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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 12, 2016 2 comments
Bose sets its sights on kids eight years and older with the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube. The 4.75-inch cube comes as a kit with eight silhouette covers, side panels, speaker panel, control panel, power supply, speaker magnet, voice coil, and 40 clips.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 08, 2016 2 comments
The Netflix Binge Scale measures series likely to be consumed in a single week. At the top end are thrillers like Breaking Bad and Dexter, while political dramas like House of Cards and The West Wing are watched over a longer period.

UltraFlix brings UHD and HD streaming to partnering smart TVs (from Hisense, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Vizio) and media players (Roku 4). It offers more than 1,000 hours of movies, shows, sports, concerts, and documentaries...

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 07, 2016 3 comments
It seems like a dream come true. After decades of sabotaging efforts to create a cable-ready standard for television sets, the cable industry appears to have come to its senses. The NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) has proposed a “ditch the box” initiative that embraces several necessary components of a scheme to replace the ailing 14-year-old CableCARD standard.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 30, 2016 1 comments
Rovi has bought TiVo, everyone’s favorite DVR maker, and adopted its name. Why is this $1.1 billion deal so richly ironic? Rovi got its start in 1983 as Macrovision, a videocassette anti-copy system that caused strobing of images on playback of illegal tape-to-tape copies. As an unintended side effect, the system sometimes did the same even with authorized prerecorded tapes. So it’s quite an eyebrow raiser to see Macrovision’s successor absorbing a company devoted to personal video recording.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 25, 2016 0 comments

LCR3 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value

SB-900 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value

FS3 Soundbar
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,550 to $2,075 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Slim-profile passive soundbar, or...
Compact LCRs in front, with...
One sub or two
Minus
AVR required for passive bar
Inherent limits of 8-inch sub

THE VERDICT
Whether configured with a three-channel soundbar up front or compact LCRs all around, this system delivers deeply satisfying performance for the price, with plenty of listening comfort.

How should your 5.1-channel system handle the three channels in front? You might use the traditional approach of three separate speakers. Then again, you might simply use a passive soundbar with left, center, and right drivers. We’ve reviewed both kinds of systems—but until now, we haven’t reviewed both options at once. In this Test Report, that’s just what we’re going to do. We’ll start with Atlantic Technology’s new FS3 soundbar in the front and two voice-matched LCR3 satellites in the surround positions. Then we’ll swap out the soundbar for three more satellites to see what that brings to the table. To make it even more interesting, we’ll start with a single 8-inch SB-900 subwoofer, then contemplate the advantages of adding a second one.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 05, 2016 4 comments
My job is to write audio equipment reviews and news briefs for our magazine. My hobby is to write this blog. Writing for a print medium means writing tight because there's only so much space to go around. That means routinely eliminating material. The temptation I face most often is to lard hardware reviews with music criticism. I'm a lapsed music critic and like to blur the boundary between tech criticism and music criticism as long as it doesn't disserve the tech-oriented reader. Recently I faced a similar temptation when reviewing a Sony Walkman and earbuds. It required a trip out of the office. Some impressions of the trip ended up on the cutting room floor. They weren't strictly necessary for the review, but they haunted me. I'll blog them here instead.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 02, 2016 1 comments
A recent wave of cable-company consolidations is inexorably bringing the market under the dominion of ever fewer players. The latest mega-deal is the absorption of Time Warner Cable into Charter Communications in a $65.5 billion deal, which followed lengthy review by the FCC.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 02, 2016 2 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,999 pr

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Ribbon tweeter for wide horizontal dispersion
Kevlar cone woofer with dual-chambered loading
Multi-layered, curved cabinet
Minus
Limited bass, typical of compact monitors

THE VERDICT
The Quad Z1 monitor uses a beautifully voiced ribbon tweeter to achieve improved room coverage versus a conventional dome tweeter.

Everything you think you know about Quad comes with a curve ball. Some might associate the name with quadraphonic sound, but in fact it originally stood for Quality Unit Amplifier Domestic. That name implies a mission involving amps, and Quad does make ’em—but as any longtime audiophile can tell you, the brand is best known for its large flatpanel electrostatic loudspeakers. Some of those graying audiophiles remember Quad as a British manufacturer, but it has been under the competent and enlightened ownership of Bernard and Michael Chang of Taiwan and their International Audio Group for more than a decade.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 21, 2016 2 comments
Nestled in the heart of the trendy Meatpacking District, Samsung 837 is Manhattan’s latest destination. It is not, however, a store...
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 19, 2016 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $899

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Three gain settings
Heavy build and discrete components
Clickwheel nostalgia
Minus
No touchscreen or apps
No input for DAC use
No Bluetooth

THE VERDICT
Although short on some bells and whistles, the Questyle QP1R is a dedicated music player that offers four-figure sound and build quality at a three-figure price.

If you had chucked me into a time machine a decade ago, freed me today, then handed me the Questyle QP1R, naturally I’d mistake it for an iPod on steroids. With that clickwheel, it’s got to be an iPod, right? You’d have to explain to me that what Questyle calls the steering wheel isn’t identical to Apple’s clickwheel; here, the functions are divided differently among the wheel, its big central button, and the four vibrating touch-sensitive buttons around it.

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