Home Cinema Imports
Many people think the best home theater equipment come from the United States and with brands like Stewart Filmscreen, JBL Synthesis, McIntosh, Transparent Audio and so many others - its easy to see why people think this however there are many who think the absolute best products in each home theater category come from overseas. Here is rock solid proof to make their argument on a per category basis.
- Christie Digital from Canada is about as good as it gets for D-Cinema 4K. Want other options? How about Epson, JVC, Barco or SIM2. Oh, yeah - don't forget Sony too.
- There are many great American screens from the likes of Vutec, Stewart Filmscreen, Da-lite and others but how about the negative gain screens from Denmark's dnp Screens. These suckers are made in Japan and sold throughout the world. Ultra-thin and able to present over 100 inches of video in a brightly lit room.
- Good luck finding me an American made Blu-ray player. Companies like Oppo Digital and Cambridge Audio bring up the higher end enthusiast offerings while the Asian companies like Sony, Samsung, LG and all of the others have players priced at or below $100 these days.
- Apple is a pretty dominant player in the world of media servers with Google and their Android market right behind them and they are powered by the stars and stripes… thank you very much. But some of the higher end companies have roots overseas. For example: Kaleidescape's media servers are designed outside of Toronto, Canada. Meridian's Sooloos is now developed and built in England. Dune HD's wonderful media players and servers are from Germany. While American dominates in terms of home theater applications the rest of the world is keeping up.
- There are some AV receivers made in the United States but they are few and far between. Most are integrated amps like those from Krell's S-300i. Most of the rest of the receivers come from Asia including offerings from NAD, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sherwood Newcastle, Onkyo, Marantz, Denon, Integra, Yamaha and others.
- The world of AV preamps definitely has some strong players from this side of the pond including Krell, Cary Audio, ADA, DTS and many others but the argument can be made that some of the best AV preamps money can buy like England's Meridian's 861 v6 and or Classe Canadian made SSP-800 AV preamp make up the best money can buy.
- Here is a category where America is really strong. Morris Kessler and his ATI brand also make pretty much every company's amps from Outlaw Audio to Crestron to Integra to Mark Levinson and beyond. Krell is strong in multi-channel amps as are many other American companies. There are offerings from Naim, Linn and Arcam to throw the U.K. into the discussion but in this category - chalk this up to a win for the States.
- The cliché is that speakers are a matter of personal taste and while that might have some merit - the United States makes some wonderful speakers ranging from Orb Audio to Aperion Audio on the entry level to everything from Revel to MartinLogan to Wilson Audio. Europe has excellent contenders as well including: Meridian, KEF, Linn, Sonus Faber, Bowers & Wilkins and so many others. Basically, this category is a push. Don't forget Canada in this conversation as Paradigm and PSB are top contenders. Some think France's Focal speakers are the best money can buy. Even Japan's Sony is in the mix with $28,000 reference audiophile loudspeakers.
- Americans do love their bass. Meyer Sound, SVS, Revel, Wilson, JL Audio and others. Europe and Canada can try to keep up but they don't.
Overall home theater is a decidedly American luxury that then rest of the world has grown a strong taste for. While American companies make some of the elite best products in the consumer electronics and high end home theater world - Europe, Asia and many companies from Canada compete very nicely. Depending on exchange rates and product pricing - look for the best values of imported home theater electronics.