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Kenwood's new A/V receiver, the VR 8070, offers exceptional performance and features for a reasonable price of $849 CDN,it even has the THX seal of approval from LucasFilm.

The VR 8070's features include Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES

Kenwood 8070 7.1 THX Receiver
 

Kenwood 8070 7.1 THX Receiver

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Platform: Home Theater
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Kenwood's new A/V receiver, the VR 8070, offers exceptional performance and features for a reasonable price of $849 CDN,it even has the THX seal of approval from LucasFilm. The VR 8070's features include Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES® (Discrete, Matrix, Neo:6) and Dolby Pro Logic IIx. Seven channels of amplification (100-watt RMS each) are provided by Kenwood's innovative K-STAT™ (Kenwood – Self Tracking Audio Transistor) Discrete Audio Amplifier technology The brain behind the receiver is the 32-bit SHARC DSP, manufactured by Analog Devices. Don't let the name (Analog) fool you, this thing is pure digital heaven. The performance levels speak for themselves, 96 kHz/24-bit audio DAC's (Digital to Analog Converter) and ADC's (converts analog signals into digital signals.) make every small detail come to life enabling this receiver to have a very impressive dynamic range. The benefits of THX certification are very evident in this unit even thouth it has a variety of surround modes in addition to THX®. Ideally, speakers need to be THX certified to take full advantage of THX technology . For those of of you on a budget, like myself, its better to start with the receiver first then upgrade your speakers next . There are several key features of THX technology: • Bass Management Electronic CrossoverTM - Sends bass to a subwoofer system, increasing dynamic range and allowing for smaller, easier-to-place speakers • Re-EqualizationTM - Smoothes out high frequency response, removing the brittle brightness for more even audio. • Timbre MatchingTM - Matches the tone of the front speakers to the surround speakers, delivering smoother sound movement. • Adaptive DecorrelationTM - Restores Surround spaciousness on Mono Surround signals for a more stereo "feel". • Bass Peak Level ManagerTM - Protects your subwoofer from overloading, ensuring trouble-free delivery of massive bass. • Loudspeaker Position Time SynchronizationTM - Lets you easily set up your system for an optimum listening position. The receiver comes with several different surround modes as well as a DSP mode. The DSP Mode simulates five listening environments that include Arena, Theater, Jazz club, Stadium and Disco. These modes create a larger acoustical space by adding reverberation and spatial cues found in larger listening environments. The Active EQ tailors the equalization for Music, Cinema or TV. The dual-zone design provides both audio and video in two separate locations. Aesthetically speaking, the front of the receiver is clean and uncluttered. Many A/V receivers try and dazzle you with a wide range of blinking lights, buttons and controls in an effort to give the impression of high performance. Don't be fooled by this, most quality A/V receivers are less about the flash and more about performance. Most functions and controls can be programmed and set via a remote control and LED screen on the receiver.There are few buttons or knobs on this receiver. The back of the receiver is another story, a plethora of A/V inputs are located on the back panel. Audio Connections • Digital Inputs: 2 Optical / 2 Coaxial • Digital Outputs: 1 Optical, Preouts: 8 Channels, • Analog Inputs: 6 • 6- Channel Analog Input • Analog Outputs: 2 • Phono Input with RIAA Equalization • Zone B L/ R Audio Output Video Connections • HD Component 1080i Pass- Through • Up- Conversion from Composite to S- Video • HD Component Inputs: 3 • HD Component Outputs: 1 • S- Video In puts: 5 • S- Video Outputs: 2 • Composite Inputs: 5 • Composite Outputs: 3 • Zone B Video Output (Composite) • Front- Panel: A/ V Aux Input w/ S- Video Composite inputs are automatically upconverted to s-video. There is also a phono input along with a 5.1 audio input commonly used for multi-channel SACD or DVD-Audio sources. Line-level preouts are available for the 7.1 channels as well as a pair of stereo outputs for a second room (Room B). The remote control and IR sensor are remarkably sensitive, so much so the unit can sit behind closed doors and still be controlled without any interruption of the remotes signal. The component video switching circuitry has its own dedicated circuit board, which helps reduce video noise on these signals. For those of you into HDTV the receiver also has a 3-1 component video switcher capable of transmitting video signals as high as 50 MHz. HDTV requires a minimum bandwidth of 38 MHz, but can actually benefit from a higher bandwidth to avoid picture degradation. Most new movies and games are produced using 5.1 technology. Kenwoods VR8070 furthers this experience by utilizing a new Pro Logic IIx technology that enhances the standard Pro Logic II technology to create a 6.1 and 7.1 listening environment. Another cool feature is "Midnight Mode" allowing you to turn down the volume, so as not to wake your loved ones or neighbors. Traditionally if you turn the volume down its hard to hear voices, Midnight Mode boosts voice tracks without increasing the background or sound effects volume. The remote control for the unit is rather robust and designed to be a unified remote controlling all of your toys. It's a nice remote but lacks a very important feature, the buttons don't light up. This does become very annoying in a darkened room. I personally don't use the remote and currently use a Logitech Harmony 688 remote control. The unit has 62 buttons and comes with easy to understand instructions. Testing environment: First let me qualify right away I do not test equipment in a NASA lab. This is a real life review, I test things in my home theater room, aka the living room. Now granted I have a pretty nice living room and acoustically its pretty good, but its still just a living room. Nothing annoys me more then pretentious audiophiles who test and review products in environments that only millionaires can afford to build. Some reviews read like, "Tested equipment with the Senix 4000 phase shift analyzer which is meant to straighten out the natural light curves blah blah blah". What the heck is that, if it costs more then the Camry in the driveway, Joe six pack (me) sure the hell won't have one. My system at home consists of an Infocus X1 Projector, Paradigm speakers for the side, Speaker Lab 3's for the front and B&W's for the rear. Toshiba DVD player ,X-Box, PS2 and a Gamecube. The Kenwood 8070 is a 7.1 AV capable receiver while most games and movies utilize 5.1 technology. Kenwood's utilization of new Pro Logic IIx technology is quite impressive; giving the listener a true theater experience. I found gaps or holes in room sound when using a 5.1 system, with the 8070 and its 7.1 capabities it fills all areas of a room with sound eliminating these black holes of sound. It's especially noticeable when you have a room full of people; I really got a kick out of the looks on their faces. Most people commented that it was like "being immersed in a room full of sound" some even equated it to "swimming in sound. Concert DVD's totally rock when using 7.1 technology as well. It is like being front and center at the concert,aka moshing, the music comes at your from everywhere. U2, Coldplay, Bach etc...you'll never go back to cd's once you've heard a DVD in 7.1 My neighbor made the following comment "it sounded like U2 was playing in my living room and where did I hide all the people." As you can tell by all the gaming platforms I have I'm a big gamer. Most games are now produced using 5.1 technologies . The music and sound effects for these games are designed to increase and enhance your game playing experience. Halo 2, Fable, Mario Tennis and Metroid Prime 2 all came to life and every inch of my "Home Theater" room was full of swords clanging, sonic grenades detonating and haunting background music. I have always felt that games are far more demanding then music when it comes to sound. A game is a 360 degree environment, the ground your walking on, the birds over head, the crowd in the background all of these have their own sound, 5.1 almost gets you there but 7.1 completes the circle. The Kenwood 8070 handled everything I threw at it, it made an alright room sound fantastic. The sound reproduction is crisp, clean, and robust at all levels. On a plus note, it also has enough inputs and outputs to keep everybody happy. The only real disappointment I had was the remote control and its lack of background lighting, making it difficult to use in a darkened room. This receiver is a must buy and will make an excellent addition to anyone's home theatre. That being said I must get back to my testing, U2 is about to do an encore.


 
 

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