Gifts for Gearheads - The S&V Hot 100 If you know a technophile with a craving for some cool stuff, you've come to the right place. Click the links below, and you'll be on your way to finding that special item for that special someone, courtesy of S&V contributor and gift-guider extraordinaire Pete Pachal.
You want a Renaissance man? Look no further than T Bone Burnett, the producer behind the soundtracks to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Walk the Line. Now, after a 14-year break, Burnett re-dons his singer/songwriter and recording-artist hat to drop a gritty new album, The True False Identity (DMZ/Columbia, also available on DualDisc).
Photo by Tony Cordoza The success of DVD is so colossal, so rampant, so relentless that anyone discussing the format is almost obligated to gush about its astounding features and many victories in the electronics arena. For a change of pace, I think it's time to admit a dark secret: a lot of people hated the format when it first came out.
My experience, nay, love affair, with Harmony remote controls began four years ago when I reviewed one of the first, the 768 (that remote is no longer available, even though the review still is, at soundandvisionmag.com). The marching orders for developing the Harmony remotes were simple yet groundbreaking, then and now.
What can you get from a single box not much larger than a DVD player with three small drivers firing forward and a woofer port firing rearward? If the box is the Zvox 315 Sound Console, you get more sound than you might think - full, wide stereo and a surprising amount of surround sound.
"Home theater in a box" - to me, that phrase conjures up cheap, all-in-one packages with a combo DVD player/receiver, tiny speakers, and an underpowered amp crammed into a "bass module." But it can also be stretched to mean a high-quality system whose components are designed to work together in a turn-key fashion, which saves you from racking your brains about which receiver goes best with what
You're all set to record a pay-per-view movie through the digital set-top box your cable provider installed just hours ago. But when you program it to record, your DVD recorder flashes a cryptic message indicating that the show can't be copied. Must be the usual screw-up by the cable company, you reason.
Five years ago, if you'd asked a home theater nut if you could play Metal Gear Solid on his 50-inch screen, he probably would have beaten you about the head and neck with a copy of the Die Hard trilogy and banished you from the room.
You know what I'm talking about. You're watching your favorite TV show - well, okay, actually you're just mindlessly dozing in front of the tube (maybe even with a little drool), and then suddenly a LOUD COMMERCIAL jolts you wake! What the heck? Why are the commercials always so much louder than the programs?