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COMPUTER AUDIO REVIEWS

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John Sciacca Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

Between increasing your system’s audio channel count to 9.1 or 11.1 and upgrading to a bigger, brighter, or even higher-resolution 4K video display, there’s no shortage of ways to take your home theater to the next level. And while such improvements can certainly add excitement, the basic home theater experience still pretty much remains the same.

The thing that most home theaters can’t do is put you into the action, literally letting you feel what is happening onscreen. The sliding of gravel under the tires. The rock and sway of a boat. The thud-thud-thud of a jet being riddled with gunfire. Providing that experience is the role that D-Box fills.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Dec 25, 2012 0 comments

Back when A/V was just “A,” Yamaha was among the first to elevate the receiver from dormroom necessity to Serious Audio Component. Brand Y then negotiated the transition to audio-plus-video smoothly, and today remains one of the leading purveyors of the all-in-one home theater centerpiece.

John Sciacca Posted: Dec 25, 2012 0 comments

Remote controls can essentially be clumped into three categories: low-, middle-, and high-end. At the low end are DIY models that offer basic “all-in-one” control functions and are meant to replace lost or broken manufacturer-issued remotes. High-end models require professional programming and provide powerful automation features, IP and RS-232 control, and radio-frequency operation.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 03, 2012 4 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $249 At a Glance: Size of USB thumb drive • Up to 24/96 resolution • Minijack analog out

The AudioQuest DragonFly USB digital-to-analog converter ($249) and the B&W Society of Sound music download service ($59/year) arrived in my listening room at about the same time. They were made for each other: B&W’s 24-bit FLAC files gave the DAC a better chance to strut its stuff than any CD-quality or lossy audio file at my disposal. And the USB DAC enabled the high-resolution files to do an end run around the awful soundcard in my PC.

Michael Berk Posted: Nov 13, 2012 0 comments

Futureproofing. It's a concept that appeals to consumers, but for various reasons most manufacturers have shied away from products that enable people to extend the useful lives of the gear they already own.

The brand-new Griffin Twenty ($99, out today) is a refreshing exception to the rule.

Michael Berk Posted: Nov 08, 2012 0 comments

The Blue Note label has, over the course of its history, managed to put out some of the most challenging, beloved, and genre-defining records in jazz. Now a new Blue Note app brings that rich heritage to your tablet.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments

When we first looked at iPhone/iPod touch remote control solutions in our September 2010 issue, the concept was novel enough that we were unabashedly gushy. There was only a bare handful of remote control apps, and the variety of angles by which they attacked, mostly success- fully, the ever-vexing problem of how to operate an A/V system without losing any marbles (and then throwing them, hard, at expensive components) was truly cool.

Michael Berk Posted: Sep 17, 2012 0 comments

Hitachi's drive division has established a beachhead among thrift-conscious media professionals with it's G-Tech line. The long-awaited G-Connect, however, is a vastly different type of product - a portable wireless media server, meant for the iOS accessory market. It's a cool little box, packed with features.

But what, exactly, is this thing? And who is it for?

John Sciacca Posted: Aug 23, 2012 0 comments

While there are multiple ways to get TV programming — broadcast, cable, satellite, telco (Verizon FiOS/AT&T U-verse), or over the Internet — I’ve received mine via cable for as long as I’ve been a member of the TV-consuming public.

Michael Berk Posted: Jul 19, 2012 0 comments

We've long been fans of CEntrance's portable USB DAC/headphone amp, the DACport; in an expanding market of bus-powered USB DACs, the venerable unit (along with its streamlined sibling, the DACport LX) remains a favorite of, and reference for, many reviewers of portable audio gear. Now they've gone ahead and put out a complete two channel system, of all things - the Audiophile Desktop System.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 17, 2012 0 comments

There’s some debate among vinylphiles about whether USB phono preamps need to exist, but I for one am glad they do. When I bring home my latest haul of vinyl from Amoeba Records, I love being able to plug a laptop straight into my NAD PP 3 to make quick MP3s of albums I like so I can listen to them on my smartphone. (Sacrilege!) It’s easier than making an analog connection, and it bypasses the lousy analog-to-digital converter built into my laptop.

With the Zphono-USB, Parasound brings new versatility and features to the USB phono pre concept.

Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments

Aah, summertime. Lather on sunscreen, pump up the bike tires, and you’re almost set. What’s missing? Music! And we’re not talking about those antisocial earbuds that cocooned you through the dark winter. We’re talking about actual speakers that you can take along with you on outings.

Doug Newcomb Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments

Summer’s here, and it’s time to hit the road. Automotive entertainment used to be restricted to radio and whatever you brought onboard in the form of prerecorded music — from 8-tracks to discs and later iPods. But now that smartphones and tablets have made Internet connectivity possible in the car, a whole new world of content has opened up on the road.

We gathered five of the coolest connected- car gadgets and took them out for a shakedown cruise.

Michael Berk Posted: Apr 23, 2012 0 comments

The dirty little secret of the iOS aftermarket accessory world (at least where audiophiles are concerned) is that Apple's various bricks and slabs actually sound fairly good out of the box. Output impedance of the headphone jack is comfortably low (around 5 ohm for iPods and iPads most cases, below 1 ohm for the iPhone 4/4s), the onboard DAC isn't a slouch - totally adequate for on-the-go, and for everyday desktop listening, you could do a lot worse.

But that might not be enough for you.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Apr 03, 2012 0 comments

I have seen the future, and it is wireless. Wireless data, wireless music, wireless speakers, wireless keyboards, and now, wireless HDMI hi-def video. (Of course, all these things still need to be plugged into the wall, for AC power. Perhaps, somewhere on the Other Side, Nikola Tesla is still working on that.)

Wireless HDMI gets us that much closer to the Jetsonian ideal of the sheet-of-glass video screen floating unencumbered on a wall – without having to tear down that wall to run wires.

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