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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 09, 2009 1 comments
The media server category is growing. Sooloos distinguishes itself by concentrating on its touchscreen interface. You can import iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries, though ripping through Sooloos will allow true gapless playback by encoding each CD as a single long file. The basic configuration holds 2500 CDs though a test version has done up to 100,000. Touchscreen is fanless, therefore totally silent, and suitable for your listening room. Rendering and storage components are separate and can be kept in a closet. You can search with multiple criteria -- jazz, or jazz with Thelonious Monk, or jazz with Thelonious Monk recorded in the 1950s. There's Rhapsody support. Meridian made a wise move by getting involved with these people (and vice versa).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 23, 2015 0 comments
Once a soundbar is mounted on the wall below the TV, a lot of folks are tempted to use it for music. An NPD Group survey found that 55 percent of soundbar owners use it for such things as podcasts and radio (though probably not vinyl). That makes sense, since more than 80 percent of bars have Bluetooth capability to communicate with mobile devices. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, 66 percent use the bar for music. As soundbars wax, other product categories wane. Forty-five percent of soundbar owners retired a home theater in a box system and 35 percent retired an A/V receiver.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 04, 2008 0 comments
That thing dangling from the neck of Soundmatters' Lee Adams is the foxL Pocket Monitor, a portable audio device said to go as low as 80Hz. I'll just have to get one and see. The Bluetooth version is $249, the other $199.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 22, 2008 3 comments
Since the advent of the iPod, the stature of portable audio products has risen. Still, some taboos have remained unbroken. You can make audiophile-approved choices in what you load into your player, what headgear you plug into it, and even what iPod docks and iPod-friendly systems into which you plug it. But the notion that a portable audio system might approach the go-anywhere versatility of the iPod itself has languished. Oh, there are good ones, and some are even rechargeable, but they're still more for briefcase or knapsack than for purse or cargo-pants pocket. That may change thanks to what soundmatters calls the foxL personal audiophile speaker.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 26, 2006 7 comments
The explosion of flat-panel and microdisplays has multiplied the number of manufacturers and products on the market. Unfortunately this happy profusion leaves a performance gap on the audio side. My Sharp AQUOS LCD HDTV has excellent speakers—by TV-speaker standards—but I don't depend on them for movies. And the sound on a typical no-name LCD set is simply wretched for any content, even sitcoms. So what do you do when you've uncrated your new display only to discover that the other half of the home theater equation is a shaping up to be a big zero?
Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments
The soundmatters SLIMstage40 packs 170 watts from eight amplifiers into a 39-inch-long bar that sits below a video display. At $899, this speaker bar may be the simulated-surround solution for you. For more bass, check out the low-profile SUBstage200 ($399) or basketball-size SUBstage250Cube ($449).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 21, 2006 0 comments
Polk Audio's acquisition by Directed Electronics is the latest in a series of shifts among the audio industry's rich assortment of stars. Directed—a power in mobile tech products, judging from its website—had already acquired Definitive Technology. In another noteworthy deal, Klipsch bought API, the Canadian giant whose brand names include Mirage, Energy, Athena, and Spherex. Klipsch is also the proud new owner of Jamo, the cool Danish brand. And all this comes on top of last year's sale of Boston Acoustics to D&M Holdings—a stable that already included Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, Snell, Escient, and RePlayTV—and NHT's move from the Rockford Corp. to the Vinci Group. Why are so many potent and prestigious brands changing hands? It feels as though some invisible hand were rearranging the constellations, and declining audio-component sales are the obvious suspect. But historically, major speaker brands (with the notable exception of Bose) have been sold and resold regularly, and all the brand names involved here are valuable ones that deserve fresh and vigorous marketing.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 22, 2010 0 comments
The custom speaker giant showed the FloBox and FloBox Mini personal music systems, which include iPod/iPhone/iPad docks, and a CD slot in the larger model. The Vital receiver line is being expanded to include the Vital 250 stereo integrated amp, also with iThing (our term) dock. We were also intrigued by Roots, the company's first box speakers, including three satellite models and two subs in five colors. The subs have boundary compensation, notch filters, and other useful adjustments. The company continues to be a major power in custom install speakers, including the BoomTomb, an outdoor subwoofer that can be buried, emitting bass through a port that communicates with ground level. All products ship by year-end. In his discussion of the economic climate, Jeremy Burkhardt said 15 percent of the company's dealers had gone out of business, but there was virtually no bad debt among the ones who remained. He urged the press to tell dealers that they need to transcend old ways of thinking if they want to survive even tougher times ahead.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 27, 2009 0 comments
Speakercraft keeps rocking & rolling with an entirely overhauled rock-speaker line. What better name than the Ruckus? The five models, in granite- or sandstone-like finishes, will have a durable UV and weather-resistant lacquer coating over a reinforced color-matched polyresin enclosure. Chip it and it still looks like a rock. Along with five-, six-, and eight-inch versions there will be a dual-tweeter model that plays stereo out of a single enclosure. Ruckus 5, $225; Ruckus 6, $275; Ruckus 8, $450; Ruckus DT, $350; Ruckus Sub, $999 (prices per single speaker).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 09, 2009 0 comments
A company best known for architectural speakers moves into multizone technology with a vengeance. Nirv is the name the tattooed folks at Speakercraft have given to a system that operates with the 10-button remote pictured here. The remote's got a mic built into it, for home intercom use, and that barely scratches the surface. The concept is to use a single Cat5 cable to send HD video, HD audio, control, data, paging, and voice anywhere in the home. Any zone can be turned into a home theater and grab content from any source in any other zone. The system learns how you use it. Settings follow users from room to room, including parental controls, indicating unseen depths of moral fiber in people with multiple pieces of body art, or maybe it's just Metamucil. An installer can walk the user through setup, and when that's done, an easy repeatable interface takes over. Dealer cost 10 grand. In addition to the Ruckus speakers already reported on, Speakercraft also announced several new in-wall and in-ceiling models, including the AIM 10, a three-way, 10-inch pivoting unit selling for $8250-1125. Oh, and a debut surround receiver was also announced -- the Vital 910 ($1125). This company was always interesting. Now it's fascinating.


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