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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 02, 2011 0 comments

I need your help. Maybe you can explain something to me.

Why do we need winners? I'm not talking about sports and such; I mean with A/V gear, movies, video games, etc. How many articles and forum posts have you seen that proclaim one object the winner over another?

What is behind this desire to declare a winner when there's no competition being fought?

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 30, 2011 0 comments

As I was going through some old trade show photos earlier this week, it dawned on me that a lot of the products I’d photographed and subsequently reviewed turned out to be quite different from what I’d been led to expect by the demo. Sometimes products that sounded amazing at a show didn’t sound so great when I actually got a real production sample into my home.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 28, 2011 0 comments

We tend to think of speakers as devices that blast sound at us. But they actually blast sound in every direction, and that's a good thing. In fact, if they don't blast sound in every direction, it can be a problem.

A speaker's characteristic sound projection pattern, broad or narrow, is referred to as "dispersion."

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 24, 2011 0 comments

Everyone else is doing those Black Friday shopping guides. We do things a bit differently here at the Tech2 shack on the S+V compound.

Knowing how many people have smartphones, and would rather look at them then stare at the schlub in front of them in line, we present “Stuff to Read While Waiting in Line.” Or, to translate for the New Yorkers out there: “Stuff to Read While Waiting on Line.”

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll burp turkey from yesterday.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 23, 2011 0 comments

A few weeks ago I found myself mentioned in a rant by CNET's Steve Guttenberg. Steve thinks it's dumb for anyone but a product designer to measure the performance of audio gear. He mentioned me because I take the opposing view.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 21, 2011 0 comments

It began, as so many things do, with Star Trek. Premiering just days after my 9th birthday, Star Trek: The Next Generation instilled unto me to many of the core principles I still hold dear: people working together can solve anything; when in doubt, scan; and, of course, bald dudes rule.

It was the technology that really wowed my young mind: the ship, the transporters, the replicators, and especially the tricorders all were added to my permanent Christmas list. Sadly, none of those yet exist (damn you, science!), but the P.A.D.D., barely more than set dressing, is perhaps the first Star Tech that you can actually buy.

And by any measure, that makes tablets fracking cool.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 18, 2011 0 comments

 

I'll be honest, I can think of few things less sexy to review than an antenna. This isn't because they're not useful, it's just without a lot of specialized equipment, there isn't much I can say about them.

I live in The Valley, with a direct line of sight to the HDTV transmitters that cover all of Los Angeles. On the clear day each year, I can see Mt. Wilson from my front door. TV reception is so good, I could stick my finger in a TV's antenna input and my dome could probably pull in a signal. Picture that for a second.

But The Leaf by Mohu is actually kinda cool, and looks very different from any antenna I've seen.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 16, 2011 0 comments

They say that when everyone’s hip to a trend, it’s no longer hip.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 14, 2011 0 comments

Hanging out at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I listened in on a conversation that S+V writer Mike Trei was having with an audio manufacturer who's getting into the headphone biz.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 11, 2011 0 comments

Panasonic had an event yesterday where they showed off some of the new apps available for their VIERA Connect web-streaming platform.

On the surface, it was merely an update of the platform with some new content providers. But what those providers were offering was interesting. Very interesting indeed.

Potentially. . . it's the future.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 08, 2011 0 comments

The "Bass Management Boot Camp" article about subwoofer setup that I wrote for the November S+V inspired an in-turn inspiring e-mail from reader Bruce Erwin. Bruce recalled his days setting up sound systems when he'd use a 1.5-volt battery to test subwoofer phase. If the sub and main speakers were in phase, he'd hear a single thump when he connected the battery to the wires leading to the sub's terminals. If they were out of phase, he'd hear a double thump.

That's with passive subwoofers, though. Almost all of today's subs have built-in amps, so this method wouldn't quite work with them. Still, it got me wondering if I could come up with a simpler phase check than the ones I suggested in the article, which required either measurement or careful listening. My e-mail convo with Bruce gave me some ideas and, ultimately, a method that's simpler than my original. And all you need to do it is a piece of free software and a meter you've either already got or can get for nothing.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 04, 2011 0 comments

One of the most popular - and in truth, most valid - ways of comparing two products is to, well, directly compare two products. A battle royale, two-enter-one-leaves style of head-to-head competition where it's clear which product is the victor.

Done correctly, direct A/B comparisons are by far the most accurate ways of determining product superiority.

The problem is, they're often not done correctly. Sometimes, they can't be done correctly. In those cases, the results couldn't be further from accurate.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 02, 2011 0 comments

I predict that 2011 will be for audio what 1962 was for the art world. In 1962, Andy Warhol's first solo shows in Los Angeles and New York swept away the prevailing aesthetic ethos of the era, demonstrating to the world that a Brillo pad box could be a work of art.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Oct 31, 2011 0 comments

I had an ear-opening experience when I got to do a blind listening test of some vintage turntables at Vancouver, BC vintage audio dealer Innovative Audio this past summer.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 27, 2011 0 comments

I am not a woman. This may come as a shock, given my sleek and slickly stylish dome and ratty Scottish-highland-wannabe beard. 

However, I am lucky enough to know many intelligent and erudite people who happen to be women. 

My question to them, as folks of the female persuasion, was if the simplistic marketing tactic of "It's pink, women will buy it!" annoyed them as much as it annoyed me. 

Turns out it did, sort of.

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