LATEST ADDITIONS

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 26, 2014 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Native DSD decoding Superb sound Elegant styling
Minus
Jaw-droppingly expensive Bulky form factor

THE VERDICT
If you’re willing to pay big bucks for a portable music player, Astell & Kern’s AK240 delivers state-of-the-art sound with the big plus of unfaked DSD decoding.

Yes, this portable music player costs $2,500. That would buy you 10 Apple iPod classics. Let the gush of hate mail begin.

Look, if it’s a choice between buying this product or, say, paying the rent, or fixing your car, or otherwise keeping the wolf from the door, I’d advise you to attend to the essentials. I know what it’s like to live within limits. But if you have golden ears and cash to burn, then be aware that the Astell & Kern AK240 bids to become the prince of performance among portable music devices.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 26, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Snow Queen, Frozen opens by introducing us to two princesses, Anna and Elsa. Elsa has been born with power over cold—a curse she can’t control. To protect Anna and others, Elsa locks herself in her room as the two siblings grow into young adulthood.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments
The Android TV was unveiled at the Google developer's conference. Here's what's new and how it differs from Google TV.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $449

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Up to 20 hours of battery life
Water- and UV-resistant
Bluetooth with aptX and AAC
Minus
Not exactly inexpensive (though well worth its price)

THE VERDICT
You’ll find plenty of portable bluetooth speakers out there, but you’ll search long and hard to find one that’s as well built, weatherproof, and good-sounding as this one.

Soundcast Systems’ Melody is a category-blender of a product that’s difficult to sum up succinctly. It’s a mishmash of features that’s one part this, one part that, and a couple more parts of another type of thing. But none of that really matters unless you’re into semantics, market trends, or trying to do an Internet search for a “take anywhere, everywhere speaker” (as Soundcast likes to refer to it). The important thing is that the Melody has a boatload of stuff going for it; and it’s one of those rare audio devices that you’re likely to find yourself using for applications and situations you originally had no idea it would be ideal for.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
When you think about the serial nature of comic books and the virtually limitless stream of new stories published each month, big-screen sequels in this genre should be a slam-dunk, right? Unfortunately, Kick-Ass 2 loses its way; its themes becoming at once muddled and more clichéd. High-schooler/hero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is upping his crime-fighting game under the tutelage of 15-year-old Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), who soon faces her own identity crisis. Inspired by the duo’s exploits, an all-new team of masked heroes has assembled, just as the vengeful son of a dead mob boss begins recruiting his own evil army, and a showdown is inevitable.

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SV Staff Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a 6-3 decision that the Aereo TV streaming service, which distributes broadcast TV to subscribers over the Internet and provides cloud-based DVR storage for a fee, violates the Copyright Act of 1976.
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Mike Mettler Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments
“I’m just into the ethos of having great sound,” says Giles Martin, describing his surround sound mixing philosophy. “The intention of what we do is to make the journey as seamless as possible. I want people to enjoy what they’re listening to without thinking about it.” Martin’s “natural surround” philosophy is in full effect with the stellar 192-kHz/24-bit 5.1 mix he’s done for the 50th anniversary of A Hard Day’s Night, released on June 24 by The Criterion Collection in a Director-Approved Dual-Format Blu-ray and DVD Special Edition. (If you want to experience the film in a theater setting, it will be playing in almost 100 cities across the country on July 4, courtesy of Janus Films. Theaters and cities can be found by clicking here.)
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 24, 2014 7 comments
The center channel speaker doesn’t often get the respect it deserves. To keep it slim enough to fit on a shelf, many manufacturers simply offer two-way center designs, laid out in a horizontal woofer-tweeter-woofer arrangement. Every experienced speaker engineer knows that this is the worst way to design any speaker, but cost cutters, marketing departments, and consumers who don’t know better (or don’t care) demand them.
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Daniel Kumin Posted: Jun 23, 2014 1 comments
Like a lot of guitar players, I used to inwardly sneer, just a little bit, at Mick Taylor with The Stones. I was wrong.
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SV Staff Posted: Jun 23, 2014 7 comments
Onkyo, Integra and Pioneer Announce Atmos-Equipped Products

If you haven’t heard of Dolby Atmos—Hollywood’s attempt at delivering a “powerful new listening experience” that’s more enveloping than the best of today’s Dolby Surround 7.1 theaters—you might want to find an Atmos-equipped theater near you and see (actually hear) what it’s all about now that Atmos is heading home.

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