AT A GLANCE Plus
Top-notch build quality
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming up to 192 kHz/24 bit
Remarkably full sound from a compact speaker
Can sound a tad bright
Oppo’s Sonica is an elegant and versatile wireless speaker whose superb sound belies its small footprint.
As I waited in anticipation for Sonica to arrive, I was reminded of an old ad slogan: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” It’s kinda that way with Oppo. Over the past 12 years, the Silicon Valley–based company has built a stellar reputation with its best-in-class Blu-ray players and Top Pick–designated headphones and amp/DACs. I couldn’t wait to see if Oppo had extended its golden touch to wireless speakers—a category with more than its fair share of duds. My expectations were high.
Q For years, I used iTunes to rip my CDs in the Apple Lossless Audio Compression (ALAC) format and load them onto a 160-gigabyte iPod classic. Now that iPods are no more, I would like to switch to one of the new hi-res-capable portable players but want to avoid having to rip all of my CDs again. Do any of the new players support ALAC so I can continue using iTunes? Also, is there some way to use iTunes to load files from my computer to a new portable player? —Mark Hoornstra / Maryland
At a recent CES Unveiled press event in New York, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), singled out five tech trends to keep an eye on at the upcoming CES 2017 show, which opens in Las Vegas on January 5.
Thirty-four years ago this week, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs asks McIntosh Labs for rights to use “Macintosh” as the brand name of a computer it was developing, a year after settling a trademark infringement suit brought by The Beatles’ holding company Apple Corps.
The speaker specialists at Napa, CA-based James Loudspeaker have come up with an innovative way to deliver surround sound to any environment in a high-performance, fully custom freestanding form factor.
Last month I wrote a blog titled, Day and Date: How Much Would You Pay? which pondered how much avid home theater owners like Sound & Vision readers might be willing to pay for the privilege of viewing first-run Hollywood films at home. To give this some perspective, it’s important to point out that the only system capable of doing this is the stratospherically priced PRIMA Cinema, with hardware selling for $35,000 and a $500 per film rental charge.
While popular among readers, direct A/B tests comparing one audio or video component with a competing model are far more difficult to do properly than you might imagine. I’ve conducted or participated in numerous such tests over the years, going back to speaker shootouts when I wrote exclusively for Stereophile back in the ‘90s. I also set up or participated in several shootouts of video displays for Home Theater.
2D Performance 3D Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
State-of-the-art local dimming
Class-leading HDR brightness
Above average off-center viewing
With the top manufacturers jostling for a view from the top of the Ultra HD pyramid, Sony has taken an express elevator and is racing fast for the checkered flag. But enough with the mixed metaphors. If this TV isn’t today’s best LCD UHD/HDR set (and perhaps the best of any type), it’s not for lack of trying. Sony has given us their best technology here, and it shows.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016, Sony demonstrated a prototype of a future LCD TV design incorporating what the company called Backlight Master Drive. We found it dazzling, as did most of the show-goers with whom we spoke. Nevertheless, we all looked at it as a “show car”—something that might appear in a store near you in a couple of years, if ever.