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Bob Ankosko Posted: May 10, 2016 8 comments
"The problem is that the current standard audio specifications for headphones and loudspeakers are almost useless in terms of indicating how good or bad they sound." —Sean Olive

Harman International, the multibillion company that supplies infotainment technology to automakers around the world and owns such storied audio brands as JBL, Infinity, Revel, Mark Levinson, and Lexicon, to name a few, dates back to 1953 when Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon founded one of audio’s most iconic brands, Harman Kardon. The pioneering brand, which introduced the world’s first hi-fi (and later stereo) receiver, started with a commitment to pursue high-quality sound. That commitment endures through the work of Sean Olive, a 23-year Harman veteran...

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Apr 14, 2016 3 comments
I hate to open on a downer, but you need to know right up front that the magnificent TV shown here is available only in England and Germany. Did I mention it’s a Panasonic? And an OLED? Or that its U.S.-equivalent price is eleven grand? Yes, it’s true: The one-time plasma stalwart is making moves in a territory that until now has been ruled by LG. The Viera TX-65CZ950 was unveiled at the IFA electronics show in Berlin last September and shipped to select stores in Europe a month or so later. Panasonic also demonstrated the 65-inch TV at the CES 2016 in Las Vegas, giving us hope that it (or its more reasonably priced progeny) might be headed our way. There was no announcement regarding U.S. availability, however.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 31, 2016 2 comments
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine was when I laid eyes on the 2HP-D, one of three amazing amplifiers that signal the return of Scientific Audio Electronics. Founded in 1967 by stealth designer Morris Kessler (see "15 Minutes with SAE Founder, Amp Guru Morris Kessler."), SAE has always been synonymous with world-class amplification, which in Kessler’s view boils down to three key ingredients: reliability, accuracy, and freedom from noise. As he puts it, “Voltage and current must be available to satisfy the demands of the program material, and the amplifier itself cannot intrude on the user experience.”
Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 31, 2016 1 comments
Morris Kessler with his classic SAE Mark 2 amplifier.

Even if you never heard his name you know his work. For nearly half a century Morris Kessler has been quietly designing and building world-class power amplifiers, not only for SAE—the iconic brand he founded in 1967—but for his other company ATI and a number of respected brands including Dynaco, Aragon, Crestron, Adcom, Integra Research, and B&K, to name a few. But that’s not all Kessler is known for...

Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 22, 2016 7 comments
Today marks the official launch of Vizio’s four-model P-Series lineup of high-dynamic range-enabled HDTVs at prices ranging from $1,000 for a 50-inch model to $3,800 for a 75-inch model. But that’s just part of the story.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 01, 2016 Published: Feb 29, 2016 1 comments
Few have done more to advance the state of the art in audio reproduction than J. Robert Stuart, co-founder, chairman, and technical director of England’s prestigious Meridian Group, Life Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), and recipient of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. In a recent video commemorating the honor, Meridian co-founder and long-time collaborator, Allen Boothroyd—the man responsible for the brand’s elegant designs—observed: “I never realized when I set up business with Bob that the guy’s a genius.” Genius, indeed...
Bob Ankosko Posted: Feb 16, 2016 1 comments
When JBL fired up the latest iteration of its state-of-the-art Synthesis system at 2015 CEDIA Expo, more than a few jaws dropped (ours included). The system mated a mind-blowing array of 32 speakers with a 17-foot-wide screen and a battery of amplifiers that delivered 10-plus kilowatts of power to the (eight) subwoofers alone. Talk about visceral.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Feb 11, 2016 1 comments
Way back in 1958 when stereo was a novelty, the comedy duo Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding released Bob And Ray Throw A Stereo Spectacular, a whimsical LP showcasing the marvels of two-channel sound.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Feb 02, 2016 5 comments
What’s not to like about a video projection system that throws a dazzling 147-inch 4K image on the wall from only a few inches away? No need to run wires and hang a bulky box from the ceiling or build an alcove in the back of the room to hide it away. And no distracting shadows when Uncle Ted stands up in the middle of the movie to stretch…again. Even better, the Sony LSPX-W1S is 21 inches deep and stands only 10.5 inches off the floor. Its decorative aluminum grille lends an air of elegance, concealing the projector in what could easily be mistaken for a high-end baseboard heating unit.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 27, 2016 9 comments
When I picked up Pioneer’s SE-MASTER1 headphone at CEDIA Expo in October, I knew it was special. Substantial yet lightweight and exceptionally well crafted with scrupulous attention to detail, right down to the contoured ear cushions and engraved serial number. (Sorry, S/N 00001 is already spoken for.) If you were to crack open the ear cups, you’d find the same commitment to excellence in the form of a highly refined ceramic-coated aluminum diaphragm surrounded by a ribbed ring, designed to reduce distortion, all framed in a sturdy aluminum alloy to minimize resonance.

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