When Onkyo announced the TX-SR607, the company made a big deal that it was the first AV receiver to include onboard Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing. Dolby's new format relies on "height" speakers--two satellite speakers situated above the standard front right/left speakers--to create a more "airy" soundscape--or at least that's the idea. We tried our best to enjoy the extra atmospheric effects, but the reality is our ears had a tough time hearing anything beyond placebo effects. But honestly, who cares? The Onkyo TX-SR607 is a great midrange AV receiver without Pro Logic … Read more
Two sources of entertainment are always better than one, which is why we love this futuristic pool table slash MP3 player by the folks at Newwave Design.
The white surfaces and orange cloth combined with the brushed silver legs add to the modern aesthetic, which to me looks more like an orange Creamsicle, but that might just be because it's almost summertime. The universal media player underneath routes directly to two speakers on either side of the table and features controls for volume and light effects. That's right, several hidden LEDs help illuminate your game in dimly lit rooms!
There's a "sound effects" knob as well, but the Web site has no word on what it does. Wouldn't it be cool/slightly irritating if an audience applause goes off every time you sink a ball? The Lunar pool table includes a full set of balls and two 48-inch cues for a very affordable $745. More images after the break.… Read more
Swedish product design studio Teenage Engineering's credo is to create products built with "functional design, superior quality, and top-class engineering," but they should probably add "environmentally irresponsible" to that list. A low-cost DIY turntable kit is a clever idea, and I'd probably buy one, but it's made out of Styrofoam. Styrofoam? Really? Does it come with a case made out of batteries and aerosol cans too, guys?
All environmental issues aside, this turntable deserves serious design respect: the base of the player as well as the arm are made out of CNCd Styrofoam to accept the belt underneath. The turntable also works as a standalone player with a built-in amplifier and speaker, and it even sports a USB connection for converting vinyl into digital audio.
Unfortunately, Teenage Engineering currently has zero plans to put the Styrofoam turntable into production, but you're welcome to check a box on the Web site and submit your e-mail address for possible updates in the future. More pictures after the break.… Read more
We've been critical of some Yamaha receivers in the past for not offering as many features as the competition, but we've always been impressed by their sound quality. That's why when we previewed the Yamaha RX-V665BL, we were a bit worried that the weight was substantially lower than last year's RX-V663. Was Yamaha cutting back on some of the internal components that made the RX-V663 sound great?
While we don't know exactly why the RX-V665BL weighs less, our extensive listening tests found that the RX-V665BL didn't have the sonic prowess we usually find on … Read more
There are dozens of voice memo applications available for the iPhone and iPod Touch that do a decent enough job for dictating your grocery list. Professional recording applications, however, are much harder to come by.
Audiofile Engineering's FiRe application ($5.99) is by far the most advanced stereo audio recording application we've seen for the iPhone and iPod Touch, going far beyond the limitations of previous go-to apps, such as BIAS' iProRecorder. To get stereo audio into FiRe, you'll need to use compatible microphone accessories, such as the Alesis ProTrack, or our current fave, the Blue Microphones Mikey. … Read more
Audiophiles are on a quest; we're always lusting after the perfect fill-in-the-blank (speaker, amplifier, turntable, CD player, etc).
Catch is, perfect gear wouldn't automatically make every recording sound life-like. At that point the gear wouldn't have a sound per-se; the recordings' sound would be laid bare.
I wrote "How high do you want your fi?" for the April 2009 issue of Stereophile magazine, and I'm still getting a wide range of feedback about that piece from readers and friends.
I'm defining a "perfect" hi-fi as one that's indistinguishable from the sound of live instruments. No hi-fi has ever fully recreated the sound of a symphony orchestra, jazz group, or rock 'n' roll band. Solo instruments fare better, i.e. guitars, flutes, and vocals; you can almost get a glimpse of their sounds over the best high-end systems. But a drum kit? Piano? No way!
Audio components are far from perfect, so it's no surprise their sounds aren't 100 percent convincing. As imperfect as the gear is, the recordings themselves are even further away from documenting the sound of vocals and instruments.
The age-old analog/digital divide is the least of it. The musicians do their thing, and then the microphones, their positions relative to the instruments, the skill and imagination of the engineer/producer/mastering team's use of equalization, compression, processing, etc., create the sound we hear.
Pop or rock music is rarely played by the complete band, with vocals, live in the studio. Out-of-tune singers and players are pitch-corrected, drummers' off-kilter rhythms are tweaked, there's not a lot of there there to reproduce. Most recordings are so heavily processed they could never sound real.… Read more
Q: What is the best all-around Bluetooth speaker adapter if I want to connect my laptop to some good speakers that are not equipped with Bluetooth?--Tom, via e-mail
A: What you would want is a Bluetooth receiver, which can be a challenge to find; actually, we don't review them at all at this time, so I can't give you a personal opinion on any specific product of this kind. Generally, I get questions from people who are looking for a Bluetooth transmitter, which will allow you to connect a non-Bluetooth audio device with headphones or speakers that … Read more