Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 18, 2014 0 comments
Rail passengers in Los Angeles’ Union Station got a taste of what was billed as “the world’s first large-scale opera for wireless headphones.” Invisible Cities was based on Italo Calvino’s spellbinding novel in which Marco Polo describes fantasy cities to Kublai Khan. The production used Sennheiser’s wireless headphone and microphone technology to allow listeners wearing RS 120 cans to roam around the large public space “onstage” and commune with the performers.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 18, 2014 0 comments

Aero 2 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Aero 9 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,446

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Flat BMR in lieu of tweeter
Clear sonic window into the midrange
Unusual dual-mono/bipole surrounds
Affordable price
Minus
Boxy vinyl-wrap enclosures

THE VERDICT
Cambridge Audio’s Aero reinvents the two-way loudspeaker in midrange-friendly fashion with excellent performance and value.

What if you needed two throats to speak? Sounds a bit cumbersome, right? But that’s how a two-way loudspeaker usually treats the human voice. Its drivers divide the midrange frequencies where the voice resides into two parts, sending higher frequencies to the tweeter and lower frequencies to the woofer. While the crossover varies from speaker to speaker, the frequencies that handle the voice usually get split right in the region where human ears are most sensitive to vocal timbre.

Of course, good speaker designers routinely surmount this obstacle to natural vocal sound, either by carefully tweaking their two-way designs or by going to three-way designs that dedicate a separate driver to midrange reproduction. But the three-way approach adds two more crossover sections, potentially leading to other troubled areas of reproduction.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 11, 2014 11 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Top-drawer room correction
Strong dynamics
Bounteous custom features
Minus
Bluetooth requires accessory

THE VERDICT
The Denon AVR-4520CI and Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction combine to produce a close to perfect-sounding receiver.

Denon and its sister brand Marantz are among the most popular A/V receiver makers. The AVR-4520CI is Denon’s top-of-the-line model, the brand’s best shot at building every feature worth having into a nine-channel powerhouse. It does not attempt to be all things to all people (Bluetooth users, for instance). But it does offer a feature set that is strong in custom integrator features; hence the CI designation in the model number. And, as I discovered in this review—you won’t mind if I give away the ending, will you?—it also offers the best implementation of Audyssey room correction I’ve ever heard. Room correction has always seemed like a great idea, but the results have been hit or miss. Here it consistently produced great sound.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 10, 2014 1 comments
414blackout.promo250.jpgWhen cable operators and networks can’t agree on retransmission fees, cable viewers may suddenly see blackouts of broadcast and other channels. Such blackouts set a record in 2013, according to the American Television Alliance. Now legislation has been introduced in Congress that would prevent viewers from missing their favorite shows.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 04, 2014 4 comments
The Universal Music Group is taking a new kind of plunge into the Blu-ray disc format. Already the videophile's go-to format for movies and concert videos, Blu-ray now bids to conquer audiophiles. At least, that's the plan. Whether it goes anywhere is a different question.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Now that 4K TVs are hitting the stores, what’s the outlook for 4K sporting events? Among pros surveyed by Miranda Sports Productions, 33.5 percent said HD 1080p would be their first pick for outfitting production trucks three years from now. 4K was their second choice at 28.6 percent, and HD 1080i came in third at 24.4 percent. Lagging far behind were IPTV (4.4 percent), 8K (3.7 percent), 720p (2.6 percent), 3D (1.9 percent), and SD (0.9 percent). Currently the top format in sports production is 1080i at 54.4 percent, followed by 720p and SD, tied at 18.1 percent, and 1080p at 7 percent.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 25, 2014 5 comments
In a surprise announcement, Pioneer revealed that it will re-enter the TV manufacturing arena. No, it won’t resume building its world-beating Kuro plasmas. But it will make LED-backlit, 1080p, Wi-Fi streaming sets of 55, 46, and 40 inches. Dixons Retail has an exclusive agreement to develop and sell Pioneer TVs in European markets through Currys & PC World stores. No word on whether Pioneer would resume making TVs for North America and other markets. Pioneer quit the television business in 2009 and licensed its Elite TV brand to Sharp in 2011.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 20, 2014 0 comments
Prescient Audio’s Paul Niedermann scowled at the trunk of his car. The supplied loudspeaker system took up too much space. He thought about it and came up with a solution: Prescient’s ThinDriver Technology, which fits a 12-inch subwoofer driver into an enclosure about one-third the conventional size.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 07, 2014 4 comments
My moment of immortality in the Pazz & Jop Poll, the annual music critic's poll that runs in The Village Voice, came when I confessed my craving for classical music, not a popular genre at the Voice. I mentioned how much I loved gorging on $2 used LPs at the now-gone Tower Annex in Lower Manhattan, buying "as much dead white boy music as I can carry to the bus." My ballot comment ran in the paper, which was a great honor. That was sometime in the early 1990s, during the golden age of cheap vinyl, before the current vinyl resurgence. Folks were dumping LPs for CDs and even an impecunious collector could make out like a bandit. Today vinyl isn't as cheap as it once was; those 180-gram virgin-vinyl reissues cost a bundle, as do vintage pressings of Beatles and Pink Floyd albums. Yet even today I continue to collect loads of used classical vinyl. Most of it is still cheap and it's one of the few forms of high-res audio an inkstained wretch can afford to buy in large quantities.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 05, 2014 2 comments
The venerable Miller & Kreisel loudspeaker brand is making a comeback. When a Danish company bought the brand in 2007, it was forced to take the name MK Sound. But new products being released for the 40th anniversary will wear the M&K (as opposed to MK) badge. These THX Ultra2–certified products include the S-300 monitor ($3,500/each), MP-300 on-wall speaker ($3,350/each), and S-300T on-wall tripole speaker ($4,000/pair).

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