LATEST ADDITIONS

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 16, 2015 1 comments
It’s Saturday night! And you know what that means! Once again, you can be the life of the party, creating killer mashups from your killer playlist. The problem, of course, is Ted, who delusionally thinks his killer mashups are more killer than yours. But now you can resolve that issue once and for all. You can whip out your Braven Fuse portable mixer and show him who’s da bomb.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 16, 2015 7 comments
Plasma may be dead but it’s not buried. In response to last week’s poll question—What kind of TV do you plan to buy next?—just over a third of the respondents indicated that they plan to hold onto currently owned plasma TVs for the foreseeable future.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 15, 2015 3 comments
It is rare that a successful company, and a publicly traded one at that, can miss the mark so epically, so blindly, like NVIDIA just did with the Shield Console (also called the Shield TV).

Ridiculous isn’t even an adequate word for something so mind-bogglingly useless.

Behold, the awfulness.

John Sciacca Posted: Mar 13, 2015 0 comments

W Studio Soundbar System
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
W9 Wireless Speaker
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
W7 Wireless Speaker
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
W Amp Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,295 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stellar audio quality
Sleek-looking components

Minus
Android app is pretty basic
iOS app very limited
Doesn’t currently support true high-res listening

THE VERDICT
The speakers sound amazing and the W Studio soundbar is a home run even without its multiroom capabilities, but the limited Play-Fi app for streaming leaves Def Tech’s W system lagging behind the best multiroom systems.

For a while, audio manufacturers seemed resigned to give it the ol’ “lie back and think of England” routine when it came to accepting Sonos as the dominant force in the wireless audio world. Sure, they might not have liked it, but they weren’t offering any compelling alternatives of their own. And while there had been some challengers in the past, most fell well short of the Sonos benchmark and quickly faded.

This tide has changed lately, however, and the war for wireless audio is heating up. Multiple systems are now offering their spin on wireless music distribution and hoping to take a bite out of the Wi-Fi audio pie. And unlike past attempts, several of these new solutions are not only good, they’re great. Darryl Wilkinson recently reviewed two top rivals for Sonos’ throne, Bluesound (S&V, June 2014) and Denon’s HEOS (S&V, January 2015). Now, well-regarded speaker manufacturer Definitive Technology is throwing its hat into the ring by embracing Play-Fi in its new Wireless Collection.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 12, 2015 0 comments
The good news is that DirecTV is becoming the first pay-TV operator to offer Ultra HD programming. The bad news is that so far, the effort is limited to Samsung TVs, and programming to live events and 30 movies from Paramount and K2 Communications. You’ll also need a Genie HD DVR with broadband connection. The recently launched Ariane 5 satellite is the key to DirecTV’s UHD operation, along with a new slice of satellite spectrum. The satellite also provides additional local HD programming. DirecTV will soon have company, with Comcast preparing a UHD launch.
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Daniel Kumin Posted: Mar 12, 2015 3 comments
Remember radio? You turned it on, tuned it in, and got music, for free. (Well, free-ish; of course there were ads.)
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Mike Mettler Posted: Mar 12, 2015 1 comments
To modify a phrase, fingerpicking guitar maestro Jorma Kaukonen just keeps on innovatin’. For over a half-century, Kaukonen has followed his own path and applied his folk roots to variations on psychedelia with Jefferson Airplane and free-form blues with Hot Tuna, not to mention his own solo rock and unplugged outings. On his acoustic-driven new disc, Ain’t In No Hurry (Red House), Kaukonen continues to push forward on tasty, intense tracks like the hopeful timelessness of “In My Dreams,” the traditional riches-to-rags lament of “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” and the down-home grit of “The Terrible Operation.” Observes Kaukonen, “One of the cool things about the way the album is mixed is that there’s this magnificent, transparent presence of all the instruments, no matter who’s playing and where they are. You can hear them all; they’re there.” Kaukonen, 74, and I got on the phone recently to discuss his recording techniques, his mastery of Drop D tuning on an iconic song, and the hi-fi gear that’s served to enhance listening experiences all throughout his life. The man may not be in a hurry, but he sure is getting somewhere.
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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 12, 2015 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I plan to purchase a new AV receiver and a set of 5.1 speakers. What strategy will deliver a better all-around experience: spending more on the speakers or on the receiver? Should I splurge on speakers, with the idea that my receiver can be upgraded in a few years, or vice-versa? Simon Bolster / via e-mail

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Tom Norton Posted: Mar 12, 2015 Published: Mar 10, 2015 3 comments
Mark Fleischmann’s recent blog on ways to improve your system’s audio inspired me to do something similar for video. Of course you, the loyal readers of Sound & Vision already know much of this. But for those who don’t, or for (welcome) newbies, those who are helping friends avoid common mistakes, it’s useful to periodically emphasize that there’s more to getting you money’s worth from a flat screen set than merely plunking it down in what may at first appear to be the best location and turning it on. Getting your HDTV to sing is serious business. Here, of course, I’m referring primarily to flat screen sets; a projector with a screen is, in many ways, a different topic.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Mar 11, 2015 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
In the utopian community of The Giver, citizens have been relieved of the burden of having memories beyond their own lives. Human history has been erased. The logic being that if you have no memory of the past, you won’t be doomed to repeat it. Daily mandatory injections chemically stifle personal ambition, curiosity, and primordial urges, and Big Brother is ever watchful. The established rules are these: Use assigned language, wear the approved clothing, take your daily medication, obey the curfew, and never lie.

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