PREMIERE DESIGN

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Oct 07, 2014 5 comments
Samsung 105-Inch UN105S9W Ultra HD TV

Hailed as “the world’s largest UHD display,” Samsung’s 105-inch flagship is a sight to behold, standing nearly 5-feet tall and 8-feet wide on its sleek, minimalist arc of a frame. We were eager to learn about the company’s vision for this $120,000 statement piece so we asked Dave Das, vice president of home entertainment to take us behind the scenes.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2014 1 comments
Note to readers: See Clarification at the end of this article for an update.

Weeks before Onkyo and Pioneer announced the first Dolby Atmos-equipped AV receivers, we received a press release touting the “first ever immersive sound receiver”—the Auro-3D Auriga from Belgium-based Auro Technlogies. Intrigued by its high-end looks—and $16,700 price—we reached out to CEO and Auro-3D inventor Wilfried Van Baelen to learn more about the product and the Auro 3D surround-sound format at its core. Auro 11.1, which adds height and overhead channels to an existing 5.1 surround-sound setup, debuted in theaters in 2011 and today supports almost 500 screens worldwide, according to the company. Recent movies mixed in Auro 11.1 include Oculus, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and a number of foreign films.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 20, 2014 1 comments
Alfred Vassilkov’s latest sonic creation looks more like a sculpture than a speaker, which is why you can’t help but do a double take. But beyond its stunning looks are several unexpected—and highly practical—surprises. We asked Estelon partner Alissa Vassilkov, who also happens to be Alfred’s daughter, to tell us the story behind this unique, $239,000/pair speaker.
Bob Ankosko Posted: May 19, 2014 0 comments

Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 18 Wireless Speaker System

About that headline...It’s inspired by the sheepish “Immaculate Wireless Sound” moniker Bang & Olufsen uses for the wireless system integrated into the stunning BeoLab 18 tower speaker. Actually, the phrase is code for WiSA, the standard that makes it possible to for speakers to receive uncompressed 24-bit/96 kHz audio over the air from B&O’s stand-alone transmitter or one built into the BeoVision 11 TV. We asked Senior Vice President of Product Creation Lou Schreurs to tell us about this impressive speaker.

S&V: How did the BeoLab 18 come into being? What led to the desire to “go wireless?”
Lou Schreurs: We felt the need to rejuvenate our iconic BeoLab 8000 from a design perspective and, at the same time, wanted to bring the speaker into the 21st Century by making it wireless and digital, using our proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) capabilities. The integration of a high-quality wireless system was driven by the desire for convenience without sacrificing audio quality. In some of our customers’ homes, it was not easy to run cables in a neat way, particularly rear speakers, limiting their ability to experience true surround sound...

Bob Ankosko Posted: May 14, 2014 3 comments
Spinning With Style
You don’t come across many companies that have been in business for 100 years. Founded in 1883 as a manufacturer of musical boxes and clocks, Thorens started building Edison-type cylinder phonographs in 1903 and has been making turntables ever since. Although the company branched out into audio electronics in the ’90s, it remains a steadfast bearer of fine turntables. Its latest specimen is the ultra-modern TD 209, which borrows design cues from its higher-end sibling, the TD 309.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 05, 2014 0 comments
Smile If You Like Music
Yep, you read that right. MartinLogan, the 30-year-old Kansas-based company known for elegant, high-performance electrostatic speakers, is branching out. And, no, the Crescendo is not a center-channel speaker.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 23, 2014 1 comments
The audio world has undergone dramatic change since stacks of McIntosh amplifiers powered the iconic Woodstock Festival in 1969. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the signature VU meter that’s become synonymous with McIntosh Labs, which has been making high-performance audio gear since 1949 when Frank McIntosh set out to build a better amplifier. His legacy lives on behind the glowing meters that adorn the elegant glass faceplate of Mac’s latest masterpiece, the MA8000 integrated amplifier.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 24, 2013 1 comments
It’s not every day you come across a $36,000 subwoofer. That’s right, thirty-six big ones. That’s about as rare as finding a submonster with dual 18-inch drivers and a 6,000-watt digital amplifier housed in an enclosure made of aircraft-grade aluminum so robust that it can withstand internal sound-pressure levels of up to 175 decibels (akin to standing on the tarmac while a commercial jet takes off) with less than 1 percent the displacement of an ordinary enclosure.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 31, 2013 0 comments
Sonic Splendor

Timing is everything when it comes to great comedy—and great sound. And time alignment is one of several refinements Meridian has made to the popular DSP7200 tower speaker it introduced in 2007—one of the most technologically advanced speakers on the planet. But before we get into what the company has done to improve this already remarkable speaker, let’s take a quick look at what makes it special in the first place.

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Michelle McCarthy Posted: Aug 22, 2013 0 comments
Some people revel in the process of executing every single step in the home theater build process, painstakingly picking out color swatches and test-driving cup holders. And then there are those who have their eye on the prize: kicking back and enjoying their favorite flicks. First Impressions Theme Theatres is in the business of helping the latter group with its complete architectural and interior design-engineering services for dedicated personal cinemas. Its services include end-to-end building, shipping, and installation projects. The company handles all woodwork, upholstery, seating, and special effects packaged into a comprehensive, performance-based contract.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 31, 2013 2 comments
Visions of the Zenith (yes, Zenith) hi-fi console in the living room of my childhood home filled my head when I saw the Modern Record Console (MRC). The Zenith was simple in design with an AM/FM tuner and turntable under the lift-up top of a luxurious walnut cabinet with louvered speaker grilles. My parents listened to Herb Alpert and Dionne Warwick while I obsessed over Abbey Road, the album that launched my LP collection. My parents tolerated it—maybe even secretly liked it. Ah, but I digress…
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 06, 2013 0 comments

To celebrate their teaming up, B&W and Maserati enlisted the help of musician and producer Howie B to create the Seven Notes project. To celebrate that, they’re putting on a multi-city road show featuring live music, and a chance to check out the B&W system in the new Quattroporte.

Fellow Tech2er Brent and I trekked down to Hollywood to have a listen.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Feb 22, 2013 0 comments
Gibson has its famous Flying V guitar, the high-end audio community has Aragon’s signature V-notch power amp, introduced 25 years ago in Mondial’s Aragon 4004 amplifier and resurrected in the Iridium Monoblock, flagship of the recently revived Aragon brand.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 24, 2012 0 comments
The Steinway Lyngdorf LS Concert speaker is distinguished not only for its towering stature and exquisite looks but for its technical design, which combines the virtues of line-source and dipole speaker design.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 27, 2012 4 comments
Barrister-turned-speaker-maker David Hart had the human ear in mind when he designed this unique speaker—but I see a giant molar turned on its side. I’ll let you decide what to make of it and whether it’s worth the asking price of $64,000 per pair in bronze, $300,000 in silver, or upwards of $5 million in gold (shown). Why so expensive? Remarkably, the 28-inch-tall cabinet is cast in solid bronze, silver, or gold, which explains the 110-pound weight (in bronze). Add to that the 200 hours it takes to cast and hand-finish each pair at Hart’s factory on Isle of Wight.

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