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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 13, 2011 0 comments

An audio reviewer hears two lines over and over: “That never happened with any of the other samples” and “We created this [fill in the blank] because the products that are out there now are inadequate.” I heard the second line last week in a ramshackle Van Nuys, California industrial space bordered by a security gate and half-filled with piles of decades-old test gear. Unlikely as the setting seemed, its tenant actually delivered on his claims.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 26, 2013 0 comments

I am a vocal and unrepentant projector fanatic. I think projectors represent the best value in home entertainment, and wish more people would embrace the awesome as I have (for over 10 years now).

However, projectors aren’t without drawbacks, and the UHP lamps in nearly all of them are a big one. Hot, expensive, and not particularly long lasting, UHP lamp replacement is often cited as one of the biggest annoyances of projector ownership. The alternative, LED lighting, has mostly just been found in uber-high-end projectors, and inexpensive wee little projectors.

But not anymore.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 06, 2012 0 comments

It seems a growing number of people - or at least a growing number of op-ed contributors - have latched onto the idea that technology is bad, scary, and limiting our lives to ones and zeros. "The Flight From Conversation" and "The 'Busy' Trap" being two notable examples. It's something that Nathan Jurgenson calls "The IRL Fetish" (thanks Brian Lam of The Wirecutter for the link).

Jurgenson breaks down the idea better than I can. What I want to do is present the other side. I want to voice my strong and eternal support for the wonder that is the modern connected life.

Because, dammit, it's awesome.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 19, 2012 0 comments

Technically, Planetside 2 isn't out yet (the full game launches November 20). So technically, this isn't a review. But I'm having so much fun playing it, I couldn't keep it to myself any longer.

The original Planetside was the first (and still only) MMOFPS. Battles raged, waged over entire continents, with hundreds of players locked in epic sci-fi skirmishes. It was glorious.

Then Sony ruined it. If the beta is any indication, this is one serious mea culpa.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 16, 2012 0 comments

I’m not sure where to begin. In a Heisenbergian fashion, I can’t describe the game without ruining the game. I can’t really say what it’s about, what goes on, or really, what my feelings are after playing it.

I can only use words like “ethereal,” “haunting,” “absorbing,” even “beautiful.”

Well, maybe I can describe how I feel about it. I think. . . I loved it.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 15, 2011 0 comments

Light is one of those intangible things that is stuff and whatnot. Wait, no it isn't. It's light. As in, "Aziz, LIGHT!"

On the one hand, it's either on or it's off. On the other hand, it's half-on, half-off, and you've programmed it to go half-off and half-on again at the touch of a button.

If you don't have kids to turn lights on for you (or maybe you have kids, and they don't turn them back off), Lutron has a host of products to make life a little easier. How much easier is best explained by experience. Which brings us to the aptly named Lutron Experence Center.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 09, 2013 0 comments

David Chesky's name is practically synonymous with audiophile recording and the quest for a purer, more natural sound. Instead of close-miking instruments, recording them on multiple tracks, adding reverb, and mixing it all down, he records in great-sounding spaces in pristine stereo.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 25, 2012 0 comments

If I were forced to choose between the $20K worth of audio test gear I own or the demo CD that cost me probably 20 cents to make, I’d take the latter without hesitation. Test gear is great for telling me how well an audio product is engineered. But when I want to find out what an audio product does — i.e., how a listener will perceive its sound — the demo CD is a much better tool.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 06, 2011 0 comments

It's an interesting thing, this. A tweaky audiophile program that strips away all the junk your computer could be doing while playing back your digital audio files.

The idea is to give each file as good an environment for playback as possible, minimizing jitter and maximizing sound quality.

Well, OK. That could be cool.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 30, 2013 0 comments

It's hard to classify Defense of the Ancients 2, a free-to-play game from Valve. It's part RPG, part RTS, part multiplayer shooter, part lots of things. This month, there were 5.2 million unique players.

The best I can describe it, is if you've ever played a traditional RTS, and recall one of the "hero" levels where you play as just one, uber-strong, character. That's DotA. Sort of. It can be pretty intense, and quite fun, too.

If you keep reading I promise no more unexplained abbreviations.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 16, 2012 0 comments

It’s hard to believe Team Fortress 2 is 5 years old. I remember waiting breathlessly for the Orange box to come out, unable to decide which game I’d play first: TF2 or Episode Two of Half-Life. There was also some puzzle game included as a bonus, but puzzle games are lame.

Three days of nothing but the amazing Portal have since proved that last thought incorrect, but over time I came to love Team Fortress 2. I was shocked, in preparation for this review, that I hadn’t played in almost a year. Thanks Steam for making the passage of time so blatant.

Last summer Team Fortress 2 went free to play, and to mix things up (and get some players back, no doubt), they’ve added a new mode: Mann vs. Machine. It’s pretty awesome.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 08, 2011 1 comments

I'm a big fan of the Kindle Fire. It's the iPad's equal in every meaningful measure, plus it sports a more convenient form factor. Check out my review and this week's iPad/tablet face off.

But there's one thing I won't use it for: reading. Chances are, you won't want to either. So if you're thinking about getting one to use as an eReader, allow me a few words to talk you out of it.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 11, 2011 0 comments

If you’re carrying a smartphone, you’re carrying one potent little entertainment system. It has two weaknesses, though: the tiny screen and the fact that most people tether themselves to the device with a set of headphones.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 30, 2012 0 comments

I sure didn’t expect to be at the L.A. Auto Show today. And I even surer didn’t expect that I’d be going there to listen to the first car with a Krell audio system: the 2014 RLX, the new flagship model from Acura.

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Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

The annoying thing about Internet-connected smart TVs? Accessing the smarts usually costs you bucks. Probably 95% of the streaming Internet video I watch on my Samsung flat-panel is Netflix ($7.99 a month) or Vudu (usually $4.99 per movie for 720p high-def).


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