LATEST ADDITIONS

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Tie a rectangular ribbon.

Tweeter is the name of a speaker driver, an audio retail chain, and a Warner Brothers cartoon character. No, wait, that would be Tweety Bird. However whimsical the name may sound, the tweeter plays a crucial role in speaker design. An average one delivers not only high frequencies, as the chirpy name suggests, but also a significant share of the upper midrange. It's possible to design a loudspeaker without a tweeter. But most speakers depend on their tweeters to deliver harmonics, detail, airiness, and all frequencies above the crossover to the lower drivers.

Jerry Kindela Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Price-sensitive yet refined, sophisticated sound.

Paul Barton doesn't merely talk about Canada's National Research Council; he preaches about the facility, acting as the Billy Graham for Canadian scientific research. And well he should. The NRC was founded to provide scientific, practical, and developmental support to Canadian companies wishing to compete in a global economy. Barton began using the NRC's facilities and its scientific minds in 1974, just two short years after he launched a modest little speaker company called PSB. Within a year, PSB released the Avante, the first speaker the company designed with the NRC's help. Since then, Barton has continued to design well-received and well-reviewed speakers, each delivered with assistance from the NRC facilities.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Surround that stretches for miles.

Although they're now owned by Klipsch, Mirage continues to follow their own ears. The Toronto-based company's name derives from a key design goal—to make speakers so immersive that the listener forgets the product is in the room. In addition to a goal, Mirage also has a method: to favor more omnidirectional sound over direct sound using an unusual reflector assembly built into the top of the speaker, creating a spacious feeling that is the company's sonic signature.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Stream like you've never streamed before.

I guess the Internet is never going to hit maximum capacity.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Is everything else suddenly "just home theater"?

I don't know anyone who has actually admitted boredom with the traditional home theater experience, but perhaps that's because not all buffs realize just how many gear options are out there. A few years ago, I traveled up to Canada to demo a D-BOX Quest Chair, a sophisticated piece of furniture that adds realistic motion effects that are synchronized to the action and sound of particular movies. The result is akin to living the adventures of your favorite cinematic heroes, which is why the D-BOX-supported movies tend to be more car-chasey and less talky-talky.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments

The prices on front projectors might not be dropping quite as fast as those on flat panel displays, but they are definitely coming down. And while much of the action is concentrated in the $5,000-$10,000 range, that's still a load of cash for most of us. If projector manufacturers want to compete even in a small way with the flat panels that often go out the door for under $3,000, they need a cost leader—and a full 1080p design—that can slug it out in the trenches.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments

So here I sit, my furniture all rearranged like an overcrowded antique store, just so I can be in the sweet spot. It is speaker review time again at the Manteghians.' It takes a long time to break out and set up speakers, and you've lots of boxes to deal with. But the simplicity of a speaker is what is most appealing. No HDMI to DVI handshaking problems, no video cross-coding issues, no 3:2 pulldown. You just sit down and listen to music and watch movies. Of course, it's only enjoyable when the speakers in question sound great – like this Definitive Technology Mythos system does.

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Tom Norton Posted: Nov 14, 2007 0 comments

I don't count myself a big fan of this widely praised film. It was directed by Steven Spielberg during his "good aliens" period&mdash;a period that included the far superior <I>ET: The Extraterrestrial.</I>

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Tom Norton Posted: Nov 14, 2007 0 comments
Ratatouille, Cars, and Pixar Short Films Collection
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 14, 2007 2 comments
I keep up with new surround-receiver features the way a CIA analyst monitors intel from dangerous nations. A lot of these things are just distractions from the fundamentals: dynamics, noise, etc. But I'm in love with the latest wrinkle in connectivity, the front-panel USB jack. At first I thought, yawn, a way to plug in your Windows PlaysForSure music player, as if you had such a thing. But you can also plug in a plain old USB drive. Think of this: You bump your 10 newest favorite songs to a flash drive, plug that sucker into the front panel, and use the remote to get the show rolling. If you have a whole drawer full of those things, each one can become a playlist. Better yet, why not get some use out of the external hard drive you use to protect your download collection from a deadly crash? Or better still, why not buy another external hard drive just for use with the receiver? I just paid $120 for a 500GB Iomega external drive to back up my backups (I'm careful that way). That's much less than the cost of a fancy hard-drive-based audio server. It's also just about what you'd pay for an add-on iPod dock. Kudos to Pioneer, which introduced me to the feature with the VSX-94TXH ($1600), and Integra, maker of the DTR-8.8 ($2400) I'm reviewing at the moment. Let's hope USB trickles down to less costly models.

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