Simaudio is a Canadian company well known to audiophiles for making audio products that are not only excellent sonically, but are also, in many cases, excellent values. They have also been known for being stylistically interesting and even somewhat adventurous. Simaudio has now applied its audio know-how to a line of home theater products, the latest of which are the new "value" Stargate surround processer and Aurora-5 amplifier.
• Read more high end audiophile AV Preamp Reviews here.
Value in this case is relative, as the processor is still $4,850 and the five-channel amp is $4,500, but this is still in the mainstream sweet spot for serious home theater gear.
Styling of these products follows the Simaudio idiom with a beautiful, charcoal black, brushed aluminum front, silver front end pieces to hide a rack mounting, and a central nose like silver-finned proboscis that seems to add a certain Darth Vader flair to these products. The red-lettered LED display panel of the Stargate seems to further add to the Star Wars look. The processor is a fairly normally sized unit, but the amp is a monster. It is tall, heavy (85 lbs.) and loooong. In fact, it was so long that it stuck out of the back of my Salamander cabinet (I don't have the back closed off), and required me to place a support underneath it as the legs were just hanging in midair. Needless to say, you get a lot of look, heft and size for the money. The main cosmetic and functional letdown is the ho-hum, ubiquitous Home Theater Master universal remote control, which is found with many processors, including the Outlaw.
This system was used in my office theater, which consisted of B&W 705, 701 and DS7 speakers and ASW2500 subwoofer. The audio and video source was the Marantz DV-8400, a Monster 5100 power unit supplied filtered power, and the system was hooked up to a Philips 50-inch plasma. Cables used were the AudioQuest Python single-ended audio cables, Gibraltar speaker cables, and Tributaries component and S-Video cables.