Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 10, 2014 0 comments
Indy Audio Labs is putting the finishing touches on the long-awaited Acurus Act 4 AV preamp-processor, which is slated to launch in February 2015 for $6,000, according to Rick Santiago, CEO of Indy Audio Labs.

Now in beta, the 11.3-channel pre-pro will be equipped with Dolby Atmos processing. “We think Dolby has come out with a great platform to take surround to the next level,” Santiago said. “It’s been tested in professional cinemas so to be able to get it in the home is really exciting.

“The Act 4 is a great centerpiece for a high-performance Atmos home theater,” he continued. “It’s got all the I/O connectivity you need, including the latest HDMI and connectivity with your network, balanced outputs, a phono premp, icon-driven menus, and a beautiful 7-inch touch-panel display that translates to mobile devices very simply so you can control the processor from anywhere in your home.”

Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2014 1 comments
Weeks before Onkyo and Pioneer announced the first Dolby Atmos-equipped AV receivers, we received a press release touting the “first ever immersive sound receiver”—the Auro-3D Auriga from Belgium-based Auro Technlogies. Intrigued by its high-end looks—and $16,700 price—we reached out to CEO and Auro-3D inventor Wilfried Van Baelen to learn more about the product and the Auro 3D surround-sound format at its core. Auro 11.1, which adds height and overhead channels to an existing 5.1 surround-sound setup, debuted in theaters in 2011 and today supports almost 500 screens worldwide, according to the company. Recent movies mixed in Auro 11.1 include Oculus, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and a number of foreign films.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 27, 2014 1 comments
The Pace of Change Shows No Signs of Letting Up.

The road to driverless cars is lined with technology we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. From auto parking and rich head-up displays to cutting-edge “infotainment” features, dashboard tech is right up there with horsepower/performance, handling, and other traditional car buying metrics. And the pace of change we’ve seen over the past decade shows no signs of letting up—if anything, it’s accelerating now that technology has become an integral part of the shopping experience.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 20, 2014 1 comments
Alfred Vassilkov’s latest sonic creation looks more like a sculpture than a speaker, which is why you can’t help but do a double take. But beyond its stunning looks are several unexpected—and highly practical—surprises. We asked Estelon partner Alissa Vassilkov, who also happens to be Alfred’s daughter, to tell us the story behind this unique, $239,000/pair speaker.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 11, 2014 3 comments
In preparation for the launch of the first wave of Dolby Atmos-enabled products, Dolby is conducting press demos in New York and Los Angeles this week. Stay tuned for our reports later in the week. In the meantime, we touched base with Brett Crockett, director of sound research at Dolby Labs, to learn more about Atmos and its promise of taking home theater to new heights.

S&V: Why does the world need another surround format? What does Atmos bring to the home theater experience?
Brett Crockett: Dolby Atmos moves beyond the paradigm of channel-based audio, which has gone as far as it can in the home. Captivating sound surrounds you from all directions, including overhead, filling the room with astonishing clarity, richness, detail, and depth. The specific sounds of people, music, and things move all around you in multidimensional space, so you feel like you are inside the action.

S&V: How does the “object-based” Atmos system compare with the familiar channel-based system?
BC: Until now, cinema sound designers have had to mix independent sounds together into channels for soundtrack creation. A discrete sound, such as a helicopter, has been assigned to an individual channel rather than precisely to where it would occur naturally in the scene. While a sound can move across channels, there’s no height dimension. For example, you might hear the helicopter from a side channel (and speaker array) but not above you. This approach limits your audio experience because it can’t come close to matching the way you hear in real life, with sounds coming from every direction.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 21, 2014 0 comments
If you’re one of the six in 10 Americans who have ditched land-line phone service to become a cell-phone-only household, Jeff Eggebraaten has a proposition for you: Use the phone lines running through your walls as a cheap and simple way to spread music around the house. The founder of Intellegg devised a set of cables that make it possible to shuttle music from a computer/laptop or iPod/MP3 player in one room to existing stereo systems or powered speakers in up to five other rooms at the same time. “It’s like plugging an iPod into a stereo, but with Moxivo there’s a phone line in between,” Eggebraaten says.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 11, 2014 0 comments
When someone says “invisible sound,” the first thing that comes to my mind is an in-wall/ceiling speaker hidden behind an inconspicuous grille. ClearView Audio has a different take on “invisible” with its stylish Clio Bluetooth speaker, which uses acrylic glass to create sound. No domes, no cones, except for a tiny 2-inch “woofer” hidden in the base that supports what you might call its sonic windshield. We asked CEO Stefen Bokamper to tell us about this unusual speaker.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 09, 2014 0 comments
It’s no secret that prolonged exposure to loud music can lead to tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears) and permanent hearing loss. Any number of famous rock musicians have acknowledged having hearing problems. Hitting closer to home, the Hearing Health Foundation reports that 50 million Americans live with hearing loss, a staggering statistic that includes one in five teens, whose hearing problems are largely attributed to listening to music through headphones—especially earbuds—at high volumes for an extended period.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 09, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $900

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Quick setup Bluetooth streaming Impeccable build quality Excellent bass and tonal balance
Minus
Pricey
Restricted soundstage

THE VERDICT
Crescendo is an elegant tabletop music system that shines with vocal and acoustic music, but it might leave you yearning for a broader soundstage.

Let me just get this out of the way right up front: MartinLogan’s Crescendo is a work of art and perhaps the most beautiful tabletop music system on the planet. It’s also not at all what you expect from a company that’s been building fine electrostatic speakers for three decades. But who can fault a company for broadening its horizons and doing it in a way that upholds its long-standing dedication to quality? Crescendo is, after all, a classy addition to the MartinLogan family.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jun 17, 2014 2 comments
Tom Nousaine, former contributing technical editor and columnist for Sound & Vision, died June 8, 2014 in Pinckney, MI. He was 69.

A life-long audio enthusiast, Tom’s work appeared in numerous publications, including Stereo Review (predecessor to S&V, Audio, Sound & Image, Video, Car Stereo Review, Mobile Entertainment, Road Gear, Audio/Video International, The Audio Critic, The $ensible Sound, and Telephony.

Tom was a long time member of the Southeastern Michigan Woofer and Tweeter Marching Society (SWTMS) and served as regional vice president of the Audio Engineering Society and chairman of the AES Chicago Section. He founded the Prairie State Audio Construction Society and the Society for Depreciation Professionals while employed as director of capital recovery for Ameritech, one of the seven regional “Baby Bell” companies that arose out of AT&T’s 1984 divestiture.

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