My cure for post-CES information overload is playing music. For me, that means a return to the basics: pop on a LP, sit down, close my eyes, and just listen. Man, that feels good.
Call me a Luddite, but I like well-designed products you don't have to replace every year or so. Unless you have money to burn, why be an early adopter? Why buy a first generation anything? You'll pay a big price for being first, and pay again when trading up for the next "improved" model. I've never heard of anyone who regretted … Read more
I didn't go to CES, but a lot of my friends did. I call them all the time, and they don't seem to be all that jazzed about what they're seeing. "Nothing new" is what I keep hearing, but there were a few juicy tidbits to be found.
The new 3D TVs and Blu-ray players may or may not render the AV receiver you bought way back in 2009 obsolete. I can't get a consistent answer to the question: do you need a receiver with HDMI 1.4 to pass 3D program material to your 3D TV? You may not care about 3D, but if you do please direct your anger at the consumer electronics industry that regularly leaves its client base high and dry. We'll have to see how 1.4 works out.
Ultimate AV magazine was impressed with the Manley Stingray iTube stereo integrated amplifier. Sure, we've seen vacuum tube iPod dock/amps before, but this is the first one with real audiophile appeal. The blue LED displays surrounding the input and volume knobs can be dimmed down or turned off entirely. Manley makes truly stellar tube electronics for audiophiles and the pro market. … Read more
"It Might Get Loud" is definitely one of the best rock documentaries I've seen in a while. Thankfully, it doesn't have a narrator spouting somber lines about the importance of it all. You don't have to suffer through inserted clips of celebrities and other musicians babbling about how great Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White are.
The filmmakers cover the three guitar greats individually doing their things, but the film is at its best when the musicians get together on a film sound stage to talk shop and jam.
There's a great little … Read more
For those of you with older receivers lacking HDMI connectivity, or perhaps for audiophiles with stereo home theater systems, the Oppo BD-83 Special Edition player is for you.
You see, the new Oppo player handles the digital-to-analog conversion at a higher standard than the original--and still available--BD-83 player. So rather than use its HDMI connectivity you hookup the Special Edition's eight analog (7.1) outputs to the multichannel inputs on older receivers or sound processors. Don't worry if your receiver is limited to 5.1, the Special Edition will work perfectly well with those systems. The Special Edition … Read more
Year after year, Apple's line of iPod portable media players make for great holiday gifts to give and receive. But whether it's your first iPod or an overdue update, the increasing complexity of the iPod (and the iTunes software behind it) can be challenging to wrap your head around.
To shorten the distance between unboxing and rocking out, I've put together a collection of all the major iPod and iTunes tutorials I've created over the course of the year. Happy holidays.
iPod setup guides:
Here are my picks for the best-sounding audio products of 2009, in no particular order.
Pioneer VSX-1019AH Receiver The VSX-1019AH has just about every gotta-have feature and its stellar performance makes it the go-to choice for sound-quality-conscious midprice receiver buyers.
Onkyo HT-RC180 ReceiverSure, the HT-RC180 goes for around double the Pioneer's price, but its power and dynamic slam put it over the top.
Onkyo HT-S9100THX Home Theater in a BoxThe HT-S9100THX is not only the best sounding HTIB on the planet, you can easily upgrade its performance by adding better speakers or subwoofer. Few HTIBs offer owners that capability.
Monster Turbine Pro (Gold) in-ear headphones I'm a big fan of the original and still-available Monster Turbine in-ear headphones, but now that I've gotten to spend time with the Pro I can tell you this: it's simply the best $300 in-ear I've heard.
Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference Strada Speaker The double-balled Reference Strada ($995 each) measures a lifestyle-friendly 6.5 inches tall by 12.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches long, but the compact speaker makes a huge, room-filling sound. The Strada is jam-packed with unique technology. … Read more
You've just broken your new high-def TV out of the box, hooked it up to your cable box and fired it up. And chances are, you love the picture. But after the initial joy of seeing that screen in action wears off, you might be wondering: How can I get the most out of it? Here are a few tips.
Get a high-def source The single most important thing you can do to get your new HDTV looking its best is to hook up an actual high-definition source. For television programming, that means an HDTV-capable cable box or satellite … Read more
Renowned piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons has partnered with Danish high-end audio manufacturer Lyngdorf to create a new company, Steinway Lyngdorf.
I've met with Peter Lyngdorf many times and enthusiastically reviewed some of his products (back when his company was called TacT Audio). Lyngdorf founded, co-founded, or bought a number of high-end audio companies, including Dali Loudspeakers, NAD Electronics, Gryphon Audio, and Snell Acoustics.
Lyngdorf is also the founder and owner of Hi-Fi Klubben, Europe's largest chain of hi-fi shops specializing in high-end audio. Founded in 1980, Hi-Fi Klubben has 70 shops and is still expanding.
The Steinway connection dates back to 2005, and Steinway Lyngdorf is the first time the piano maker put its name on something other than a music instrument. Steinway Lyngdorf offers music and home theater systems. … Read more
Marantz currently offers a full line of stereo and home theater components, but in the 1950s, the company was one of America's most prestigious hi-fi brands. Early Marantz products were designed and built by Saul B. Marantz in his home in Kew Gardens, New York. Those hand-built components now fetch huge dollars on the used market.
So naturally, I was interested in what Home Entertainment magazine's Richard Ames had to say about the Marantz UD9004 "universal" player. The $6,000 machine spins Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-Audio, and CDs.
It certainly looks the part: the Marantz UD9004's … Read more