DESKTOP SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Michael Trei Posted: May 09, 2013 0 comments

Most of us who write about technology tend to become the go-to guy when friends and family seek gear recommendations. Last Christmas, my 16 year old niece wanted to know about speakers to use with her iPod Touch. When I asked whether she wanted a dock or something that used a cable to connect, the look she shot back told me that I might as well have asked if she wanted 8-Track or cassette.

Michael Berk Posted: Nov 29, 2012 0 comments

Vacuum tube electronics may be "obsolete," but like other enduring vintage technologies (think vinyl), those glowing glass cylinders still have a place in many an audiophile heart, and lately there's been something of a rennaissance in small, affordable tube products, with old school technology finding its way into everything from headphone amp kits to do-it-all docks from major CE firms. There's a tube solution, it seems, for almost everybody.

Blue Aura's v30 Blackline system ($549) is a little different, a luxury desktop system meant to evoke the sound, look, and feel of old-school gear, but designed by a young British firm with a focus on wireless and desktop products to serve a computer-audio savvy consumer. While the amp clearly looks back, through a warm glow, to a simpler era of audio componentry, it sports a USB input too, and it's companion speakers are conveniently sized to fit alongside a computer monitor.

Does it belong on your desk?

Brent Butterworth Posted: Oct 26, 2011 0 comments

Just three years after the iPod ruled the audio industry, manufacturers are starting to look on it as a quaint “legacy device,” one they have to accommodate for customers who just aren’t with it. The iPod’s being replaced as our primary music source by all sorts of wireless stuff, like smartphones, Bluetooth-equipped computers, and routers connected to network-attached storage (NAS) drives.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 18, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $395

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Striking design
Excellent build quality
Impressive sound
Subwoofer output (for gamers and bass hounds)
Minus
A remote control would be nice (for some applications)

THE VERDICT
The extraordinary Talisman speakers take desktop music to a new level.

The decision to feature Serene Audio’s Talisman in our Premiere Design section (November) was a no-brainer. We’ve seen lots of unusual speakers over the years but nothing quite like the squiggly lines of Sia Rezaei’s imaginative design. You might hate it, but I find it inspiring. And it’s a desktop speaker that’s only 8 inches tall. I don’t know about you, but I spend way too many hours pecking away in front of a computer, usually with Pandora playing in the background through a pair of cheap (no excuses, I know) computer speakers. The promise of great sound from visually striking desktop speakers appeals to me, so I asked Rezaei to send me a set of Talismans.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jan 19, 2011 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $399

At A Glance: Single-box solution • Easy setup and operation • Perfect for smaller rooms, garage, and outdoors • Integrates with existing Sonos systems • Product now called Play:5

Sonos, a leader in low-cost, wholehouse audio, has made it possible to inexpensively stream audio from a computer to multiple A/V systems using one or more of its ZonePlayers. The $399 Sonos S5, the newest ZonePlayer, is completely self-contained. It incorporates its own power supply, amplification, and internal speakers, which allows audio streaming from a wide variety of sources without a dedicated sound system. It can serve as your main (or only) ZonePlayer or as an extension of an existing Sonos system.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Jan 30, 2012 0 comments

Focal has flipped me the bird. The company is hardly the first to have done so (even just among audio manufacturers) and is unlikely to be the last. But none before has done so quite as elegantly or enjoyably.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Oct 28, 2005 Published: Jul 28, 2005 0 comments
At home, in the car, or on the go, there's a satellite radio product for you.

I learned two important things at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. One, you can slap an LED into just about anything and market it as a consumer electronics product. Two, satellite radio has hit full stride. Both XM and Sirius reported huge increases in the number of subscribers during 2004: XM added 1.8 million subscribers last year, for a total of 3.2 million—with more than 50,000 people signing up on Christmas Day alone. Sirius, meanwhile, grew from around 300,000 to 1.14 million subscribers. If you're starting to feel like you might be missing something, guess what. You are. If you're ready to do something about it, read on.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 05, 2015 2 comments
Pop quiz: What image first comes to your mind when you hear Bluetooth speaker system? Is it a small, portable, single-cabinet pseudo-stereo box with meager amplification? Would it blow your mind to imagine a Bluetooth system that’s actually a 2.1 desktop system, complete with two stand-alone two-way speakers, a separate amplifier/control box and yes, a separate subwoofer? Take a look at the Thonet & Vander Rätsel BT 2.1 Bluetooth system with a 75-watt. Sadly, I’ve gotten so accustomed to tiny little Bluetooth speakers that my mind was suitably blown.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 08, 2011 1 comments
Price: $300 At A Glance: Internet radio in attractive wood-veneer box • Also accesses music from PC or USB device • Wi-Fi or wired connection

Net Radio in a Box

This review needn’t be complicated. The product certainly isn’t. Tivoli Audio’s NetWorks Internet Radio is a little wooden box that plays Internet radio. Aside from the remote, it has only one visible control, a wheel on top. If you never deviate from a favorite station, you’ll rarely even think about the other controls.

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