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Friday
Nov192010

Podcast #453: Audioengine N22 Desktop Audio Amplifier & Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB Projector

 

 

Just after Braden installed his front projection theater, we recorded Episode 441 to go over the finer details of the installation and strategy behind it.  Braden has an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100 (Street Price $1650) in his home theater and he dreamed of it growing up to be an 8500UB.  For the last few days, it actually grew up to be the newer 8700UB just released by Epson.

 

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Audioengine N22 Desktop Audio Amplifier (MSRP $199 Buy Now)

We recently discussed creating whole house audio using Apple’s AirPlay technology by adding audio zones created out of PC speakers and AirPort Expresses. But what if you want to use speakers that you have laying around and don’t want to place audio receivers all over the house. Enter the Audioengine N22 Audio Amplifier.

Features:
  • 22 watts RMS per channel
  • 2 inputs for iPod, iPhone, computer, TV, etc.
  • Headphone output
  • Variable preamp output
  • USB charge/power port
  • Power-saving idle mode
  • All cables included!
Being designed for the desktop the unit only has 22 watts per channel so we don’t recommend the N22 for large rooms. However, we were quite pleased with the amount of sound the N22 output when used in a typical family room, den, or bedroom.  

The N22 coupled with speakers will cost you a bit more per zone when compared to a PC speaker setup. However, it will provide you with better quality audio when mated to high quality speakers.

If you use a lossless audio format for your music then you’ll want to listen with high quality speakers. The N22 coupled with an Airport Express is a cost effective way to take speakers you all ready own and turn them into additional audio zones.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB Projector

Just after Braden installed his front projection theater, we recorded Episode 441 to go over the finer details of the installation and strategy behind it.  Braden has an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100 (Street Price $1650)in his home theater and he dreamed of it growing up to be an 8500UB.  For the last few days, it actually grew up to be the newer 8700UB just released by Epson.

About the Projector:

The 8700UB looks and feels quite similar to the 8100; they have nearly identical housings and the specs are quite similar as well.  So what is it about the 8700UB that transforms it from a roughly $1200 projector into one with an MSRP of $2200?  Part of the secret is in the UB.  We hear UB stands for Ultra Black, and after seeing the projector for a few days, that would make sense.

Features:
  • Deep, dark blacks; crystal-clear detail — 1080p D7 chip with C2Fine technology, plus 3LCD, 3-chip technology and a contrast ratio up to 200,000:1
  • Brilliant images, anytime, day or night — 1600 lumens color/white light output1
  • Natural, smooth image quality — built-in Silicon Optix HQV Reon-VX processor
  • Widescreen format — new anamorphic scaling mode preserves original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and eliminates black bars1
  • High-definition, 1080p home theater experience — D7 chip delivers 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Remarkable color reproduction — new preset color space selection facilitates accurate color reproduction
  • Stunning picture uniformity and positioning flexibility — state-of-the-art Fujinon lens with a 2.1x zoom ratio
  • Energy-efficient E-TORL lamp — 200 W lamp lasts up to 4000 hours1
  • Cutting-edge connectivity — two HDMI 1.3 ports for maximum flexibility
  • Ideal for fast-action movies, TV shows — advanced, high-speed auto iris function adjusts light output up to 60 times per second
  • Easy maintenance — convenient dust filtration system with large surface area for greater efficiency
  • Outstanding support — two-year limited warranty; next-business-day shipping service

Impressions:

Like the 8100, the 8700UB has almost unlimited placement options.  It has the same 96.3% vertical shift, 47.1% horizontal shift and 2.1:1 zoom. You can literally put the projector anywhere and still get a great image on screen.  This is important if your projector is slightly off center from the screen, or needs to be mounted a little higher or a little lower than dead-on.  Don’t underestimate the importance of lens shift.

Where the 8700UB really excels is in black level and contrast ratio.  It isn’t quite as bright as the 8100, 1600 lumens vs 1800, but the 8700UB has a whopping 200,000:1 contrast ratio compared with the 36,000:1 ratio you get with the 8100.  Pardon the bad pun, but it’s like night and day.  The 8100 is a great projector, but the 8700UB shows so much more detail in dark scenes.  It is really a stand out home theater projector in that regard.

Of course the 8700UB does well with color also, it isn’t just for dark movies.  Watching sports with the windows open during the day was pleasant and enjoyable.  For that kind of viewing, you want as much brightness as you can get.  Sure the 8700UB could be brighter, but it looks great, provides vivid, crisp images and still has superior black level performance.  We used it on both of our Dragonfly screens, bright white and high contrast grey.  Both looked great, the white better for sports and the grey awesome for movies.

Conclusion:

It’s amazing to see how fast prices drop.  Just a couple years ago we were waiting for 1080p projector prices to dip below $10,000.  This $2200 projector from Epson probably outperforms many of those early 1080p projectors in a few categories.  It is a great piece of equipment and really lives up to the “Home Cinema” name.  You’ll love it.  If the $2200 is outside your price range, the 8100 is still a great projector.  But if you can swing the higher price, you’ll be glad you did.

Download Episode #453

Reader Comments (1)

Wait a tic! How can the HT Guys not like early dark nights?! You both have front projectors now; I should think the more darkness, the better! :p

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob H.

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