In a world of earbuds, plastic pods, and itty-bitty phones, there's something reassuring about an A/V receiver. In appearance, at least, receivers are throwbacks to the olden days of stout components and heavy lifting. But receivers are dinosaurs in weight only. Case in point: The new Onkyo TX-SR804 A/V receiver, which, looks aside, is thoroughly modern.
Aah, summertime. Lather on sunscreen, pump up the bike tires, and you’re almost set. What’s missing? Music! And we’re not talking about those antisocial earbuds that cocooned you through the dark winter. We’re talking about actual speakers that you can take along with you on outings.
Life is short. Why shouldn't you treat yourself to a porterhouse and a bottle of merlot now and then? And why not enjoy decent speakers, too? In a world of surround sound speaker systems priced around $1,000, it's easy to forget that there's a parallel universe populated by people who spend a little more money and get a lot better sound.
Audio buffs have been known to lock horns over all kinds of things - CDs vs. vinyl, Dolby Digital vs. DTS, tubes vs. solid-state, DVD-Audio vs. Super Audio CD, and on and on. But one of the hottest debates of recent years has been over which kind of speakers work best for the rearward surround channels in a multichannel setup: monopole (a.k.a. direct-radiating) or dipole?
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard anything from new from Pono. When it was first unveiled, at least in concept, two years ago, Pono was a bit of a head-scratcher. Brainchild of rocker Neil Young, Pono was his response to the scourge of lo-fi music. Pono was a new music player and/or file format and/or music delivery system that would resurrect recorded music. Stay tuned. So, it was interesting to see Pono surface again at SXSW last week.
Whether you support it or not, few of us are completely comfortable with the fact that the government can read our e-mails and listen to our phone calls. On the other hand, without much thought, most of us freely give away our privacy to various companies. Now, that privacy debate is coming into our home theaters.
When you buy a Rolex Submariner from a guy with a dozen of them in a cardboard box in Times Square, there is absolutely no chance of misunderstanding. Both parties fully understand that the timepieces in question are fakes. But what if you buy a pair of high-end headphones from that kind-of-weird stereo store across from the mall?