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This is the place to find out about the latest television and stereo sales, why 4K TVs are great and which surround sound receiver is best for you. Check us out frequently for information about monthly audio/video sales and tidbits about the electronics industry.
Custom cabinet build for electronics, turntable and record collection
Salamander Designs audio video credenza
Pro-Ject S-Shape turntable sounds awesome and looks like art!
Martin Logan ESL-C center channel speaker on custom cut shelf
Big, bad speakers sound amazing...Martin Logan Motion 60XTi tower speaker pair
Today’s Project of the Day is one of the jobs that we love that consisted of good audio, custom cabinets, proper design and higher-end audio video components.
In a nutshell, this client was looking for great audio in a challenging space. They also are very design-conscious so they wanted certain things to stand out and other elements to be hidden. We started with a listening demo in our showroom to let them experience some of the attributes of our better speakers and turntables. This led to the speaker choice of Martin Logan and a turntable by Pro-Ject. Gotta enjoy those old records!
Lots of design was needed to ensure that the unique look they wanted would be functional yet stylish. The end result of custom-built cabinets that hold their record collection along with one of our Salamander Oslo furniture pieces made for a wonderful, seamless aesthetic.
We opted for an audio video receiver by Marantz to power all of the speakers and to provide the source control and streaming service for this surround sound area and for speakers in other areas of the house. The control for these other rooms is all controlled via the Marantz Heos app on their phones. Click HERE for a Heos video and review.
The front three speakers provided amazing audio along with a tasteful look that matched the décor and the clients’ tastes.
The equipment used in this set-up included:
Marantz SR8015 surround sound AVR (Our receiver of the year for 2020...click HERE)
Martin Logan Motion 60XTi tower speakers (Click HERE for a video review)
Martin Logan ESL-C center channel speaker
Martin Logan Dynamo1100 and Dynamo800 powered subwoofers
URC MX990i universal remote (Click HERE for a video about our remotes)
Wattbox 12 outlet line conditioner
Salamander Designs OSLO323 audio video credenza
NOTE: Projects like this don’t take place out of thin air. There is a great deal of proper planning to ensure wiring needs, ventilation, custom design (look at the edge of the shelf that the center channel sits on) and more. Have you been looking for a San Diego audio video company to help with a project like this? If so, give us a call and we can show you how we can help you create your own dream media room.
Marantz SR8015 AVR - This is an awesome heart of your new surround sound system
Covid led to many nightmares but one in particular had to do with supply chain and electronics. As an organization, we took a closer look at Marantz as they make quality components AND they did a great job actually spitting out receivers (where some other companies failed miserably. Yamaha…I’m looking at you). After playing with a bunch of them and installing many units, we’ve been very pleased with the performance and feature set. Marantz has always been known for high-end audio but we are a company that believes what we see and test…not what is advertised. After doing this, we are now proud Marantz dealers and have added them to our line-up! Hooray!
Thinking about Marantz audio/video receivers and confused about what works for you? Here’s some questions that will help you narrow down the options:
- How many devices to I have to hook up to the AVR (AVR = audio/video receiver)? And do I foresee adding any more devices later on? These would be things such as cable boxes, Blu-ray players, streaming devices like Roku or AppleTV, gaming consoles, etc.
- Do I have any devices that are old, legacy devices, that don’t have HDMI connections? These would include VCRs, older gaming systems like the original Wii, old camcorders, etc.
- How many speakers and subwoofers do I have in my surround sound system?
- Do I have other listening areas that I want hooked up to my system: 2 zones, 3 zones, etc. These could be areas such as the backyard, Master Bedroom, Kitchen, etc.
- Do you want the best surround sound experience possible for your TV and movie viewing?
Answering these questions first can really help narrow down and pinpoint the perfect AVR for your needs and your needs in the future. Now I’m going to share some Marantz surround sound options as one of these just may be perfect for your system!
Marantz NR1711 Slim-line AVR $999.99
- 7.2 surround sound AVR with 50 watts/ch with Zone 2 capability (7.2 = 7 speakers and 2 subwoofers).
- This offers 6 HDMI connections total, all of which support 4K, and 1 supporting 8K.
- Does not support HDMI upconversion so this wouldn’t be the best AVR if you have some of those legacy devices.
- This is a slim-line model, which means it is a lot shorter in height compared with the housing of the regular audio/video receivers, so this can fit into tighter spaces if that is something you need.
Marantz SR5015 $1,299.99
- 7.2 surround sound AVR but with double the wattage of the NR1711 at 100 watts/ch with Zone 2 capability (Zone 2 = Having secondary audio in another area such as outside, Kitchen, etc.).
- 6 HDMI connections supporting 4K and 1 of which supporting 8K, but has an extra analog connection. This is good if you have multiple audio devices such as CD players, Sonos or like streaming devices, turntables, etc.
- This AVR also offers a 2nd HDMI out which is perfect if you have a TV in another room that you want connected to this system.
- Does support HDMI upconversion, so bring on those legacy devices you want to keep!
- Incorporates Marantz's Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules (HDAM) which offer exquisite detail and dynamic range while reducing noise.
Marantz SR8015 $3,799.99
- 11.2 surround sound AVR with 140 watts/ch capable of supporting up to 2 additional zones.
- Toroidal transformer for high-current design. Provides fantastic transients and punch for music and movie performance.
- Copper chassis along with GOLD PLATED speaker terminals giving you better connection and longer lasting corrosion free terminal connections.
- 8 HDMI connections all supporting 4K, 1 of which also supporting 8K. 6 analog connections. 8K upscaling on all inputs.
- Supports those legacy devices with full HDMI upconversion.
- Built-in digital-to-analog convertors for Zone 2 playback which means less wires needed to get your devices to play through those additional zones you have. Less wires = less money and less mess!
- IMAX® Enhanced reproduces the full dynamic range of specially encoded IMAX soundtracks from compatible sources.
- Includes upgraded Audyssey MultEQ® XT32 — one of the industry's best room-correction platforms.
Marantz also includes HEOS which is a popular streaming solution. Sonos and Heos are the two popular streaming sources to play music through today's systems. With Marantz, you don't have to buy an additional $450.00 unit to enjoy great tunes (this is how much the separate Sonos streamer called the Sonos PORT costs). Heos is already built-in to their receivers. See link HERE for a video about Heos.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the great sounding Marantz audio/video receivers that we sell. We carry their entire line-up including their separate pre-amplifiers and amplifiers for REALLY crazy sound.
Interested? Let San Diego Marantz dealers, Aire Theater Designs, help in determining how Marantz can enhance your life musically.
Introducing the URC MX790 universal remote!
We have carried URC remotes since our inception in 2006 and one of our team members has been programming them for even longer. One thing that URC does is completely overbuild their remotes so instead of bringing out a new one every year or so like most products, you typically see new products every 5-10 YEARS. This is one of those cases as URC's new MX-790 remote is replacing their old model (MX-780) that existed for over a decade. We put together a video at the link below that details this remote and why a universal remote is a good thing.
Here's a scoop from one of our team members Danny:
"URC has released its new MX-790 universal remote control. It essentially is going to serve as the replacement for the well-known MX-780 remote control. I have had a chance to see and handle the new remote, and after doing so, I can say that I like what I see. Some may say, ‘Why change something if it works?’ Or even, ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. And while I do mostly agree with those statements, I can appreciate the couple things that URC did change to ensure this remote stays current and relevant. One major change was in the screen. They went with a larger easier-to-see screen which is a 2” TFT LCD in comparison to the MX-780’s smaller screen which was a 1.5” LCD. The other main difference is the actual body of the remote. It is now much sleeker and more ergonomically designed. To put it simply, it just feels better in the hand and that goes a long ways. URC also changed some buttons that are more with the times. For example, you now see symbols for elements such as fast-forward, play, pause, etc. instead of having words for these functions. This is more ubiquitous with what you find on today's devices such as cable boxes, streaming devices, etc. so it may be easier for people to recognize what those buttons do.
The MX-790 will still be able to handle up to 48 different devices, control those devices directly by IR (infrared...point at the component to make it work) or by RF (radio frequency - you can hide the components away and the remote works from anywhere in the vicinity) through a RF module such as the MRF-350 so you can control your system through walls or cabinet doors, and is programmed on the computer using URC’s Complete Control programming suite, but most importantly, is still extremely easy to use for the customer – 1 BUTTON PUSH DOES IT ALL. So it has all the benefits of the trusty MX-780 with a few positive additions! It is a solid work horse at this price point of $299.99."
Here's one of our old articles that also details why a universal remote may enhance your life.
Want to make your audio/video systems or smart home easy to operate? Give us a call if you are in the So Cal or San Diego area and let our remote control programmers take the complication out of watching TV. It's supposed to be enjoyable!
We are URC universal remote dealers, RTI universal remote dealers and URC Total Control dealers.
Heos vs. Sonos - Who has the best streaming music player today? Is Heos better than Sonos?
We wrote an article on this a couple years ago and we've seen that this topic is VERY popular today as it has become our leader in all-time hits! We decided to make a video that details some of the basics when it comes to:
The app itself
The ecosystem of related products such as streaming music players, soundbars and portable speakers
The ease of use
Pros and cons of both
Check out our video in the link below that points out the features of both. NOTE: As much as we wanted to crown a champion (a few years ago, we deemed Sonos as the streaming player KING in their previous Face-off), we did see benefits to both and in our opinion, Heos has gotten much better from a reliability stand-point than it was a few years ago.
NOTE: With both of these systems, having a GOOD wired and WiFi network is very important. See our video about "How to fix Sonos" below that details some important network steps that are pertinent for both Heos and Sonos.
Instead of typing up a book about these two streaming competitors, we've created about 25 minutes of content between both these videos. This should help you decide which is better for you between Sonos or Heos AND it will aid in setting your network up correctly to accommodate both systems.
Products used for this testing were:
Sonos AMP streaming amplifier
Sonos PORT streaming player
Sonos ONE portable speaker
Sonos BEAM soundbar
Denon HOME 150 portable speaker
Denon HOME SOUND BAR 550 soundbar
Denon HEOS LINK streaming player
Denon HEOS HSAMP streaming amplifier
Marantz NR1711 audio/video receiver
Got other questions about the best streaming music players? If you're in the So Cal or San Diego region, give us a call and let us help you decide between Heos and Sonos.
We are ecstatic as one of our long-term employees just came back to our team! This individual happens to have a very similar ear for audio as I do. As a result, I was interested to hear what he had to say about our Martin Logan Motion60XTi tower speakers as we added them to our line-up before he took off. In our earlier review, we touted them as one of the best speakers we had heard under $5K/pair and we highly recommended them. See below for some info.
Here's what our guy Danny had to say once he gave them a test drive:
"I am going to say right off the bat how impressed I am with these speakers. Their musicality and precision is incredible. These speakers have me wanting to use words such as - delightful, magical, transcendental, whimsical. I could go on and on. They literally left me feeling giddy and excited and entranced, as if taken on an immersive hands-on journey that left a huge smile on my face that only a child in the world’s biggest toy store could understand. These ML Motion 60 XTis are the real deal!
There is amazing separation and clarity in all three ranges (highs, mids and lows/bass) which allowed me to easily and distinctly pick up on each and every sound and instrument being played. The incredible precision and speed and clarity of the tweeters are mind blowing. The mid-range is nicely present and punchy without sounding muddled or messy. They produce a fantastic full range soundstage and image in your mind, literally taking you inside the recording. This allows you to actually feel and “see” the instruments being played on the various spots on the stage.
I used a couple demo albums that are well recorded and mastered. While listening to Hotel California on the “Hell Freezes Over” CD from the Eagles, it seemed I could actually see and hear each grain of rice in the rice shaker as Don Henley shakes it to the beat while belting out his notes. I fully came to appreciate the first track on Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” album (I just wasn’t a fan before). That static rip that plays on a loop in the song actually has impressive depth and character to it. These are things that I wasn’t able to hear before on other speakers but that come to life on these Motion 60XTi speakers. The vocals sound clear and present, residing right behind the instrumentation of the music – not too forward, but not lost in the back either. WONDERFUL – AMAZING!
After my preliminary testing, I can confidently and whole-heartedly say that these Martin Logans are now my favorite speakers by far that we carry. And to tell you the truth, they are a STEAL at their list price of $3750/pr. For anyone who loves music and movies and loves actually getting lost in the experience, these are the floor-standing speakers for you! You will not be disappointed!"
It was nice to have my listening observations confirmed. Moral of the story: Martin Logan really just rocks.
Want Martin Logan speakers in Southern California or San Diego? Give us a call and we'd be glad to get you rocking as well!
Sonos out of stock - Order today and it ships 10/15/2021...what's up with that?
Sonos out of stock for 3 1/2 months? No surround sound receivers in the United States? These are some uncharted times in the electronics industry. Here's some information about what is going on and the best way to proceed if you are looking to buy any forms of Sonos, AV receivers or many other types of electronics in the near future.
There is currently a perfect storm of a semi-conductor shortage, a fire in a chipset factory in Japan, factories that were down for Covid and other factors that have made it VERY difficult to procure home electronics. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information combined with a ton of MISinformation that is making it difficult to assess what is in stock and when will electronics be back in. Here are some elements to consider.
1) Many of the ETAs that you will see on-line are FALSE: We constantly see misinformation on Amazon and other sites stating that certain products will be in stock in a week or less when we know that these products won't exist for months. This is a common bait-and-switch tactic used by many sellers on Amazon (keep in mind that in most cases, this isn't Amazon itself but it is a seller on Amazon that makes these claims) where they will state that the product will be in shortly and then once they have your money, you'll get a message in 1-2 weeks stating "There was a delay at the factory and your product may take a little longer...". Our advice is to purchase products from US or a brick-and-mortar store/popular business like Best Buy or Crutchfield where this misinformation will be minimal.
2) Minimal fulfillment: We are only receiving a small portion of the inventory that we previously received. This means that our standard orders that might take 1-2 days may now take 1-2 months as the amount of inventory that is doled out from the manufacturers to a certain region is very minimal. Ex: We ordered 13 Sonos AMPs a few months back and normally we would get them all in 1-2 days. It is now months later and we just got 1 instead of 13.
3) Misinformation from many manufacturers: Unfortunately, many manufacturers feel that they want to hide any form of back-order lists or inventory shortages from businesses and sales teams (I have gotten this from 2 big audio companies specifically). This is unbelievable to us as we feel that the best course of action is to be truthful, whether good or bad, so people can make decisions and know when to expect their products.
Some of this additional misformation I attribute to communication issues at manufacturer level. This is gotten MUCH WORSE since Covid. Ex: I got a consumer-direct e-mail from Denon stating that a specific Denos HEOS streaming amp was in stock. I knew that they didn't exist and checked with our rep to make sure. They confirmed that the product was nowhere in the USA and acknowledged that they didn't know why that e-mail was sent out.
So the above is what's going on...what are some solutions?
1) Buy it NOW: This sounds like a cheesy sales line but due to the shortages and misinformation, if you know that there is a product you want, make an order and get in the queue. We have had orders where we were told by a manufacturer that it was in stock, we placed the order instantly and we were then told that they were OUT-of-stock and it would be another 30-60 days for the product. We've been doing this for 25 years and we've never seen this type of uncertainty re: inventory levels and stock. Making a commitment and getting in the queue will ensure that you are at least in line.
2) Be patient and consider the above points: As long as you know what you are getting into re: delays and possible shortages, it is easier to mitigate any problems that this might cause. This is a worldwide shortage right now...it'll work itself out soon.
We saw some of this coming and made deep orders in Sonos and in AV receivers to hopefully keep products in stock during this difficult time. Unfortunately we miscalculated and didn't order enough but as of this second we still have Sonos ARC soundbars in stock, Marantz NR1711 AV receivers in stock and other categories that don't exist on Amazon, Best Buy, etc. NOTE: This can change minute-to-minute.
Hopefully this information is helpful and we are hoping that everything gets back to normal by the end of year. Looking for Sonos San Diego? Find Sonos, surround sound receivers and lots of other electronic toys here at Aire Theater Designs in San Diego and So Cal!