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Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 01, 2016 0 comments
A few years ago Sonos published an infographic that traces the History of Hi-Fi from Edison’s phonograph through Apple’s introduction of the iPod in 2001, stopping just short of documenting its own arrival in 2002. Long before anyone even heard of streaming, the company set out to reinvent stereo with an Internet-connected wireless speaker and introduced one of the first iPhone apps—a controller for its first system—just a few months after the App Store opened in 2008. By the end of the decade Sonos had captured the imagination of a public that seemed to be waiting for its fresh, cloud-based take on classic hi-fi. Today Sonos is a billion dollar company offering a variety of products, including the Top Pick-winning Play:5 wireless music system. We recently sat down with Patrick Spence, who took over the reigns as president in 2012, to talk about Sonos, past, present, and future.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 23, 2016 0 comments
When you stop and think how tech-infused our lives have become, it’s no wonder electronic gadgets are the most popular holiday gifts. Technology is cool. Technology enriches our lives. Technology… (add your declaration here). As the holiday shopping season gets under way, we’ve sifted through dozens of potential gifts and settled on 12 at prices ranging from $20 to $800. Approach these pages with an eye toward matching one or more of these gems with friends and loved ones on your list. Or maybe you’ll be inspired to put one or two on your wish list. I don’t know about you, but my family is always asking me what I want for Christmas. I now have a better idea…
Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 17, 2016 0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Elegant styling
Top-notch build quality
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming up to 192 kHz/24 bit
Remarkably full sound from a compact speaker
Minus
Can sound a tad bright
Not battery-powered
Rudimentary app

THE VERDICT
Oppo’s Sonica is an elegant and versatile wireless speaker whose superb sound belies its small footprint.

As I waited in anticipation for Sonica to arrive, I was reminded of an old ad slogan: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” It’s kinda that way with Oppo. Over the past 12 years, the Silicon Valley–based company has built a stellar reputation with its best-in-class Blu-ray players and Top Pick–designated headphones and amp/DACs. I couldn’t wait to see if Oppo had extended its golden touch to wireless speakers—a category with more than its fair share of duds. My expectations were high.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 10, 2016 0 comments
Once again, Samsung has partnered with a noted industrial designer to rethink modern TV. Last year it was the magnificent S9W, an ultra-wide 21:9 TV designed by Yves Béhar. This year it’s the modestly sized (and priced) Serif TV, created in collaboration with the Parisian design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 01, 2016 0 comments
Laurie Fincham has a storied career in speaker design and engineering that began in England in the early 1970s when he worked for Goodmans Loudspeakers, Celestion, and KEF. By day, he delved into speaker theory and design. By night he played stand-up bass in a jazz group to supplement his income. While at KEF, he co-developed the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) system for measuring and modeling speaker. In the early ’90s, he moved to the U.S. to work for Infinity before joining THX in 1998.

Today, as senior vice president of audio research and development, Fincham manages the audio side of the company George Lucas founded to raise the bar for cinema sound...

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Oct 06, 2016 0 comments
What good is a shiny new state-of-the-art TV if you don’t have an appropriately classy place to put it or an acrobatic wall-mount to hang it on? Or maybe you’d rather attach it to a motorized lift so you can make it appear (and disappear) at will. And what about the rest of your electronics—the receiver, that spiffy 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player…your resurrected turntable? Do you have a functional place in mind for all that stuff? Fear not. Whether you want to display your gear for all to see or hide it away, here are a few options worthy of consideration.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 28, 2016 1 comments
My first encounter with B&W’s coveted 800 Series speakers is ingrained in my memory. It was the summer of 1981 and a musician friend invited me over to see and hear his newly acquired pair of 801s. As I entered the rehearsal space in his finished basement, I remember thinking how unusual they looked compared with my boxy Fishers. Minutes later I was sinking into a cushy chair at the apex of a triangle formed with the speakers, listening to the White album feeling that I had somehow been transported into the studio during the making of a great album. The sound was authentic. I felt closer to the music—music that was very special to me. Today, more than three decades after John Bowers proudly unveiled the original 801 in 1979, B&W has reinvented its flagship under the aegis of Martial Rousseau, head of research. Here Rousseau shares the story behind the remaking an iconic speaker.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 13, 2016 2 comments
Predicting the future is a risky business, but in his role as senior director of emerging technologies for the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Industry Association (CEDIA), Dave Pedigo is paid to keep a watchful eye on what’s coming down the pike and ferret out the products and trends most likely to impact the tech landscape in 5, 10, 15 years. We recently sat down with Pedigo to find out where he sees technology heading over the next five years.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 26, 2016 0 comments
I’m going to date myself here, but the first thing I thought of when I laid eyes on the Zero 1 XD was the stark white interior of the spacecraft in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Am I crazy, or would it fit right in? In sharp contrast to a traditional horn-based speaker (think JBL or Klipsch)—and even the spectacular floating horn designs for which Germany’s Avantgarde Acoustic is known—the speaker’s ultramodern appearance is unique with its molded baffle and slim rectangular enclosure.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 10, 2016 2 comments
I’m sure I wasn’t the only local who was surprised (or puzzled) to see an old-school record shop open up in Milltown, NJ, 15 minutes from Rutgers University’s main campus in New Brunswick. A welcome addition but I wondered how long a store specializing in LPs and vintage audio gear would last. Could it survive in the age of Spotify? A year after opening its doors, Revilla Grooves on Main is not only surviving but thriving...

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