There's a war going on among music critics of a certain age. A few months ago, San Francisco Chronicle critic Joel Selvin mourned the loss of concern for sound quality in the MP3 era. Since then, writers for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have thrown down the gauntlet for the other side, arguing not only that MP3s and other forms of compressed digital music are sufficient, but that audiophiles are delusional--especially older audiophiles, whose hearing has probably decayed to the point where they couldn't even hear all the things that MP3s take out. Slate columnist … Read more
If you managed to score one of those $99-or-less first-gen Zunes I've been writing about, now's your chance to score a pretty sweet speaker dock to go with it. The Altec Lansing M604 offers room-filling power, deep bass, and a wireless remote. (This ain't marketing talking; I own one of them.) It also charges the Zune, connects it to your TV (via a video-out port), and works with other MP3 players (via a line-in jack). You can even mount the sucker on a wall.
The M604 sold for $199.95 when it debuted early this year, but … Read more
For awhile there we thought the trend of portable cylindrical speakers, which seemed so hot at times this year, had been snuffed out by more beastly competitors. But apparently they're alive and well, as evidenced by this set--they've just been broken in two.
Depending on how much space you have, this compact set can either be kept intact in one piece or separated for wider stereo angles for any device with a 3.5mm jack. What we like most, however, is that it seems perfect for travel: The pieces have a scratch-resistant rubber (and dirt-hiding) black rubber shell, … Read more
Men and women see things differently. Take audio: A guy might be impressed with a big honkin' speaker, but a woman probably sees a hideous box. Being a guy, I might not be the most sensitive to what females want from a hi-fi, so I'm more than willing to hear about it from the other side. I stumbled upon a well-written piece on a speaker manufacturer's (Klipsch) site that does just that. It's jam-packed with great advice--and don't worry--it never even mentions Klipsch speakers. Sarah Knight's "Get Turned On: A Woman's Guide to Purchasing Audio Gear" … Read more
OK, you blew your budget on a high def display and now high speaker prices getting you down? Step right this way, Overstock.com has the cheapest speakers around! Check out their SDAT CES500 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System that goes for $48.99!!! The package includes a wood, 60 watt, 6.5-inch subwoofer, and five small satellite speakers with 2-inch drivers. That's great if you have an A/V receiver, but if you don't consider the Emerson Dolby Pro Logic Home Theater System that comes with a receiver and goes for $69.99. You get a … Read more
First things first--center channel speakers do one thing really well--they anchor dialog to the screen for listeners sitting over to the left or right sides of home theaters. So if your family or friends watch movies together, I'd definitely recommend using a center channel speaker.
But for one or two people sitting directly in front of their TV a center isn't necessary, and almost always sounds less good than the left and right speakers. Center speakers tend to sound boxy, so Denzel Washington sounds like he's in a box. Ditch the center and your A/V receiver … Read more
Hi, I'm Nate Lanxon. You may remember me from such criticisms as the We7 download service, the Roommates Web TV show, and Squircle: the MP3 player that makes children hate you. Seriously, we love laughing at stupid ideas here at Crave, but we don't like it when they come from companies we respect. Today holds just such a stupid idea, and it comes from JVC--it's the build-it-yourself-'cos-we-can't-be-arsed speaker kit.
Why the Hello Kitty would you want to spend about 140 pounds (or $290) on a set of speakers that came in bits? No, really, we'… Read more
Most PC speakers are afterthoughts--the computer equivalent of those awful earbud headphones that come bundled "for free" with portable media players. But Canada's Axiom Audio is offering a high-end alternative with its new Audiobyte PC speakers. At 6.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide by 4 inches deep, the stereo speakers aren't too much larger than standard computer audio offerings, but they're effectively miniaturized versions of high-quality bookshelf speakers, sporting two-way designs with a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter and 3-inch aluminum cone woofer.
The Audiobyte is now available in a variety of finishes … Read more
When we first saw the Polk Audio I-Sonic, we dubbed it a "home theater in a shoebox." But now the all-in-one I-Sonic finally looks to have some competition in the form of the Cambridge SoundWorks i765. At first glance, the product looks like a doppelganger of the company's Radio CD 745i, but adds DVD playback and a top-mounted iPod dock to the AM/FM radio, CD player, and dual-alarm system found on that earlier model. The price is a hefty $500, but that's $100 less than that of the I-Sonic, which lacks the iPod dock but includes digital HD Radio and support (with an add-on antenna dongle and monthly subscription) for XM satellite radio. … Read more
As a reviewer I have to admit I've blown up more than my share of speakers over the years. I usually push the limits just before I finish the review and ship them back to their maker. Hey, it's my job and I like to see how loud they can go, and most of them survive my torture tests just fine, but some can't take the heat, like the Sony DAV-X10's poor little satellite I popped last week. The 2-inch "woofer" fell prey to my over zealous fun with Eminem's "Live From … Read more