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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 10, 2015 3 comments
What if streaming isn't such a good idea after all?
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 03, 2015 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Deluxe build quality and beautiful design
Plays DSD and files up to 192/24
128 GB plus microSD slot
Minus
Heavy
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Sony’s top-of-the-line Walkman music player is comfortingly overbuilt, loaded with bells and whistles. And it sounds fantastic.

The new top-of-the-line Sony Walkman is not the smallest or lightest dedicated music player out there. But is smaller always better? The smallest music player in my possession is the sixth-generation iPod nano. The tiny touchscreen device has about the footprint of a postage stamp, but that doesn’t make it easier to use. There’s not much room for a fingertip to move. For the seventh and final generation, Apple moved to a larger form factor, similar to early nanos except with the touchscreen replacing the clickwheel. Likewise, Sony went for an old-school nano-like form factor in its Walkman NWZ-A17. But that was a relatively lightweight device in more ways than one. For the top-drawer Walkman NW-ZX2, reviewed here, Sony decided on more substantial build quality—and more of it.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 26, 2015 2 comments
If the advent of Dolby Atmos in home surround gear has pricked up your ears, you may be interested to hear that object-oriented surround will also be part of the forthcoming ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV standard. That doesn’t mean Atmos itself is hitting the airwaves. Instead, other surround encoding systems will be tested this summer from Dolby, DTS, and a consortium of other companies.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 18, 2015 5 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $4,000 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Built-in triamplification
Wireless link to sources
Musically versatile sound
Minus
16-bit transmission ceiling

THE VERDICT
The Dynaudio Xeo 6 active wireless speakers are a great-sounding way to unclutter a two-channel music system.

In the history of civil unrest, there has never been anything quite like the audio rebellion. People are using half-inch-thick A/V receiver manuals as tinder and then throwing their receivers onto the flames. Doghouse-sized stereo amps and preamps are being spray-painted in the dead of night with slogans like “Where’s the wireless?” Wrist-thick speaker cables lay coiled on curbs, next to garbage cans, where passing dogs do what comes naturally. Just the other day, I turned on the TV and saw a guy in a Dynaudio T-shirt giving a speech to an angry mob. “Burn your cables!” he shouted. “Sell your amp! Ditch everything that currently clogs up your system!”

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 16, 2015 0 comments
Dolby Atmos Comes to Tablets via Lenovo’s Tab 2 A10 ($199) and Tab 2 A8 ($129), with 10- and 8-inch screens and Android OS. The surround effects work with any headphones...
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 05, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $738

AT A GLANCE
Plus
It’s like having three top-drawer speakers
Balanced performance
Passive design allows benefits of an AVR
Minus
Passive design requires an AVR

THE VERDICT
Phase Technology’s Teatro TSB3.0 soundbar dispenses with the fancy stuff and provides the performance you’d expect from three well-engineered and great-sounding speakers.

This might seem a radical concept, but what if a soundbar were just a speaker, or two or three? What if it had no internal amplifiers, just some really good drivers, a thoughtfully engineered crossover, and sets of speaker terminals, like any other quality loudspeaker?

Is this kind of soundbar a good idea? That depends on what kind of system you want—or, more specifically, whether you want a standalone audio/video receiver in your system. For some people, the AVR is like the guy you’d cross the street to avoid, someone who confuses and bedevils you. For others, the AVR is the key to a cornucopia of features, the cornerstone of a system that unlocks all your desires.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 05, 2015 15 comments
I have been lucky enough to spend nearly all of my career explaining audio and video technology to readers. I'm just as lucky to have made Sound & Vision and its predecessor Home Theater my roost since 2001. But in a previous phase of my career, I divided my time between specialist publications like this one and other kinds: music and pop culture magazines, men's and women's and travel magazines and newspapers and more. It was while writing a story for Details that I racked my brain for a way to assert the relevance of audio technology to a young, hip, music-loving audience (not unlike myself at the time). Finally I stumbled upon the key that unlocked it all: the phrase closer to music. I've been using that phrase and its cousin—your relationship with music—ever since.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 21, 2015 0 comments
Jeff Bezos—movie mogul? Don’t be surprised if the next movie you see at the local cineplex was bankrolled by Amazon. Says Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios: “Our goal is to create close to 12 movies a year with production starting later this year.” Amazon’s Original Movies would be exhibited in theaters before moving on to Prime Instant Video. Of course, Amazon has already produced content for the small screen, including a couple of dozen pilots and eight series, most recently including Bosch, an L.A. crime drama based on the bestselling novels of Michael Connelly.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 14, 2015 11 comments

Prestige 15B Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Seismic 110 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $6,145

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Advanced driver designs
Fine-grained, transparent, dynamic playback
Compact but powerful subwoofer
Minus
Boxy, non-curved enclosures

THE VERDICT
Paradigm’s Prestige series speakers and Seismic 110 sub employ unusual driver design to achieve remarkable transparency and punch.

As I sat down to write this review of the Paradigm Prestige speaker system, I couldn’t get a seemingly unrelated subject—the Pono hate—out of my head. No joke, folks: I sat at the keyboard for hours mulling it over. What chance did I have to convince readers that a $6,145 speaker system is worth hearing when a $400 music player is greeted with language like “don’t buy” and “snake oil”?

OK, I know I’m preaching to the converted. You probably wouldn’t be reading Sound & Vision if you weren’t open to the idea that a well-designed speaker system has the power to bring you closer to music. That’s what the Paradigms did for me when I informally played a few recent additions to my high-resolution music library (more on them later). I felt as if a curtain had been lifted and music was in the room with me—not just recorded music, but music.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 13, 2015 1 comments
In its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to change the definition of broadband from 4 to 25 Mbps for downloads and from 1 to 3 Mbps for uploads.

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