Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 02, 2010 0 comments
At $229, the 2006-vintage Apple TV was an offer most videophiles could refuse. But it will be harder to say no to the new $99 Apple TV, shipping in less than a month.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 05, 2007 0 comments
Every year Apple stage a major product introduction just as CEDIA is getting underway. In case you hadn't heard, this year's news includes the iPod Touch, like the iPhone but without the phone; the iPod Classic, now with up to 160GB capacity; and a third-generation revamp of the iPod nano, now shorter and wider and therefore today's poster boy. You can get the complete details...elsewhere.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 28, 2006 2 comments
Apple Computer doesn't like France's pending copyright reform. Though widely viewed as a blow against the binding of iTunes purchases to iPods—horreur!—the law actually would require all downloads to be compatible with all devices. An Apple spokesperson equated this with "state-sponsored piracy," and your federal government has chimed in with cabinet-level agreement: "Any time that we believe that intellectual property rights are being violated, we need to speak up and in this case, the company is taking the initiative," Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told CNBC. What makes the situation so ironic is that just a few years ago, the same federal government (well, almost the same) was energetically litigating against Microsoft for binding Internet Explorer to Windows. In similar spirit, the European Union is about to hit Microsoft with a big fine for binding the Windows Media Player to the OS. Since no one else is asking the question, I will: Why should there be one antitrust standard for Microsoft and a totally different one for Apple? The French, at least, are proposing to level the playing field in an increasingly lucrative download market.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 02, 2006 1 comments
Worried about taking your iPod out in the rain? You needn't if you're wearing the BlackCoat Work from Ohio-based Koyono. The "Made for iPod" jacket's five pockets include one for your iPod. You can manipulate the player through the Elektex five-button fabric interface, sourced from Eleksen, a five-layer laminate of conductive materials. It's light, flexible, durable, washable, and (the company says) superior to the hard touchpads, flexi-circuits, and polymer switches used in other products. The BlackCoat Work will be available in March or April and can be ordered direct for $179.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 16, 2006 0 comments
"I love driving a cab. But you've got to be careful. Few nights ago I had a gun in my cab. Guy got in, and I said, either you give me that gun or you're gettin' out. He gave me the gun. When we got back from the crack house, he was so happy to have his drugs, he got out of the cab and forgot about the gun. I sold that gun to a cop."
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Arabesque, from the Crystal Cable folks, is the second manufacturer we know of (in addition to Waterfall) to use glass enclosures. The faceted design of this floorstander came about after the company realized that a curved glass enclosure wouldn't be possible -- but it looks great.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 24, 2010 2 comments
The memories of reviewing Arcam's AVR600 and AVR500 receivers are still golden so we were more than pleased to see a third model join the line, the AVR400. It's got HDMI 1.4, Dolby Volume, and seven times 90 watts -- and yeah, we can just hear you saying $2500 for a 90-watt receiver? Based on our experiences with the two previous models, the power spec is honest, and we expect nothing less than stupendous sound when it comes in for review, soon we hope. Ships in December.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 14, 2012 2 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,799 At A Glance: Strong texture, imaging, dynamics • Dolby Volume for low-volume listening • Relatively affordable price • Subpar video processing

The Good Ship Arcam steers a different course than most manufacturers of audio/video receivers. That means the prospective buyer has to read spec sheets in a different way. At 75 watts per channel, this $1,799 receiver shares a power spec with much, much cheaper competitors. But that doesn’t mean it performs the same. For one thing, Arcam specifies power output with five channels driven (1 kilohertz )—a hurdle most manufacturers don’t even try to clear. The figure rises to 80 watts (20 hertz-20 kHz) or 90 watts (1 kHz) with two channels driven. This leads to what might be called the Arcam Paradox: If you’re willing to step down in the specified number of watts per channel, you can optimize a product, especially its power supply, so that it will drive five reasonably efficient speakers to high levels without hardening the top end or collapsing the soundfield.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 25, 2011 0 comments
Price: $2,499 At A Glance: Rated 90 watts x7 with all channels driven • Dolby Volume reconciles dialogue and effects • First 3D-compatible Arcam A/V receiver

Daddy, Am I High End?

What exactly is a high-end A/V receiver? Is it the most expensive and feature-rich model in a manufacturer’s line? Is it a model with power specs above a certain level? Is it a model that sells above a certain price point? Is it any model from a manufacturer with a high-end pedigree? There are some who insist the phrase “high-end A/V receiver” is a contradiction in terms. Before we split any more hairs, let’s all favor that kind of person with a dirty look. Under certain circumstances, it might be OK to throw a martini in his smug little face.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 26, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,499 At A Glance: Less powerful version of AVR600 • Omits network/IP functionality and some legacy inputs • HDMI 1.3 connectivity excludes 3D

Paring Down to Essentials

In this economically tough climate, we all have to trim expenses to the essentials. Just this week, I instructed my manservant to take my suits to the dry cleaner only if they’ve been worn for more than three hours. My nightly meals at five-star restaurants will be cut back to six nights a week at 4.5-star restaurants. During the summer, I’ll raise the thermostat in my 25-room summer house from 70 to 71 degrees (unless I’m actually there). The pilot of my personal jet will have to cut back the monthly Caspian Sea caviar run to every other month. And no more caviar for the pool boy.

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