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All About Home-Theatres

- Setting Up Your AV Room - Styling And Accessorising - Lavishly Designed Home Entertainment By AV Professionals

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BESTOF2009 M O R E T H A N 3 0 C AT E G O R I E S !

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EDITORIAL A monthly publication of Infomedia 18 Limited Executive Editor Senior Copy Editor Senior Correspondent Correspondent Features Writer/Sub-Editor

Swapnil Raje Nandita Rohit Kapadia Karan Gour Sumit Bhosle Divya Nair

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Editorial Advisory Board Mehul Mepani KJ Singh Brett Sequeira Sharath Chandran

To The Future

Creative Head & Group Photo Editor Shiresh R Karrale Senior Designer Mahesh Jadhav Santosh D Kamble PRINT AND PRODUCTION Executive VP - Printing Ananth R Iyer Deputy General Manager Production Shekhar Khot Production Team Dnyaneshwar Goythale Vikas Bobhate Ravikumar Potdar Kalpesh Dhanmeher Sanjay Shelar Ravi Salian SALES & MARKETING avmaxsales@infomedia18.in Senior VP - Sales Ruby Roy National Sales Head Badri Narayan West Nisha Advani Mehul Bajaj North Som Gupta Jitendra Gupta Bangalore Dennis Mathew Chennai Moses Philip Hyderabad Rocky Joseph Sr. Coordinator - Sales Umesh Desai Head Marketing Amit Seth Senior Manager - Marketing Sana Ally Subscription & News-stand Sales customercare@infomedia18.in Deputy General Manager Sunder Thiyagarajan Subscription Manager Sheetal Kotawdekar News Stand Kamal Bisht Kirupanand S Mahesh G S Devraj N Sachin Kamble Debraj Sur

Views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Infomedia 18 Ltd. Infomedia 18 Ltd does not take any responsibility for returning unsolicited material sent without due postal stamps for return postage. No part of this magazine can be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

n December 1999, when AV MAX started out, home-entertainment was a concept barely known in India. Discrete systems were a rarity and were looked at as an impractical option. Since it’s impossible to quantify influence, AV MAX’s impact is relatively unknown. But a decade of endorsing quality and performance surely has contributed to hi-fi’s stronger presence now in India. Today, there is an influx of brands, and you must have noticed that we have introduced a new brand or two almost every month this year, in our reviews.

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10 years is a long time to recall from the time that passed by, but we look back in time at some significant developments in audio and video that changed the future, right from the times the iPod was invented (Gadget Of The Decade pg 28) to the emergence of highdefinition (pg 26) that brought more vitality to gadgetry and technology. Flipping further ahead through this special issue, you will find us putting our money where our mouth is by singling out the ones that ranked high on our list and hailing them as the best of 2009. Believe me, it is never easy calling a spade a bloody shovel. Helping us move on is a fascinating piece of science fiction by our very own Karan Gour whose take on the future of hi-fi (pg 110) gives us something to look forward to, besides global warming. But that’s not all we have to surprise you with. Turn to the exclusive and exhaustive feature on setting up your home-theatre by Sumit Bhosle as he has excavated into the home-theatre world to help us understand better what it takes to set up a home-theatre and how to go about putting it all together (pg 76). What’s more, we have also included some breathtaking home-theatre projects (pg 86). As inconceivable as it sounds, these featured home-theatre projects are from India! If you think you have had your fill of home-entertainment, be cautioned, we have just begun… Have a great year ahead!

Swapnil Raje Executive Editor avmax@infomedia18.in

Copyright 2000 AV MAX. Printed by Mohan Gajria and published and edited by Lakshmi Narasimhan on behalf of Infomedia18 Ltd. Printed at Infomedia18 Ltd, Ruby House, ‘A’ Wing, J.K. Sawant Marg, Dadar (West), Mumbai 400 028 & Infomedia18 Ltd, Plot No 3, Sector No 7, Off Sion-Panvel Road, Nerul, Navi Mumbai 400 706 and published at Infomedia 18 Ltd, Ruby House, ‘A’ Wing, J.K. Sawant Marg, Dadar (West), Mumbai 400 028

future of hi-fi pg 110

PUBLISHED BY INFOMEDIA 18 LTD

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Contents FEATURES All About Home-Theatres 76 86 94

Start From Scratch: A Home-Theatre Story Project HT: Lavish Projects By AV Professionals The Finishing Touch: Styling And Accesories

News 18 Landmark of Hi-Fi 1999-2009

76

86

94

BEST 2009 OF

32

Home-Theatre

54

Stereo & Media Players

JANUARY 2010 Other Features 102 Love At First Sight & Sound! 110 Future Of Hi-Fi 115 New Launches

outside Cover Design

Reader’s Service 4 8 10 138

Santosh D Kamble

Editorial Letters Ask AV Buyer’s Shoplist

110 138

EDITORIAL 65 H O I C E

C

2009 BEST OF

69

Music

75

DVD/Blu-ray

BEST OF

HOME THEATRE This year has been responsible for taking the HD market a lot further than it has ever been. Pretty much every household trading in their CRT televisions for flat panels (thanks to the drop in LCD panel prices), which in turn has got them to get rid of those RCA cables and bring in the neat HDMI cables. LCD technology has finally got itself into a position worthy enough to challenge plasma. In fact, with the coming of LED-lit LCD televisions, plasma is now in dire need for a revolution. Probably the most effective development that has taken place is the coming of Blu-rays. We Indians have always taken our sweet time to get into newer technologies, but with Blu-rays, that sweet time has become a lot shorter. With BIG Videos doing their very best to get as many Blu-rays into the Indian market as they possibly can, DVDs have already started getting the cold shoulder from our movie-watching population. If you were to read our AV MAX issues starting from Jan 2009 to Nov 2009, you’d notice the rise in Blu-ray test material we’ve been using for home-theatre packages and systems. We managed to really milk the testing products for what they’re worth and hope that these awards will get the manufacturers to push themselves just a little further for the coming year of ‘Pure HD’.

JANUARY 2010 32

BEST OF

STEREO & MEDIA PLAYERS

There have been a handful of new stereo products introduced into the market, thanks to our Indian distributors who are doing their best to make serious listeners out of our Indian population. This year we’ve had products from countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, and have even had the opportunity this year to review a couple of professional audio bookshelves as well; a fine example of audio manufacturers taking our stereo market a lot more seriously than before. In the mid-range bracket, the amount of products has certainly increased, especially with stereo amplifiers. Our country hasn’t been known for their population of audiophiles, but judging by the exponential rise in the quality of products we’ve had this year in the stereo category, our audiophile community is most certainly growing. A lot more discussions can be heard in audio testing rooms around the country, discussions that aren’t so much about the price as they are about sonic nuances in build quality.

Portable Media Players Although the iPod is still at the top of its game, its competitors are getting a lot better at giving Apple a run for their money. Cellphones are getting equipped with some serious technology to get them humming to MP3s and DivX videos, with screen-sizes getting a lot larger than before. Airplanes are the best place to find evidence of the growing PMP market, with not a single pair of ears not plugged-in to a media player as soon as the captain gives the go ahead. The ergonomics and button technology of some of these players is exceptional, with designers giving serious thought to ease-of-use. By the end of last year, the highest capacity players one could acquire was about 80GB. Now, you can get yourself a 250GB PMP without creating a hole in your pocket. Next year, we can and should expect an entire laptop’s worth of technology dropped into a palm-sized PMP.

ALL ABOUT HOME-THEATRES

Starting From Scratch

A Home-Theatre Story

JANUARY 2010 76

Photograph Courtesy : Philips

Up until a few decades ago, the concept of home-theatres was only for the elite, but today the idea is spreading like wild fire across the world. If you have aspired to build your own HT setup, then Sumit Bhosle has prepared a complete ‘root-to-tip’ reference guide of how to help make your dreams come true. 77 JANUARY 2010

All about home-theatres PART II

HT

A Home-Theatre Story Part II

Earlier, we provided you with a complete guide to set up your own home-theatre. Alternatively, you can consider professional installers for the added advantage of their expertise, which can do wonders to achieve your dreams. Following are some hometheatre installers operating in India with a showcase of some of their projects.

Project by Sound

Wizard

illustration by espace

Acoustic Treatment

A classical grand home-cinema room with a lot of acoustical diffusion treatment on the walls. This is to evenly spread the surround field making the room sound larger than its actual size. A full room in a room floating shell design. Offers 100% soundproofing and excellent low frequency bass absorption.

3D Blueprint For The Project

Total Cost

Rs 1.5 Crore Equipment Rs 65 lakhs (Approx) Room Acoustics And Interiors Rs 25 lakhs (Approx) Furniture Rs 15 lakhs (Approx)

Equipment

Audio Front-Centre Surrounds Subwoofer Signal Processors Surround Processor

Genelec 1038 Genelec 8030A Genelec 7071A QSC DSP322ua Denon DN-A7100

Display Projector Projection Screen

Projection Design Cineo32 Screen Excellence

Source Player Panasonic BD80 Universal Remote Philips Pronto Power Condotioner Furmann PL-8E II

Location Hyderabad

Contact

Mob +91 9843 220155 Email: kumbha@soundwizard.net Web: www.soundwizard.net

THE HOME-CINEMA ROOM FOLLOWS THE CLASSICAL THEATRE DESIGN THEME AS THE REST OF THE HOUSE. THIS HOUSE IS A LIKE A (SMALL) PALACE SO ITS ONLY APPROPRIATE THAT THE HOME-CINEMA ROOM IS OF THE BEST QUALITY. Kumbha Young Grenier, Sound Wizard

ALL ABOUT HOME-THEATRES PART III

THE

A few pages ago, we have suggested some cool and must-have media products to bring home so that you have that ultimate advantage as our reader. The next step is to refurbish your home-theatre. This time, we provide a range of cool accessories for the final touch up that will transform your gadget room into a personalised home-theatre zone. What’s more, we have spoken to interior design experts who have offered pointers and insightful ideas for you.

S3 Sofa

MEDIA ACCESSORIES Lights Aesthetes, interior designers and connoisseurs alike, have always stressed on the importance of a suitable environment or cultivating an ambience for living.

Philips LivingColors The company gives you unlimited choices when it comes to where you want to place your lamps at home, enabling you to light up any part of the home in any of the 16 million colours that LivingColors is capable of creating. Price: Rs 11,999 Contact: Philips Web: www.philips.co.in

Universal Remotes/ Touchpanel Controller

Prestigo SRU9600 Price: Rs 7990 Contact: Philips Web www.philips.co.in

Protecto

A must-have for a die-hard technophile is the controller that empowers you to operate a range of product with the tip of your fingers. If you like going the extra mile, hate a pile of remotes on your sofa and prefer to integrate all your products into one remote then the universal remote is for you.

One For All Digital 5 Price: Rs 1,995 Contact: Universal Electronics Web: www.uei.com

One For All Protecto Price: Rs 1,495 Contact: Universal Electronics Web: www.uei.com

TPMC-4XG Wi-Fi Touchpanel

For those who desire an easy, affordable and portable solution to enjoy their digital media with friends and family on their TV, can check out the new flash TV that fits the bill.

Price: Rs 99,500 Contact: Actis Technologies, Mumbai Palak Hotha Ph: (022) 30808080

Amkette TV

TPMC-4XG Wi-Fi Touchpanel This touchpanel puts a highperformance 2-way wireless video 3.5" (diagonal) body in a sleek, stylish handheld package. Far more than a mere universal remote, the TPMC-4XG is ingeniously designed to provide a powerful wireless control solution that’s easy to hold and intuitive to use. Price: Rs 1 Lakh Contact: Actis Technologies, Palak Hotha: (022) 30808080

TPMC-3X Recently, Actis Technologies has launched the TPMC-3X Crestron 2.8" (diagonal) touchpanel controller, which sports a stylish, sleek and ergonomic design, a brilliant video touchscreen and enhanced wi-fi wireless performance. The remote also supports roaming amongst multiple wireless access points for extended coverage.

95 JANUARY 2010

Ultra Portable Flash TV

TPMC-3X

The flash TV from Amkette, is a minimedia player for Indian households to play your digital media on the big screen. The flash TV utilises less power and connects to a user’s TV or home-theatre and plays digital movies, music and photos and also the text files stored in the USB portable drives. Its compact design, allows easy portability so it can be carried around everywhere with ease. The flash TV offers high resolution images, audio and video playback complete with a remote control. Features: Dimensions (H x W x D): 6.6” x 6.6” X 1.6” ; Weight: 45gms (Approx) Price: Rs 2,995 Warranty: 1 Year Contact: Web: www.amkette.in Media: Sadhika Madaan: sadhika@exlpr. com/ Mob: 09953315413; Rahul Gandhi: rahul.gandhi@amkette.com/ Mob: 09310675585

Future Of Hi-fi

When it comes to the immediate future, past statistics is all you need to predict it. But when it comes to the distant future, a decade ahead to be exact, the imagination comes into play. As envisioned by Karan Gour and aided by illustrations of 3D artiste Ashwin Baluja about home-entertainment, 10 years from now.

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t took 900 years of monophonic church music to give rise to contrapuntal and harmonic music, marking the beginning of the Renaissance in western art/classical music. It took 200 years for that to transform into the Baroque era, a time during which ‘operas’ came into being. Another 150 years later came the

Classical era, 90 years later the Romantic and 85 years later the 20th Century era. After this point, the time period an era took to establish itself only kept getting shorter and shorter, a pattern that emerged in just about every field of human civilization. At the moment, musical eras are almost being established by the decade so why shouldn’t homeentertainment? We can see the ever-changing

shapes and forms of speakers, televisions, amplifiers, CD/DVD players, etc, that baffles most of man-kind primarily because our learning curves aren’t getting any steeper. So instead of fighting this confusing enemy, let’s join it by fuelling its reinventing powers with some of our own ideas. Let’s take a look at what the human mind is capable of in the field of home-entertainment a decade from now…

Speakers & The Surround Environment The fundamental law behind creating sound is pushing and pulling air to perpetuate vibrations. We’ve managed to do this job using paper, aluminium, graphite, Kevlar, ribbon and what-not, all having their fair share of moments under the sun. But if it’s air we’re manipulating, why not simply use air itself to do the manipulating. After all, metal cuts metal. Using extremely silent sprays of hot and cold air, one can do so much more than vibrate air. Hell, tornadoes and cyclones are formed by the mixture of these two forms of air. The hard part is the conversion of the electrical signals coming from the amplifier into triggers to control the sprays. Needless to say, these sprays need to be ultra-fast to be able to get air vibrating at 20kHz or even 10khz, however, let’s not forget that we do have ten years to figure that out. Till then, we can always resort to alternative methods of getting that ‘disappearing speaker’ look by developing a transparent material that’s rigid enough to become the cone of a conventional driver. Mix that with an open-baffle transparent cabinet and BINGO! All you’re looking at are circular magnets connected to a pair of speaker terminals, all hanging in mid-air. Taking the concept of ‘air sprays’ a little further, surround sound would be

as invisible as ever with hair-thin nozzlesprays that can be installed into your living room walls, taking in-wall speakers to a whole different level. At the same time, 5.1 would be long gone with less discrete surround sound environments taking its place. By this we mean that a living room’s walls can be converted into millions of speakers (all depending on the amount of pin-hole air-sprays you wish to install on the walls’ surfaces) and you have the entire 3D environment of your room to use for your surround sound. To add to this, the air sprays can be used for producing scents as well. So a film would come with a video track, audio tracks and a ‘smell’ track that let’s the audience in on the olfactory sense of the scene that’s being watched. The sprays can be hooked up to a little ‘scent maker’ that’s available even today (with its obvious limitations) as a USB device. As for the fourth and fifth sense, ‘taste’ and ‘touch’, the former isn’t something that’s applicable to most scenes in movies unless a character is eating or drinking something. But the latter will sooner or later need its place in the surround environment. What better way to do this than ‘virtual reality’, which is well on its way to becoming affordable by the common man.

Entertainment will no longer be about watching a film, but practically experiencing a film where you get to sit on the very sets of the film you’re watching. The actors are at your finger-tips, you can smell their cologne, the cigar smoke. The word ‘living’ in living room will suddenly start making more sense.

January 2010 110

The Experience The very chair that the viewer sits on is dotted with air nozzles for sound creation. A wire hooks up to the left temple of the viewer for ‘thought remote control’, the glasses and the glove-like device being responsible for portability of the 3D experience. You don’t necessarily need to be wearing the gloves and the glasses while sitting in your living room as the White Crystal Player itself projects the holographic video. 111 january 2010

BUYER'S GUIDE

buyer’s

SHOPLIST From All Across India

JANUARY 2010 138

FEATURED CITIES

The Audio People, Chennai

AHMEDABAD

ANAND

BANGALORE

BARODA

COIMBATORE CHENNAI

DELHI

GURGAON GUWAHATI HYDERABAD

JAIPUR KOLKATTA LUCKNOW LUDHIANA

MUMBAI

PUNE RAIPUR

SURAT

The next time you decide to go shopping for your AV gear, make sure you carry this exclusive piece of retailer information with you. To make things easier, we have provided a comprehensive list of retailers in your city — from the brands they sell to special discounts and after-sales service they offer. Go ahead, pick your city! 139 JANUARY 2010

YOUR SPACE

?ASK AV

well. An AV receiver may also have certain other features like an in built AM/FM tuner. Use of Yamaha RX-V350 in a stereo setup:

Your queries, on choosing the right speakers/amplifiers/ flat panels/ projectors/ HT system/etc will be answered here by AV MAX, feel free to ...

Dear sir, I am an occasional reader of your magazine and would have a few queries. I want to set up a nice “stereo setup with excellent SQ (sound quality)” for my living room. Can you suggest a total setup consisting of bookshelf speakers, CD/DVD player (it must play MP3 too), integrated stereo amplifier and speaker cables. My total budget is Rs 50,000. I have a Yamaha RXV350 AV receiver with me, will it help us in setting up a stereo setup? What is the difference between an integrated stereo amplifier and an AV receiver? Regards, Nilesh Sadanand Sawant Architect Hi Nilesh, We appreciate your interest in our magazine. Here are the answers to your questions. Difference between Integrated Stereo Amplifier and AV Receiver: The basic difference between these two components is the fact that integrated stereo amplifiers cater only to two channels and an AV receiver caters to all the 5.1 channels (sometimes 7.1) in a surround sound setup. While a stereo integrated amplifier has no provision for video, an AV receiver can receive and transmit video as

POINTERS To help us recommend the best options, you are requested to furnish details such as: » Budget » Room Size » Your Preference To Sound And Movies Send in your queries to avmax@infomedia18.in

Yes you can very much use the Yamaha RX-V350 in a stereo setup. Assuming that you already have connected a 5.1 speaker set to your RX-V350, you can go with the current speakers that you have or you can upgrade them to some other speakers of your choice. You will only have to connect a decent CD player to the CD input of the RX-V350 and you are all set. For CD player you have options from NAD, Cambridge Audio (Azur 550C) and Denon (DCD 510AE). The Stereo Setup The best solution to this answer is our December ’09 issue. In this issue, we have featured two options that fit in your budget. Both the setups ie the TViX HD M6500A/Norge 2060, Norge Millenium MKII speakers and the DNM Labs setup are great sounding setups, especially the TViX/Norge setup as the TViX gives you the flexibility of playing a number of other folders than just MP3 like FLAC and OGG. The DNM Labs has an advantage of being an All-In-One system which lets you the freedom of not buying an amplifier and saving some bucks. Here you also have an option of going for an altogether different setup in the form of discrete bookshelf speakers like the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 or the Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom. You can opt for a CD-amp combo from

Denon like the DCD 510AE/PMA 510AE. Dear Sir, I like to read your magazine and love to follow your reviews. Coming to the main issue, recently I bought a Yamaha Amp AX-397 and Yamaha speakers NS333 for audio purpose only. Can you suggest a good quality CD player @ around Rs 10 to 20k? Regards. Sunil Hi Sunil, There are a couple of options that you can look into. You can opt for something from DNM Labs wherein you have an option in the form of their latest All-In-One CD player. You can also try Denon’s DCD 510AE which is priced at Rs 18K approximately or the Cambridge Audio Azur 340C priced at Rs 17.5K approximately. Further if you can increase your budget by a good 5K to 10K, you can also try CD players from Arcam, Cambridge Audio (Azur 540C) or NAD. All these CD players will work absolutely fine with your Yamaha AX-397 and the NS333 speakers. You can also try a unique option of an HDD media player from TViX Western Digital or Seagate. These players can also play .wav or .flac files which can give you an experience as good as a CD player. You can also try the portable player like the Apple iPod or the Cowon 02, but only with the compromise of listening to compressed music. But this will help you in a way to save space and money both.

Yamaha AX-397/Yamaha NS-333

JANUARY 2009 10

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