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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 28, 2016 0 comments
What better people to fill a channel with stirring Ultra HD visuals than the folks who landed men on the moon?
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 28, 2016 1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Compatible with DSD and 32-bit PCM
Streams to and from other devices
Extraordinary build quality
Minus
Breathtakingly high priced
32-bit capability is irrelevant to non-professionals

THE VERDICT
Astell & Kern’s AK380 offers copious network audio features and the unique plus of native 32-bit playback—but is it worth the high price to consumers?

Shock lead of the year: Astell & Kern’s AK380 music player retails for $3,499. That’s an awful lot to pay for a pocketful of music. But it seems unjust to start a review of such a product by carping over its price before evaluating its merits. After all, not many people muster moral outrage over the price tags on Porsches, Patek Philippe watches, or 99-point offerings in Wine Spectator. Why should high-end audio units—including the Pono, a comparative bargain at $400— be the only perfectionist products to face puritan scorn? No, as a consumer, I wouldn’t pay $3,499 for a music player. But as a critic, I’m willing to consider cost-noobject items on their own terms.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 21, 2016 0 comments
Netflix and Virgin America have teamed up to provide the former’s streaming on the latter’s flights—or at least those on the 10 new Airbus A320s taking flight through mid-2016.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments

PSB Alpha VS21 VisionSound Soundbase
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

PSB SubSeries 150 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,098 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Sound that transcends genre
Subtle surround and dialogue modes
Flat sub hugs the wall
Minus
No front-panel controls
No tone controls
Too small for larger TVs

THE VERDICT
The PSB Alpha VS21 and SubSeries 150 might change your mind about whether soundbases and compact subs are suitable for music.

Soundbases and bars help the audio industry stay relevant to consumers. Maybe not everyone is interested in traditional loudspeakers and receivers, but most people have a flat-panel TV, and all but the least observant of those people have noticed that the built-in speakers produce sound that is less than coherent. Many of those consumers may not know that PSB has been producing great-sounding audio products for decades, so we have a fundamental disconnect between a brand that is (relatively) unrecognized by newbies and a product category that attracts them. What will it take to bring a PSB soundbase to the newbies? Maybe their better-informed friends who read Sound & Vision should have a word with them—especially when they’re seen pulling a big flat-panel TV box out of the hatchback. Just sayin’.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 11, 2016 0 comments
Audio highlights and trends from CES 2016 worth writing home about.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2016 1 comments
Few manufacturers make value products with Emotiva's fervor and expertise, so the new Airmotiv speaker line is big news for those who want bang for buck.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2016 0 comments
GoldenEar is thinking big with two new towers and small with a new sub.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2016 1 comments
Two of three members of Anthem's new receiver line do Dolby Atmos.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2016 0 comments
The folks at SAE often find their products used in 8- to 15-channel installations, so the SAE 8300 multichannel amp offers eight times 300 watts into eight ohms (and lots more into lower impedances).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2016 0 comments
The much-loved Technics SL-1200 turntable has been reborn in a limited edition.

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