting to pass the analog signal through the run of the mill receiver... It's only a matter of time before analog outs are gone.

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post #23 of 94 Old 01-16-2010, 10:46 AM
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I'm passing my analog sound through a BelCanto six channel preamp. Sounds damn good too.
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post #24 of 94 Old 01-16-2010, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think it is geared to mainstream users. Analog outs are so limiting and provide an inferior sound when attempting to pass the analog signal through the run of the mill receiver... It's only a matter of time before analog outs are gone.

While I certainly do not know Anthem's true intent, at it's pricepoint it doesn't seem to be aimed at mainstream buyers who, IMO, are looking at Panasonic, Samsung, LG, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apesma View Post

I'm passing my analog sound through a BelCanto six channel preamp. Sounds damn good too.

+1

My Anthem AVM20 does a fantastic job on the multi analog inputs whether passing straight through or redigitizing.

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post #25 of 94 Old 01-23-2010, 03:43 PM
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This is a very good player. Its sound and picture are better than the Denon 2010. I have compared the 2 of them back to back.
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post #26 of 94 Old 01-24-2010, 02:25 PM
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I've seen about 15 or so Blu-ray players in my system so far ($129 to $3500, from Gen 1 to one that came out in December 2009), and the only time the picture from Blu-ray has ever looked different in any way is if the player has a setting that "messes" with the data on the disc and once that setting is identified and changed so that the player doesn't dink with the data (or at least not as much), the picture returns to so similar to every other BD player that there are essentially no differences.

Another situation in the Blu-ray disc player world is that manufacturers aside from the Japanese giants, simply don't have the resources (engineering and $$$$) to design a Blu-ray disc player from scratch. So there are just a few companies supplying ALL the Blu-ray disc players on the market at any given time. Even some of the giants share components... for example, the first Sony and Pioneer Blu-ray players have identical circuit boards inside - they are moved around a bit, but the drive and circuit boards were all the same (and Pioneer charged $500 more for putting an Ethernet port in a spot that was empty on Sony boards).

The biggest differences in Blu-ray players now is DVD upconversion quality and whether or not the player will play SACD and DVD-Audio. And whether they have analog outputs or not - and if they do have analog outputs, are they stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 - and how comprehensive the menu us for setting up the analog outputs to be used in your system (distances, speaker size, subwoofer settings, etc.).

Bear in mind... it is SIMPLE to fool the human brain when it comes to images. If ACCURACY is the reference, you can't really evaluate a player unless you have a known accurate reference. And that accurate reference means that if there's a player with a picture you like BETTER than the accurate reference, it's very likely you are having a trick played on you by the manufacturer of the player with the "better" picture doing something to make you like the picture better in spite of it being less accurate. I KNOW that the Sony Playstation 3 and Oppo BD-83 are "accurate" Blu-ray players in that they faithfully reproduce what is on the disc (it's not 100% perfect in either case, but very very close). So when someone says the "picture is better" than either of these 2 players, it gets my attention - with skepticism until I've had a chance to investigate myself.

Keep in mind that there is a standard of accuracy for retrieving data from BDs... the bits are right there on the disc - and the video has to be converted from 4:2:0 stored on the disc to 4:2:2 to be transmitted to the display. This conversion process isn't that tricky - but a manufacturer who wanted to mess with your head might cheat a bit during that conversion process and throw in some edge enhancement or other subtle "enhancement" that makes the data less like what was on the disc, but which might lead you to decide that player has a "better" picture.

In the old days of analog it was almost given that each new generation of tape or disc player or video display would produce a better picture in ways that are/were demonstrably better. In digital video - the 1s and 0s can only be accurate or inaccurate and being MORE inaccurate might be misinterpreted as "better" if the inaccuracy was premeditated and well-implemented. It would be kind of cool if we could get a tool with known video data on it and be able to analyze that data for inaccuracies (with software of course) - it would tell you right away who was giving you more accuracy and who was fooling around. It might be possible to have such a tool some day.

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post #27 of 94 Old 01-24-2010, 07:49 PM
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You obviously have not looked at the picture from the Anthem. I totally disagreed with the 1 and 0 statement. While the data does travel in 1s and 0s, the way in which the data is read and processed from the disc before it is transferred will affect the final outcome. Same can be said for HDMI audio. There is a huge difference in sound from all of the Blu Ray players that I have auditioned. If you cannot see a difference in picture quality or hear a difference in audio quality I would suggest that it is due to the quality of the equipment that the player is connected to.
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post #28 of 94 Old 01-25-2010, 11:11 AM
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You obviously have not looked at the picture from the Anthem. I totally disagreed with the 1 and 0 statement. While the data does travel in 1s and 0s, the way in which the data is read and processed from the disc before it is transferred will affect the final outcome. Same can be said for HDMI audio. There is a huge difference in sound from all of the Blu Ray players that I have auditioned. If you cannot see a difference in picture quality or hear a difference in audio quality I would suggest that it is due to the quality of the equipment that the player is connected to.

You're shooting blanks here. You can't be better than accurate when it comes to digital video. Digital video is 1s and 0s PERIOD. And the player can read and convert the data accurately or not. And since you had no known-accurate reference present when you viewed the Anthem player, you simply cannot make any judgement calls because your (and my) perceptions are so easily fooled that you simply cannot rely on uncontrolled observations.

Digital video and digital music are 2 very different things. Music is a continuous playback process - even though the data may be digital, there's still an analog component that's well understood. Malcolm Omar Hawksford has extensive mathematical proofs of how jitter (an analog "wiggling" of bits in time) can make obvious changes in what we hear. Thie is completely understood by anyone who has ever read through his proofs. Digital video is COMPLETELY without any analog component. ~6.2 million pixels worth of data go into a buffer and sit there until it is time for them to flash up on the screen for 1/60th of a second. Those pixels disappear to be replaced with the next ~6.2 million pixels of data - it matters not whether the pixels all arrive at the same time or not... the buffer lets all of them get "settled" before it's time to flash them up on the screen. The 1s and 0s in the buffer are either accurately represent what is on the disc or they don't. There is no room for discussion on that point. The degree to with they don't agree is the only question and that is resolved by using a know-accurate reference player and observing the accurate player and player under evaluation using the same input on the same display. Anything other than that leaves everything open to question and makes the observation invalid.

I'm just trying to be real here - I'm not questioning that you saw something you took for "better". I'm questioning whether it was better (more accurate than players known to be relatively accurate) or whether it was a trick... either intentional or unintentional. And if it was a trick, whether it came from Anthem or whether it was a result of settings on the display or who knows what. I can CERTAINLY create conditions where a "worse" BD player looks as good as or possibly even "better" than an accurate reference display - if I can do that, anybody can do that.

The data on the disc is the reference - anything that claims to make the data "better" than what is on the disc is playing tricks. Take a sharper image for example... the data on the disc defines the edge between, say, an actor's face and the sky. If the player reads the data, converts it to 4:2:2 and sends it to the display without dinking with the data, you see what the director and cinematographer intended you to see. But if the player adds some edge enhancement to sharpen the 1s and 0s defining the outline of the face and sky... that's less accurate than the data that is on the disc, but you might be led to think what you are seeing is "better" even in a side-by-side with a reference player. Which player should then be your reference? The one that's more accurate or the one that looks sharper than the accurate image? This is rhetorical - just pointing out how digital video can muddy thoughts and impressions. The player with the sharpest image or most vibrant color is not necessarily the best player... in terms of accuracy. If you don't care about accuracy/fidelity you can simply use whatever appeals to you. But if you do value accuracy/fidelty, having a known-accurate reference is the only way to ferret-out the "cheats" who try to improve on accuracy.

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post #29 of 94 Old 03-13-2010, 08:04 AM
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I own it, just got it hooked up. It's very simple, fast as hell, onscreen GUI is well done, but I need more time with it to judge the quality of audio/video. I am coming from having a Pioneer 94HD, which was decent, but dog slow, and couldn't handle DTS HD MA.

To Saturn, to correct you, this player does indeed decode all available audio formats, or if you prefer, will send them bitstream to be unpacked and decoded in for instance the D2V or other capable processor. As noted by others though, this must be HDMI, no analog connects here. Why the heck would I want my transport converting to analog? I want my transport to grab 1's and 0's and be a good, fast transport. I have other components for that.

-Brian
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post #30 of 94 Old 03-15-2010, 07:15 PM
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Any more reports Brian?

Cheers from the Great White North.
My gear: ANTHEM AVM50v, STATEMENT A5 - ARCAM DV139, CD17 - PANASONIC 65VT30 (THX Calibrated) - SONY BDP-S5000ES - PANAMAX 5500EX - M&K V1250THX sub - TANNOY EYRIS DC3, DCC, DC1 - AUDIOQUEST Cables - SHUNYATA RESEARCH Power cords - HARMONY One - PRIMACOUSTIC Recoil Stabilizers
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