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John Sciacca

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John Sciacca Posted: Dec 23, 2013 0 comments
As 2013 winds down, it seems appropriate to share the trends—tech and otherwise—that struck me at the annual CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo this past September in Denver.
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John Sciacca Posted: Nov 20, 2013 3 comments
Back when I was a kid, I took my TV watching very seriously. It was an active event that demanded laser-like, sugar-fueled focus. I mean, just one glance away from those glowing cathode rays could result in missing some crucial Scooby Doo or Brady Bunch plot twist, possibly resulting in years of wondering what exactly happened to Marsha’s nose.

Reaching back into the days before DVR, DVD-R, or even VCR, you basically got one shot at watching something. And that meant TV viewers had some serious skin in the game when watching a show that was important to them. There were no pausing, no on-demand, and no Web streaming alternatives.

John Sciacca Posted: Oct 29, 2013 0 comments
Perusing your favorite AV site (it’s this one, right?!), browsing real or virtual aisles of an electronics store, or surfing the Web, you’ve undoubtedly run across multiple companies offering to improve your audio by adding a soundbar. With models ranging from sub $100 to over $2,000, it’s a category that has exploded practically overnight.

In a way, soundbars can be likened to nuclear power; used correctly, they can improve your life, but misused can kill everyone in the world several times over. (I don’t have all the science needed to back that up, but I’m pretty sure it’s true.)

John Sciacca Posted: Oct 01, 2013 2 comments
Coupled with high-speed Internet and the growing app marketplace, smartphones are often the most important tech device in many of our lives, with phone calling often the least used feature. The exciting news for techies is the amount of control available for your home from anywhere in the world, and much of this amazing tech is affordable and DIY-friendly to install!
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 30, 2013 1 comments
Proving the you’re never too far away from home to be in control, the Z-Wave Alliance sponsored a Himalayan expedition where climber Mariusz Malkowski went to the top of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. When Malkowski reached the 29,609 foot summit, he Skype’d in live to the Expo show floor on a satellite phone. Malkowski said it was midnight his time with local temps at minus 40-degrees! Using his satellite phone, he was able to check the status of several Z-Wave devices, and after speaking to the assembled crowd for a moment, he then unlocked a Kwikset Z-Wave enabled door lock, and turned on Fibaro Z-Wave enabled lights and then adjusted his Remotec Z-Wave thermostat. Definite proof that you are never too far away from home for technology to keep you in touch!
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
You very rarely see a manufacturer directly comparing one of their products to another manufacturer’s model. This year, Sonance wanted to prove that its new Visual Performance series of loudspeakers are the real deal and that they aren’t afraid of direct comparisons to any competitor. To prove their mettle, Sonance built a wall in their high-performance audio room and directly compared the new VP66 speaker against similarly priced models from Bowers & Wilkins (CWM663) and Revel (W563).
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Paradigm Simplifies In-Ceiling Installations Everyone talks about how speakers sound, but if you’ve ever been on top of a ladder, balancing a speaker in one hand and a drill in the other, then you’ll also care about how they install. Paradigm has redesigned its CS series – v.3 – and has made some design improvements to make the speaker easier on the installer. The new CS speakers features a new Glass-Reinforced ABS Baffle (GRAB) that have high-strength ABC clamps replacing the polymer brackets on the previous series. To further easy install, the dog-ear mounting system is angled to better bite into drywall and the speaker has a deeper set-screw which helps to hold the drill steady. The new series also has a bezel-less design and features a magnetic grille. The new series also features more robust binding posts, and some new crossover components and other sound tweaks.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
While MartinLogan is definitely known for its large, electrostatic speaker panels, they also make some wonderful sounding in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. The Stealth Series uses a 60% larger version of the company’s Folded Motion XT tweeter than that found in the lower-end ElectroMotion series. The tweeter can also be easily rotated to insure that it is always correctly positioned – vertically – whether the speaker is being used horizontally or vertically. The Vanquish – being held in the photo – is the in-ceiling version and features a unique selector switch that allows the installer to optimize the speaker for either left, center, or right and front or rear use, ensuring that it will minimize interactions with the nearest wall.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Monitor Audio has released the new Controlled Performance – CP – Trimless range of speakers with ten new models, delivering high performance across a range of budgets and sizes. The line-up includes eight two-way models in three performance levels and two three-way designs. All models in the line-up will features the company’s signature 1-inch Gold C-CAM dome tweeter, a Ceramic-Coated Aluminium/Magnesium material originally developed by the aerospace industry for use as blades in jet engines. In a speaker, it results in increased clarity and reduced distortion. The speakers also integrate fully-sealed back boxes, meaning they are not going to be affected by the unknown acoustics elements of an open wall or ceiling cavity and offer better acoustic isolation from adjoining rooms. The trimless bezels offer a much more discreet and clean design aesthetic.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
In-wall or in-ceiling speakers require there to be a minimum depth to mount into, but if you have a narrow cavity you can be out-of-luck. Or worse, out-of-luck AND with a big hole in your wall or ceiling. Fortunately, Revel has just the speaker, the new low-profile version of its 2-series in-wall/in-ceiling speaker. Designed to fit in a depts. Of only 2.8-inches these speakers will fit where others won’t. Fortunately, you won’t be skimping on sound just because you are going shallow, and you can choose between a 6 ½-inch or 8-inch woofers. Both models feature high-quality drivers including aluminum cone woofers and 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeters. They include the popular micro-bezel design and use multiple neodymium magnets to securely hold the grills in place.

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