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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 19, 2013 1 comments
Speakers are like karate. Subwoofers are like weightlifting. The quality of a speaker is determined by subtleties: well-chosen drivers, just-right crossover points and slopes, and a perfectly tuned, solidly constructed enclosure. The quality of a subwoofer is determined mostly by its muscle: the size of the enclosure, the displacement of its driver, and the power of its amplifier.
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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments
When testing headphones with multiple listeners—our standard practice at S+V—I've learned that perceptions of a headphone's tonal balance can differ among listeners. Of course, individual taste in sound varies, too.
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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 27, 2000 Published: Aug 28, 2000 0 comments
Jaded no more.

I've heard too many speakers. After 10 years of reviewing them, it's hard for me to remember what it was like to be surprised . . . astounded . . . amazed by a really good speaker. However, over the past couple of months, I've gotten a taste of what it was like when I first heard good speakers— when I first experienced broad soundstaging, precise imaging, and a neutral, natural tonal balance.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 18, 2012 0 comments

As athletes such as Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant, and the whole New Orleans Saints defense have learned the hard way, even when you’re the best, it helps to be friendly. Big surround sound systems aren’t friendly to your décor or your pocketbook. Fortunately, in the last 2 years, we’ve seen major speaker companies put serious effort into designing compact 5.1 systems that deliver no-compromise performance. The Mini Theatre line from Bowers & Wilkins is the latest to make its way through my listening room.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 02, 2010 0 comments

In the heyday of Blockbuster, music documentaries and concert videos were tough to find unless you were willing to settle for musty oldies like the Three Tenors or musty newbies like Britney Spears. But the rise of video-streaming technology - and in particular, Netflix's Watch Instantly streaming service - has made music-video content of all types easier to access.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments

More than any other speaker in this group except perhaps the Polk, the BX1 ($379/pr) looks like a high-end product, with its walnut finish; its 1-inch, gold-finish C-CAM (composite ceramic metal) tweeter; and its 5.5-inch C-CAM woofer. Unusually, the woofer is attached to the back panel, not the front, so its vibration won't be as easily transmitted to the front panel.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 16, 2010 0 comments

Lots of companies make cars. Lots of companies make video projectors. But when you look under the hood of either product, you’ll realize that not many companies make engines — i.e., the piston engines that power cars and the light engines that power projectors. That still leaves plenty of things to do like add a body, decide which features should accompany the engine, and sometimes tweak the engine to better suit individual needs.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 15, 2012 0 comments

One of the best weekends of my life involved a train trip to visit a new, out-of-state girlfriend. I barely remember my time with her, but I vividly remember what I read on the way: Vance Dickason’s Loudspeaker Design Cookbook.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 25, 2012 0 comments

I bet your average dude on the street can’t name a single audio company that’s not in the headphone biz now. For an audiophile, it’s easier. As I look around my listening room, I see lots of them: AudioControl, Canare, Hsu Research, Krell, Rotel, Sunfire, and Sonus Faber, none of which have (yet) entered the personal audio field. But that’s changing. The Pro-Ject RM-1.3 turntable sitting atop my audio rack now shares its brand with two headphones, the $129 Hear It One and the $79 Hear It Two.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 01, 2011 0 comments

Home theater enthusiasts have had seven speakers in their systems for a decade now, but only now is Hollywood finally catching up. Last Saturday, Dolby Laboratories feted the release of the Megamind Blu-ray Disc, which it says is the first movie released in 7.1-channel sound in theaters and on Blu-ray. A screening of the Blu-ray Disc in the company's technically unassailable theater was preceded by a discussion with Erik Aadahl, one of the movie's two supervising sound editors.

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