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Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
What’s not to love about a leather recliner with diamond stitching, a built-in cup holder for your brewski and an optional LaunchPort swivel-base that holds and charges your iPad? Your biggest challenge will be to not fall asleep during the big game. Best part: You can position the motorized backrest and footrest from a smartphone/tablet or home automation control panel from Crestron, AMX, Control4, Savant and others. Available for $5,500-$6,000 apiece with or without the stitching.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 1 comments
Black gloss has been the default finish for speakers for ages so when I saw a home theater suite of white-gloss speakers I stopped for a closer look. Adam Professional Audio, a German company known for its studio monitors, launched the ARTist Series line of consumer speakers speakers at CEDIA Expo with five powered models: the ARTist 3 and ARTist 5 bookshelf models with 2 x 25 and 2 x 50 watts of power, the ARTist 6 mini tower with 3 x 35 watts, the ARTist 6H center speaker with 3 x 35 watts and the ARTist Sub with 140 watts driving a 7-inch woofer.

The system's sonic character is defined by Adam's smooth sounding X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter, which improves on the Heil Air Motion Transformer concept developed in the '70s. Instead of the piston motion of conventional tweeters, a pleated diaphragm produces sound by squeezing air out like the bellows of an accordion, which is said to avoid distortion and dynamic limiting. Each speaker has RCA and XLR inputs and the bookshelf models also have USB and minijack connections. The ARTist system shown (ARTist 5s are used as surrounds) sells for $5,100 and, yes, the speakers are also available in black gloss.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
TV bling? Who knew. Séura, the master of TVs that morph into mirrors and mirrors that turn into TVs, is showcasing the Crystal Frame Vanishing Television Mirror at CEDIA Expo. Incredibly, all that glitters around that 55-inch screen is not gold but a gazillion tiny Swarovski crystals. Really. How much will Crystal set you back? How's $16,500 sound? Séura offers more than 100 vanishing TV options with screens ranging in size from 10 to 75 inches with prices from $2,000 to $35,000.

The company is also introducing the Storm 1080p outdoor television with LuminOptics technology, which is said to ensure a bright, clear picture even on those sunny days when you're lounging poolside. Highlights include an anti-reflective tempered safety glass cover, an airflow system to control moisture brought about by extreme changes in temperature, an O-ring system that keeps water and other contaminants at bay, aircraft-grade aluminum construction and the ability to withstand temperatures as low as 30 below zero or as high as a scorching 140 degrees. Available in 42-, 47- and 55-inch screen sizes.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
Just what the world needs, another A/V receiver, I thought as I approached the Sherbourn booth. But the new SR-8100 (7 x 80 watts) and SR-8200 (7 x 125 watts) receivers---the company's first---have a refreshingly uncluttered look and low-profile design, support Bluetooth streaming and are covered by a generous 10-year warranty. Other goodies include multiple HDMI 1.4 inputs (seven and four, respectively), automatic room correction and an audiophile-oriented Class AB amplifier section. The $999 SR-8100 is expected to be available by the end of the year while the $1,999 SR-8200 is slated to ship in early 2013.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
Mozaex founder Douglas Kihm has been thinking about building a pair of super headphones since he was a kid, a dream he has finally realized with the BluWavs, which he is billing as the "world's first 7.1 discrete HD headphones." Each of the bulbous earcups contains five mini drivers, including what he calls a "vibration subwoofer" that literally shakes your head for a tactile experience. Each set of headphones comes with the Blender Console, which looks like a '70s-era equalizer and is available in analog and digital versions. In addition to a 15-band EQ for the front L/R channels, the blender has discrete level controls for each channel so you can really screw up...er, personalize the sound.

The 7.1-channel surround field was impressive while listening to DTS HD Master versions of the soundtrack for Tron Legacy, Peter Gabriel's Growing Up Live and Omar Hakim's Listen Up live jazz jam. Package prices range from $1,295 to $2,595, depending on the version of the Blender.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2012 0 comments
Surprisingly big sound from a tiny box is what you can expect from the Bluetooth-enabled ClarityHD Micro Speaker Monster introduced at CEDIA Expo. The concept: Instead of suffering through the tinny sound you get from your smartphone, tablet or PC, stream the audio to a portable speaker that easily fits in a briefcase or backpack.

CSR’s aptX audio coding is employed to deliver CD-quality sound and functions such as playing music, answering calls and Bluetooth pairing are handled by simple voice commands. Operating range is 30 feet and the speaker’s lithium-ion battery is said to last 5 hours on a single charge. Available in black and white, the ClarityHD sells for $220 and has a minijack input for use with non-Bluetooth devices.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2012 1 comments
Cary Audio has made a distinguished contribution to the headphone craze sweeping across the consumer electronics industry with the HH-1 headphone amp. Introduced at CEDIA Expo, the amp is designed and built in the U.S. and teams a tube preamp stage with a solid-state MOSFET output stage, chosen for its tube-like sonic characteristics. Featuring Class A operation at all output levels and a 30-second muting circuit to prevent annoying turn-on pops, the amp sports a pair of RCA inputs with loop-through outputs and is designed to drive headphones with impedances between 30 and 600 ohms. Price: $1,595.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2012 1 comments
“Make it disappear” is a common refrain in the world of custom-installed home theater systems where speakers are routinely concealed in walls and ceilings.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 21, 2012 2 comments
The transition from analog to digital TV opened our eyes to a world of vivid images that we now take for granted, but technology marches on, with the promise of something bigger and better always just around the corner. As consumer electronics companies lay the groundwork for a 4K television/video format that delivers four times the resolution of regular HDTV and prepare to roll out the first 4K TVs, an 8K format is already on the horizon.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 20, 2012 2 comments
Yes, this seductively curved work of art is a speaker. And, yes, it is one of the most unusual (and stylish) speakers you will come across. Born out of a passion for modern architecture and industrial design and inspired by the work of iconic designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Rithm is the handiwork of aeronautical-engineer-turned-speaker-designer Paul Schenkel, who set out to create an audiophile speaker that would be appreciated as much for its artisanship as for its sound.

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