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Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2012 1 comments
Cary Audio has made a distinguished contribution to the headphone craze sweeping across the consumer electronics industry with the HH-1 headphone amp. Introduced at CEDIA Expo, the amp is designed and built in the U.S. and teams a tube preamp stage with a solid-state MOSFET output stage, chosen for its tube-like sonic characteristics. Featuring Class A operation at all output levels and a 30-second muting circuit to prevent annoying turn-on pops, the amp sports a pair of RCA inputs with loop-through outputs and is designed to drive headphones with impedances between 30 and 600 ohms. Price: $1,595.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 08, 2013 2 comments
Samsung helped usher in a new era of television on the eve of CES 2013 with the announcement of two next-generation TVs: the super-sleek 85-inch S9 Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV, boasting four times the resolution of today’s 1080p sets, and the 55-inch F9500 OLED TV with a Multi-View feature that enables two people to watch different programs simultaneously from the same screen. Pricing and availability was not announced for either model.

The S9 (shown) boasts a striking design with a screen that appears to float within a frame. Highlights include “extremely high contrast ratio,” a proprietary upscaling engine that converts high-def images to UHD quality, and a 1.35 GHz quad-core processor that’s more than three times faster than last year’s processor for improved content/app multitasking. The set has enhanced voice and gesture control and uses a new version of Samsung’s Smart Hub interface with five content discovery panels that appear onscreen as thumbnail images.

At the heart of the F9500 OLED TV are self-emitting red, green and blue sub-pixels that eliminate the need for backlighting, which is said to ensure absolute blacks and pure whites with no motion blur. The Multi-View feature is enabled by special 3D glasses with built-in speakers that deliver a personalized audio experience. The set also uses a quad-core processor and the updated Smart Hub interface.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 07, 2014 0 comments
Hisense is not exactly a household brand but the Chinese-based company came out swinging at a pre-CES press conference touting aggressive plans to grow its business in the U.S. and become one of the world’s top three TV manufacturers. The company, which opened a U.S.-based subsidiary in Atlanta more than a decade ago, sells boatloads of TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and other products through Walmart, Best Buy, hhgregg, and Costco.com. In TV alone, it produces more than 10 million sets a year globally.

Hisense executives are counting on the new Android-powered H7 VIDAA series smart televisions to meet their goals.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
Home-automation stalwart Crestron is demonstrating at CEDIA Expo a Near Field Communication (NFC)-based technology called airConnect that enables homeowners to trigger personal control settings for a home theater system and other devices connected to a central control system by simply holding an NFC-enabled smartphone close to an NFC tag in the room. The tag can be programmed to initiate any number of activities or automated routines, such as turning on system components, closing motorized shades, lowering a projector screen and launching a control app on the phone. The NFC tags, which are 1-inch, paper-thin squares, can be embedded in convenient locations, such as behind a wall keypad. A number of Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices are NFC-enabled and Crestron says it will support iPhone and iPad as soon as they incorporate NFC technology.

Crestron is also demonstrating enhanced AirPlay functionality for its Sonnex multiroom audio system, which allows you to stream audio from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac PC to any room in the house without having to switch audio sources. Hit play and the system detects audio signals and automatically switches to the AirPlay source. The Sonnex system incorporates high-performance digital audio processing, full matrix switching and high-powered amplification.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 14, 2013 1 comments
Video projectors that reside in the ceiling have long been a fixture of high-end home theaters and are usually accompanied by a screen that retracts into a wall-mounted sleeve or disappears behind a curtain—everything controlled by remote control. Flat-panel TVs can benefit from the same sort of crafty concealment.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Walking into the GoldenEar Technology demo room at CEDIA 2013 was like stepping into an intimate jazz club. The mellifluous voice of Jane Monheit accompanied by guitarist extraordinaire John Pizzarelli filled the room. I immediately thought, Wow, those new tower speakers sound damn good. Little did I know until the demo ended that I was actually listening to Invisa HTR 7000 speakers—mounted in the ceiling. As GoldenEar founder Sandy Gross explained, “That’s the idea.” A mind blowing experience.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 11, 2013 0 comments
JBL has continued to refine the design and performance of the flagship Project Everest DD66000 speaker it introduced six years, culminating in the $75,000-a-pair DD67000 unveiled at CES. Upgrades include a refined crossover network and extended frequency response thanks to new cast-aluminum-frame woofers, featuring three-layer laminated cone construction and 4-inch voice coils, a mid/high-frequency compression driver with a 4-inch beryllium diaphragm, and an ultrahigh-frequency compression driver with a 1-inch beryllium diaphragm and 2-inch neodymium magnet. Both compression drivers are mounted in JBL’s computer-optimized Bi-Radial horns, made from acoustically inert SonoGlass to eliminate unwanted colorations and shaped to optimize dispersion.

Available in rosewood or maple, the furniture-grade cabinet retains the curved and angled surfaces of its predecessor, including the signature flared horn, and introduces a carbon-fiber baffle trim panel. The speakers will be available in February.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 09, 2013 0 comments
Just what the world needs: another wireless music system. Klipsch agrees, which is why it put audio quality first in the high-performance Stadium Music Center debuting at CES. The all-in-one system gets high marks for supporting connectivity via AirPlay, Wi-Fi, DLNA and the CD-quality aptX version of Bluetooth in a package that looks bold and sounds even bolder.

An on-the-fly demo with Red Hot Chili Peppers, featuring Flea’s muscular bass lines front and center, was impressive and had me looking around for a separate subwoofer. Not needed. The ring between the Stadium’s speaker modules joins a pair of 5.25-inch woofers that produce surprisingly deep bass to complement the rich sound delivered by pairs of horn-loaded 1-inch tweeters and 3-inch midrange drivers. The point of the system: You don’t have to sacrifice sound quality for convenience, according to Mark Casavant, senior vice president of product development. He’s not kidding.

Available this summer for $2,000, the system is housed in a brushed-aluminum cabinet with grille covers that come in several lifestyle colors.

Purposely resembling a mini band shell in a nod to the full-size Klipsch Music Center in the company’s home state of Indiana, the smaller Music Center KMC 3 will be available this spring for $400 in several bright colors. The system produces robust sound through a pair of 2-inch drivers and a 5.25-inch woofer, supports aptX Bluetooth and has a USB charging port and auxiliary input on its back panel.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Knoll Systems used CEDIA 2013 to introduce the Q450 digital multiroom amplifier that accommodates four sources and uses fully balanced input plates to combat noise and interference for music sources in distant rooms. The 4 x 50-watt amp comes in two versions: one with simple keypad control and one based on RS232 that can be controlled by iOS and Android smart devices and whole-home controllers. A four-zone kit with in-wall keypads will be available in October for $1,200.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 08, 2012 0 comments
The Boundary B404 speaker Leon is demonstrating at CEDIA Expo may well be the most indoor-looking outdoor speaker you’ll see (shown above in an outdoor theater setup). Available in mahogany, white or black finished with a high-gloss marine varnish that would be at home on any boat, the weatherproof speaker has two 4-inch aluminum woofers and a 1-inch aluminum/magnesium dome tweeter, specially formulated to withstand the elements. Price: $2,200 apiece.

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