Good News and Bad News
Mike Slough in Australia has some questions about A/V receivers:
1. Are there any reasonably priced A/V receivers that can maintain the volume at a steady level? I have a problem with different TV stations and pay-TV providers delivering different volume levelsI am constantly having to adjust the volume when I change channels or sources. It would be nice to set the volume I want and have the receiver compensate for the difference in input levels.
2. Will A/V receivers made for the US market work with Australian AC power (240V, 50Hz)? Receivers and other equipment are a lot cheaper in the USA than Australia, mainly because the US dollar has weakened so much. It is very easy to order online and have the items sent to Australiaeven after taxes and shipping costs, many items can be as much as half the price when ordered from the USA. But if they won't work with Australian AC power, that could be a problem.
Mike, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that all A/V receivers in Denon's 2008 line include a new feature called Dynamic Volume, which does exactly what you're looking for. Once you set a baseline volume, this feature tones down louder content and brings up softer material. It can be set to different strengths so there is still some variation in volume, such as the difference between a whispered conversation and an explosion in the same program.
Dynamic Volume was developed by Audyssey, the same company that licenses Dynamic EQ, an automatic equalizer that maintains the tonal balance at different volume levels, and MultEQ, an auto-setup routine. Dynamic EQ and MultEQ are now found in AVRs from several manufacturers, but Denon is the first to implement Dynamic Volume. All 10 models in the 2008 lineup, ranging in price from $300 to $1200, have this feature as well as Dynamic EQ and MultEQ.
The bad news is that, as far as I've been able to determine, the power supplies in most AVRs are not designed to work with different types of AC. I've seen many electronic devices with power supplies that automatically switch between 120V/60Hz and 240V/50Hz operation and others with a manual switch, but after asking several manufacturers, AVRs don't seem to be among them. This is a type of product that is apparently made specifically for each international market.
If you want to buy US models, the best solution I can think of is a power converter that transforms 240V/50Hz to 120V/60Hz. But maybe some of our readers have other ideas, which they can post here as a comment or send to me at the address below.
If you have an audio/video question for me, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.