GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 24, 2014 9 comments
There are lots of ways to get television content into your home, and everyone makes it seem like it’s a simple matter of literally cutting the cord. Get your entertainment from online streaming, and use a pair of rabbit ears to get your local news fix. Easy, right? If you live in or near a big city, that may be true. But having recently left urbania for smalltown USA, I can attest that it’s not so easy after all when the nearest TV towers are miles and miles away. When Winegard announced FlatWave, a new line of flat, passive or powered HDTV antennas, I was all ears.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 10, 2014 0 comments
I’ll admit it. I’m over it. Or at least I’m just a little tired of the endless parade of portable Bluetooth speakers that claim to be “stereo.” Sure, if you hold your breath and keep your head positioned precisely in front of the 3-inch wide box, you can almost convince yourself there’s a slight impression of stereo imaging. Worse are systems that claim you can easily pair two devices for true stereo but it turns out that pairing is funky and frustrating and never seems to work. When did stereo become so disposable? The iLuv SyrenPro claimed to be different. Let’s just see about that.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 24, 2014 3 comments
Life is good. Having just moved into a house with a room for a dedicated home theater, it was time to get set up. More to the point, time for shopping. Usually, the last thing I want to do is to buy furniture, but the search for the perfect chairs for my home theater became my quest. Seeking perfection, I pored over furniture catalogs, websites and scoured any furniture in my path. A woman’s home theater is her castle, right? I already had furnished my girl-cave, I mean home office, and the A/V room, although last on the decorating list, was in my mind, the most crucial.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 09, 2014 1 comments
Live TV is one of the most anxiety-inducing tasks facing artists, producers, and engineers, not to mention corporate and political types. In the past two weeks, the NFL’s cash cow, the Super Bowl on Fox and Russia’s pride and joy, the Olympic’s Opening Ceremonies on NBC tried their darndest to impress the world. Both the NFL and Russia took extreme precautions to ensure a flawless show. But in the end, the best way to wow the crowd is to fake it.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 20, 2014 1 comments
The new Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphone takes everything I loved about the original Momentum over-ear headphone and puts it in a smaller, infinitely more stylish and affordable package. Coming in a range of colors, and at a lower price, this headphone retains the sound quality and voice of the original but makes it more accessible to more people.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 23, 2013 1 comments
Hitting the market this late in the game, Amped Wireless better have something special with their BTSA1 Bluetooth speaker adapter. Yes, like so many other adapters, it lets you to turn any audio playback system into a Bluetooth-enabled system. But the adapter also delivers a few unexpected, and welcome, surprises.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 09, 2013 3 comments
“When Britain first, at heaven's command, arose from out the azure main, this was the charter, the charter of the land, and guardian angels sang this strain: Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!”

Those lyrics, set to rousing music by James Thomson in 1740, declared that Great Britain was the emerging world superpower. Fulfilling the patriotic acclaim of the song, Britain did indeed soon rule the waves, and in fact, the sun never set on the British Empire. Similarly, Sony Corporation ruled the waves of consumer electronics....

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 25, 2013 0 comments
48 years after its release in 1965, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” finally has an official music video. Well, actually, it has an infinite number of videos. The digital media company Interlude Studios has created a totally unique interactive video for Dylan’s classic that turns channel-surfing into a mind-blowing experience.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 11, 2013 0 comments
IK Multimedia has just released its latest product, aimed at musicians and music lovers alike: the iLoud portable speaker. The company claims it is “studio quality” and equips it with a guitar/microphone input. Hmm, “studio quality”—I’ve heard that one before, but I decided to check it out. Is it actually something I would have used in my own recording studio?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 28, 2013 2 comments
Iconic indie-rocker Lou Reed passed away at the age of 71 on Sunday, October 27th from complications after a recent liver transplant. Reed was married to experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson. Although Reed had only a single top-ten hit, he will be remembered for so much more.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 14, 2013 0 comments
We love our devices. Love ‘em! When we first get them, we baby them. But the reality is, sooner or later, life happens. Phones slip through our fingers, fall out of pockets, and drop into water or worse. And heaven help them from the atrocities inflicted by active folks—rain-soaked armbands, sweaty bike jersey pockets, damp backpacks, and the occasional boogie board ride in the Atlantic. One solution is to encase them. Thus “protective covers” abound. Unfortunately, those cases often muffle or kill the features we use the most. What to do?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 30, 2013 0 comments
Every morning, my inbox is filled with press release after press release announcing some new Bluetooth wireless speaker. Everybody seems to be making them, and every company is trying to find an edge—some way to elevate themselves above the fray. Different shapes, multiple colors, small or large, they all do the same thing. But the Lyrix Duo caught my eye as something different, something unique. I needed to find out if different is also good.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
The year is 1976, when sex was safe and racing was dangerous. The Formula One World Championship is up for grabs, and it’s a grudge match. British race driver James Hunt goes mano a mano with Austrian race driver Niki Lauda, both driving pedal to the metal, with absolutely no margin for error and loving every minute of it. As Hunt explains, “The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel.” Director Ron Howard accelerates out of his comfort zone, and you’re sitting beside him, on the ride of your life.

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SV Staff Posted: Sep 06, 2013 0 comments
Riddick is an intergalactic murderous badass. When things start to go south, he’s your best and only hope.
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SV Staff Posted: Aug 14, 2013 0 comments
Can a high-end headphone manufacturer appeal to mainstream listeners? Oh yeah!

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