Darryl Wilkinson

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 21, 2011 1 comments
Price: $1,249 At A Glance: BD player/recorder with 3D support • HDMI 1.4a • IR remote control

One of the many questions that keeps me up at night is why dedicated A/V media servers—the kind that sit cozily on a shelf above your AVR and pretend to be just another A/V source in your system—have traditionally been and continue to be so darn expensive. At the gleaming pinnacle of all that is good and glorious (and most expensive) in the media server world is the Kaleidescape movie system. Once you pull your head out of the “I could buy a new car with that kind of money” cloud and look down on the mountain of mere mortal media servers, you’ll see a small variety of makes and models with varying sphincter-constricting price points from companies such as Meridian, Olive, NuVo, and VidaBox. I reviewed Autonomic’s Mirage MMS-2 two-zone media server (Home Theater, October 2011), and I found lots to like about it—the iOS control apps, the integration of Internet streaming and cloud services, the two-zone outputs, and the all-around spiffy and ultra-easy way it provided access to my 300-plus-gigabyte library of digital media files—although none of that makes it any easier for most of us to sneak its $2,000 cost onto an already overburdened credit card.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 21, 2010 0 comments
Former Spice Girl “Scary Spice”, Mel B, and current star of both “Mel B: It’s a Scary Life” and “Dance Your A** Off” is getting some Phase Technology, Induction Dynamics, and SoundTube speakers in her (no doubt, plush) home in California. I’m sure as part of a quid pro quo, Mel B is going to appear at the Phase Technology/Induction Dynamics/SoundTube (all part of the MSE Audio Group) booth on Friday, September 24th, in order to sign autographs and attract as much attention to the booth as possible. I was never a fan of the Spice Girls, nor do I watch any of Mel B’s current TV efforts – but I will go by the booth; not on Friday, though, because they’re having free beer on Thursday. (I’d have gone by regardless of the free booze since Phase Tech is one of my favorite all-around speaker companies.)
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 15, 2006 0 comments
Why settle for a sweet spot when you can have a sweet room?

There's nothing unusual about a father who's eager to show off pictures of his kids and rave about how great they are. This is one of those moments, except Ken Hecht, the president of Phase Technology, isn't showing me pictures (I'm getting a real-life look), nor is he exaggerating how good these particular offspring are. In truth, we're not talking about little people at all. What Hecht is so proud to show me is a very special—I know, that's what they all say—home theater speaker system he's been dreaming about and working on for the better part of 15 years. It's a system that, he tells me, "will make any room sound like the best theater in the country." As if that weren't enough, he claims that the system can expand the sweet spot from the typical single-pair-of-ears hot seat to an area large enough for half a dozen or more people to sit comfortably and enjoy a movie. He's christened the system with the name Digital Audio Reference Theater System, or dARTS for short. (Thankfully, his real children have names that roll a little more easily off the tongue.)

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 26, 2010 0 comments
The five small satellites in Phase Technology’s new $930 CineMicro One 5.1-channel speaker system use all-wood “acoustically neutral” curved enclosures, Absolute Phase crossover networks, and long-throw woofers. The sub that’s included in the package incorporates an eight-inch down-firing woofer in a rear slotted-port design and a built-in 100-watt amp.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
The best thing to happen to home theater since the DVD.

Quick, what do your home theater system's remote control and your underwear have in common? (If your answer is that they both require batteries, I don't want to hear about it.) The correct answer is that they both need to be a comfortable fit (physically in the case of the underwear and ergonomically/functionally in the case of the remote) or else they'll annoy the hell out of you all evening long. Unfortunately, while the standard remote controls that come with most home theater components may be able to control multiple devices, when it comes to using them on a daily basis to operate an entire home theater system, they're usually about as cozy as a tight pair of burlap boxers.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
British speaker maker, VIBE (Vented Innovative Bass Enclosures), showed off some interesting hybrid in/on-wall speakers. The PICS (Picture Integrated Cinema Speakers) speaker cabinets are designed to extend into the wall in much the same way that a traditional in-wall speaker would, except the remainder of the speaker extends another inch or two out from the wall. In order to stealthify the speakers, they come with a basic picture frame bezel and a black, acoustically transparent grille cloth. The frame can be painted, or you can go to your local frame dealer and have a frame of your own made. VIBE says customers can choose from a number of images or submit their own image for printing on the grille cloth. Unlike other manufacturers who make art/photo grille clothes, VIBE fuses the image into the cloth. The process is supposed to maintain the acoustically transparent properties of the cloth. According to VIBE, traditional screen printing on grille cloth significantly changes the acoustic properties of the cloth.

Currently, PICS are not available in the U.S. due to a lack of distribution, but the company does intend to bring them to America. While pricing on the entire line was unavailable, the large grille-less speaker in the middle of the photo above sells for around $4,000/ea.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
Is it possible to improve the greatest invention since the wheel?

If I needed any additional proof of the iPod's ubiquitous nature, I found it the other day when my son pointed out a state trooper with an iPod stuffed into his uniform shirt pocket and telltale white earbuds popped in his ears. I'm sure the trooper was perfectly capable of doing his law-enforcing job whilst enjoying a tune or two, but the thought of state troopers packing iPods gave me pause. What's next? Carthusian monks contemplating God's gift of the click wheel while rocking out to some Gregorian chant?

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
One of the most exciting products I’ve seen so far at CES2014 bills itself as “the first home security and automation device that combines panoramic video, Z-Wave home automation and environmental sensors into a single elegant product that you interact with on your smartphone or tablet.” Or, as the company says, “Piper is the new way to monitor and interact with your home.” Piper has an extremely impressive array of features, including three customizable security modes with a motion detector, two-way audio, and 105 dB built-in siren; full Z-Wave compatibility allowing use of a huge variety of Z-Wave home automation-oriented accessories; an HD Panoramic camera with a 180-degree fisheye lens that offers pan, tilt, and zoom in 1080p; built-in environmental sensors for temperature, humidity, ambient light, and sound; 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity; as well as Android and iOS smartphone and tablet apps for controlling the system. The user interface is clean and intuitive. Piper is available for pre-order now and is expected to begin shipping by the end of January 2014 for $239. There are no monthly or other recurring service fees.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 13, 2005 0 comments
After releasing a study pounding the misperception that plasma TVs aren't perfect - at least the notion that they're not as good as other non-CRT based TVs - Pioneer announced two new high-def plasmas in addition to a couple of newfangled Pioneer Elite plasma HDTVs.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2013 0 comments
Plex is a media server and suite of apps for your computer, mobile devices, a variety of connected devices that helps you access and control your local and online media from just about anywhere and easily share it with friends and family. There are specific versions of Plex apps for Roku boxes, LG TVs, Samsung TVs, and Google TV. If it really is the “bacon of media apps”, though, digital-media-savvy vegetarians are going to be left out.


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