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Brent Butterworth

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 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: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

The speaker world is anything but conservative. Think of the different types you can buy: good ol' cones 'n' domes, electrostatics, planar magnetics, ribbons, horns, pulsating spheres, and more, mounted in all sorts of enclosures or in no enclosures at all.

The world of custom home theater is less daring. Installers want speaker systems that sound great, play loud as hell for hours on end, place reasonable demands on amplifiers, and install easily. This is why you rarely see anything but cone 'n' dome speakers used in custom home theaters.

Of the companies catering to the custom market, BG Radia is one of the few that does things differently.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 23, 2010 0 comments

Like panthers or hamsters or bats, video projectors do the bulk of their business in the dark. But darkness makes most humans uncomfortable, which may be why front projection has never made it into the mainstream — in order to get a good picture, you have to turn most, and preferably all, of the lights off.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 30, 2013 0 comments

The companies that have most benefitted from the headphone boom are the ones who are great at marketing but don't know much about audio engineering. (Yet.) Two of the hottest brands in the biz are Beats and Skullcandy, companies that didn't even exist when the iPod debuted.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 01, 2012 0 comments

When I first encountered the Exodus from House of Marley, during our test last fall of celebrity-branded headphones, I didn’t expect much. I assumed the company had put all its effort into the Exodus’ stunning styling, and little into sound quality.

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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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