PB16-Ultra Subwoofer Performance Features Ergonomics Value
SB16-Ultra Subwoofer Performance Features Ergonomics Value
PRICE $2,499, $1,999
AT A GLANCE Plus
Powerful, deep bass response
Infrared remote and Bluetooth app control
User adjustable EQ presets
Large size can make optimal placement challenging
If you want foundation-shaking bass and have the floor space to accommodate one (or two) of these beasts, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood on movie night.
I’ve had a home theater going on 20 years now, and one thing has remained constant through those years: upgrades. It got so bad at one point that my wife had me enter into a contract with her in 2004 that my latest subwoofer upgrade would be my last for the next 10 years. Desperate to make the purchase, I reluctantly agreed and signed my name on the dotted line. Fortunately, the subwoofer just happened to be an SVS PC-Ultra, a cylindrical monster that kept my subwoofer itch scratched for a full decade. But as soon as the contract was up in 2014, I did add a second subwoofer to the mix, a Hsu VTF-15H MK2, which has been filling my room with copious amounts of bass ever since.
Linkplay is a “a leading WiFi audio solution provider,” which basically means they make the core communication hardware and software that speaker manufacturers can use to design new wireless, streaming speakers without having to engineer everything from the ground up. In other words, a loudspeaker manufacturer—such as Fabriq or Jam Audio, two of the first companies to embrace the Linkplay solution—can concentrate on the thing it does best (make speakers) and get the digital backend from Linkplay. Another huge bonus of incorporating Linkplay into a streaming speaker is that Linkplay provides integration with Alexa Voice Service, wirelessly and hands-free.
The stupidest thing about most smart homes is that you have to fire up your smartphone any time you want to do something as simple as remotely opening a lock or turning a light on or off. Don’t get me wrong. I like my smartphone. But the reason why I wear a Martian Aviator smartwatch is because I like my smartphone to stay in my pocket and only make an appearance when I absolutely need to use it. (Of course, since I’ve been keeping it in my pants pocket, maybe I should be looking into getting a pair of Spartan Boxer Briefs…) The problem is that the smart device industry has ignored the dire need for small, simple input devices that are portable, don’t require a hard-wired power connection, and are compatible with a wide range of smart home systems. French automation company, NodOn, appears to have cornered the market—and, unlike what usually happens when one company has a near total domination of an industry segment, when NodOn’s smart devices become available in the US market within the next few months, they promise to be quite affordable.
While traversing the CES show floor, listening to products is usually an exercise in futility - nothing sounds good with so much chaos around you, and who has time to stop and really listen to anything? Amidst the noise of this CES, however, taking a moment to slip on a pair of the new MrSpeakers ETHER Flow headphones was an escape into musical paradise, and one of the best listening experiences I’ve had in Vegas in years.
Water, water everywhere, and not a drop in the sink—at least that’s what happens approximately 14,000 homeowners every day, according to Dome. The company also estimates that water leaks in a home can cost upwards of $8,000 if not caught early. That’s where Dome’s new wireless water leak detector, called Guardian, can save your butt (and prevent you from having to see a plumber’s butt).
Bixi is one of those so-called smart devices that actually serves a useful purpose. It goes beyond that, though, because this small-and-very-portable touch-free controller can be used inside your home’s kitchen (when your fingers may be covered with gunk from cooking), on the dash of your car or truck (when you shouldn’t be taking your eyes off the road to stare at a controller), or even on the handles of your bicycle (where trying to use a phone app directly could be catastrophic)—whenever and wherever you want control of an app, smart device, or an entire smart home system. In fact, the people behind Bixi say it is already compatible with more than 300 apps or devices. Some of Bixi’s less obvious uses are as a snooze alarm, a game pad, or in combination with other Bixis as...
Connected health technology, tracking devices, biometrics, and anything else remotely related to a cough, cold, or sleep disturbances abound at CES 2017. Some look pretty suspect, while others appear to have some actual scientific merit behind them. NeuroMetrix was exhibiting the company’s Quell Wearable Pain Relief Technology. Here’s how NeuroMetrix tells it: “Quell combines neurotechnology to treat chronic pain with a sophisticated app to personalize and control therapy, while tracking progress.” At first glance, Quell looks like it’s a standard TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device in a fancy leg wrap. But it’s quite a bit different than the little zap-happy, stick-on electrodes TENS users will be familiar with.
The PW Soundbar, the latest addition to Paradigm’s PW (Power Wireless) portfolio, is a svelte, 9-driver, 3-channel model that uses the DTS Play-Fi platform to stream music from sources ranging from Tidal, Spotify, and TuneIn Radio to high-res music files stored on a computer or NAS drive. With Play-Fi’s latest update, it can also serve as the hub of a wireless 5.1 channel surround system.
Based on ELAC’s Uni-Fi, which Mark Fleischmann liked when he reviewed it in 2016, ELAC’s Discovery Z3 Zone Music Player places that speaker’s core design in a compact box that connects wirelessly to your home’s Wi-Fi network.