David Chesky's name is practically synonymous with audiophile recording and the quest for a purer, more natural sound. Instead of close-miking instruments, recording them on multiple tracks, adding reverb, and mixing it all down, he records in great-sounding spaces in pristine stereo.
From a technical standpoint, speakers have hardly changed since I went to my first CES back in January 1990. Yet each CES is still jam-packed with new speaker designs. Some are merely modifications on the classic black box. Others are aesthetic flights of fancy intended to captivate those who really don’t much like audio gear.
Room correction systems that optimize your audio system for the acoustics of your room have been around for more than a decade — but frankly, they’ve never won me over, and I’m finally starting to understand why.
If you're more than 30 years old, you may remember when almost all speakers looked like the BIC RtR 1530 featured in a recent Parts Express e-mailer: big woofers and big enclosures, with little or no effort expended to make everything presentable. Nowadays, in the interest of gaining our domestic partners' permission to buy the damned things in the first place, we demand that our speakers be compact and gorgeous.
The 808 headphones prove I'm way hipper than any of our West Coast headphone testing panel, who range from 10 to almost 20 years younger than me. "You can tell from the name it's targeted to hip-hop fans," I told them.
I can tell you in one paragraph how to set up a pair of small speakers, but I could write a book about setting up subwoofers. It’s the most challenging aspect of home audio because the resonances in a room tend to stress certain bass frequencies and strangle others. The effects of those resonances change from place to place in a room, so the sound may be perfect in one seat and a mess the next chair over.
You have at least two listening rooms. Even if you live in a studio apartment, you have at least two listening rooms. Well, in a sense. Every listening room is, in essence, two listening rooms when you look at it from the perspective of sound.
Technologies that distribute audio and video around a home are incredibly cool-if you can afford them, if you can tolerate complicated installation, and if you can figure out how to use them once they're in. I've long assumed a big consumer electronics company like Samsung or Sony would invent a more practical multiroom A/V solution, but it seems the technology that finally gets us past the old paradigms may be Apple's AirPlay.
Hot on the heels of its new midpriced receivers, Pioneer today announced two new 7.2-channel receivers for its high-end Elite line. The new receivers use the same Class D3 amp technology as the other Elite receivers, but at lower prices: $1,100 for the new SC-71 and $1,400 for the SC-72.