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Mike Mettler Posted: Jan 28, 2015 0 comments
“I’ve always been a fan of records that tastefully use effects to enhance the listening experience,” says Sam Llanas, former vocalist/guitarist for roots-rock pioneers BoDeans, now ensconced in a full-time solo career. Llanas’ distinct vocal tone — which resides somewhere between gravel and grace — has touched the soul of indelible songs like “Closer to Free,” “Feed the Fire,” and “Rickshaw Riding,” and on The Whole Night Thru (Llanas Music), Llanas opens up his palette on deeply personal tracks like “Deja Vu” and “I’m Still Alive” to achieve an even more honest aural identity. “We did decide early on that we would like to make a record that would be engaging on headphones,” he reports. Here, Llanas, 53, and I discuss the importance of equipment choices and microphone placement, how to make a record that hits “hard and fast,” and his favorite BoDeans album. The man is very much still alive and kicking.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 28, 2015 1 comments
Dish sent out review copies of the upcoming Sling TV Live TV streaming service. It's worth checking out and signing up for an invite.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 28, 2015 1 comments
I’m not a terribly big fan of Nest, but I don’t hate them, either. I own a Nest Thermostat, and I like it—for the most part. What I don’t understand is the gushing amount of praise a lot of writers give it, both as a standalone thermostat and a major smart home device/controller. You get the feeling that if God needed a thermostat, the Nest would be the one He’d buy. Despite what you might read, the NEST thermostat has its flaws, two of which are its inability to detect occupancy in other areas of the home and its requirement for an always-on Internet connection when used with other smart home systems.

But I have to give the Nest folks a great deal of credit for doing a very honorable thing recently...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 27, 2015 0 comments
The 2015 International CES is over, but the melody lingers on. The big news in video, of course, is that Ultra HD is coming to us like a great singer who is pushed out on stage knowing the tune but not the lyrics. The result might be a stirring vocalization of “Over the Rainbow,” but the only words the singer can think of are the lyrics to “Does Your Chewing Gum Loose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight.”

In short, most (but not all) of the sets launched at the show still feature only one of the important features of Ultra HD: 4K resolution...

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 27, 2015 2 comments
Do you know what Tizen is? Tizen might be in your home right now. You might even be looking at it this very moment. Do you know why Samsung dearly wants to put Tizen in your home theater, and even, if possible, in your pocket? Hmm, my fellow citizens of Troy, maybe we should take a look at that big wooden horse sitting outside our city gates.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 26, 2015 0 comments
LG must have made quite an impression when it unveiled its new line of 4K OLED TVs at CES. Last week we asked Sound & Vision readers to pick the “top TV/video story” from CES 2015 and four in 10 chose 4K OLED. High Dynamic Range (HDR) TV technology was a distant second with 21 percent of the vote...
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 26, 2015 0 comments
Ever since I left the world of car stereos, Pyle Audio has fallen off my radar. When offered an opportunity to listen to their latest soundbar, the PSBV600BT ($300), I have to admit that I was intrigued. I knew this company had a long history of making good speakers for the automotive world, but haven’t heard any of their home products. This was going to be interesting.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Jan 24, 2015 0 comments
In-ear headphone fans rejoice: the custom monitor is now available without the goo. This week at the NAMM show in Anaheim, Ultimate Ears showed off its partnership with United Sciences, which has come up with a way to use a laser 3D scanner to take a virtual “impression” of your ear canal. It’s all very sci-fi, and could change the entire face of headphones as we know it. How does it work?

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 23, 2015 1 comments

Denon HEOS Amp

Denon HEOS Link Stereo Preamplifier
PRICE $2,148 as reviewed

Stellar audio performance
Simple, intuitive app
No desktop controller
Fewer streaming services than Sonos

It’s not the first wireless multiroom sound system, but it certainly ranks among the best.

When I asked the folks at Denon why they felt the need to develop a multiroom, streaming music system, this was the answer they gave: “Probably for similar reasons why we developed the LP turntable and didn’t continue to manufacture gramophones.” That wasn’t quite the answer I was looking for, but it was an interesting way of putting a tangible perspective on the past 100-plus years that Denon has been involved in the audio industry.

In this day and age, it’s the rare person who sits at home enjoying selections from his or her collection of bulky spinning cylinders; streaming songs is what’s popular now. In fact, our collective propensity for listening to audio from the Internet or music stored on NAS drives and computers has resulted in wireless speakers of various kinds becoming the product du jour of nearly every audio manufacturer on the planet. So the question I really should have asked was how Denon thought they could build a system that would rise above the flood of streaming music speakers and systems on the market—and, specifically, how in the world Denon thought they could compete head to head with the Goliath of streaming music systems, Sonos.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 22, 2015 2 comments
Disney Movies Anywhere digital copies can now be streamed to just about any media player, smart TV, or mobile device. Check out how the service compares to UltraViolet digital copies.


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