I worked as a high-end audio salesman for 16 years and spent another 16 reviewing audio products. Here's what I learned: The very best gear is always expensive. Sure, there are occasional examples of affordable products that are remarkable, but they never get remotely close to what true high-end gear can offer. Beyond price the main thing that separates high-end companies from mass-market brands is high-end designers are all about maximizing performance. Mainstream audio companies rarely try to make the best possible sounding gear. They know that features, wireless connectivity, styling, compact size, cheap pricing, marketing, distribution, etc. -- … Read more
The best I can say about most cheap subwoofers is they make bass. The bass won't be the deepest, most powerful, or the clearest, or blend all that well with most speakers, but all subs make bass. Better subs, like the $449 Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2, generate deeper, less distorted sound, so you can actually hear distinct bass notes, and can play louder and fill larger rooms better than most cheap subs.
While audiophile gear can be quite expensive, picking out a selection of terrific gift ideas that won't break the bank is still doable. Here you'll find books, music, gear, and even a free download that will put a smile on any audiophile's, or music lover's, face. The Audiophiliac had a self-imposed price limit of $100 max and easily met that goal. Seven of the 10 gift ideas are under $50!
I recently wrote about a Hsu Research subwoofer, "Shaken & stirred: The Hsu VTF-1 MK2," but today I'll cover a complete Hsu 5.1 channel sub/satellite system. There are four HB-1 MK2 sats, one HC-1 MK2 center channel speaker, and the VTF-1 MK2 sub. The six pieces sell for $1,159, and the sound is truly astonishing for the money. A Denon AVR-1912 receiver and an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player completed the test system.
The Hsu system has extraordinary power and dynamic oomph. It also sounds sweet at late-night listening levels, but it can rock with … Read more
The Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2 is, hands down, the best-sounding affordable subwoofer I've heard to date.
It was designed by Poh Hsu and I have fond memories of the first time I met him, at a Consumer Electronics Show in the late 1990s. He had a room filled with subs and a single pair of tiny speakers hooked up to an inexpensive receiver. He played a short series of music pieces with thundering bass drums, mighty organs, and hard-hitting rock bands, and those baby speakers sounded like heavyweight towers. It was a great 2-minute demo, and when it was … Read more
One quick (and hopefully final) note about the SiriusXM Internet Radio fiasco from a couple weeks ago: It's over. The company appears to have pulled the plug on nearly all the giveaways, even if you received a confirmation e-mail. Fortunately, you can still get Pandora, Slacker, Songza, and plenty of other music-streaming services for free. Let it go, OK?
If you're unhappy with the audio quality from your TV's built-in speakers, you may have considered the Vizio sound bar I've written about countless times in this space. It often dips below $50, a hard bargain to … Read more
There are a number of terrific small subwoofers on the market, but all of the best subs are big. The little ones can certainly make bass, but the quality and quantity of the larger subs' deep bass is considerably better. You can literally feel the difference -- deep bass is as much felt as it is heard.
I remember the impact a big sub made when I reviewed the Outlaw LFM-1 (now upgraded to the LFM-1 Plus, $549). The LFM-1 weighs 58 pounds and measures 21.75 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and a whopping 22 inches deep. It had … Read more
August 29, 2012: This is an update of my subwoofer setup article from 2008.
Merely buying a great subwoofer is no guarantee that you'll wind up with great bass. There are too many ways to squander its performance potential, and that's why putting in the extra effort to achieve proper subwoofer setup is crucial. This two-part guide will help you get the best room-shaking bass from your subwoofer.
Subwoofer Setup Part I:Placement and positioning While a subwoofer's deep bass is nondirectional, it would be unwise to … Read more
I've written many times about the merits of augmenting your TV's crummy built-in speakers with an external sound system. Even if you add lower-end speakers, the difference is night and day.
I've also written many times about Vizio's sound bar, which has sold for as low as $50 (refurbished). It's pretty good on its own, but if you really want to kick your TV sound system up a notch, you need a subwoofer.
Today only, and while supplies last, JustDeals has the refurbished Vizio VHT210 sound bar and wireless subwoofer for $109.77 shipped. That'… Read more
Looking to add a decent sound system to your laptop -- or perhaps even a small TV? When you're doing an end run around tiny built-in speakers, there's nowhere to go but up.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Meritline has the refurbished Logitech Z313 2.1-channel speaker system for $19.96 shipped. That's after applying coupon code MLCSUMMER20 at checkout. (Meritline's codes do expire after a fixed number of uses; as of this writing, it was still working.)
Update: Apologies, folks. Looks like the coupon has expired and Meritline has jacked the price … Read more