SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  0 comments
Everyone and their brother (and mother) are making headphones these days, but Audio-Technica has been doing it for far longer than most. They continue to refine their designs, and are showing five new or upgraded headphones in their High Fidelity line.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 05, 2016  |  First Published: Jan 06, 2016  |  0 comments
Shure is showing two very upscale products at CES: the KSE1500 electrostatic earphone system (MSRP $2,999) and SHA900 portable listening amplifier (MSRP $999).

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 05, 2016  |  0 comments
MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is continuing its march toward sonic superiority. It announced that new partners will provide MQA content, and that HTC is demonstrating a smartphone equipped with a "proof of concept" MQA decoder.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 05, 2016  |  0 comments
70 years is a long time. Few companies make it that far. Klipsch, one of the survivors, and a storied company at that, is now under the VOXX corporate umbrella, and VOXX is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Dec 22, 2015  |  4 comments
A couple of days ago, I was sitting in my home theater listening to some music—a recording of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, actually—and it hit me: The symphony orchestra is the greatest analog audio playback machine ever invented.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Dec 15, 2015  |  2 comments
The UHD Alliance, a coalition of 30+ companies, is developing the technical standards that define the ecosystem of 4K Ultra HD television comprising displays, content, and distribution. The group has previously published various specifications, but the complete 4K Ultra HD specification has only just been completed, and will be debuted at the upcoming CES in 2016. The spec took forever to hammer out because of a curious disparity in display technologies. Exactly what the hold up? Brightness.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Dec 01, 2015  |  10 comments
I recently blogged about Millennials, the demographic that is displacing Boomers at the top of the consumer food chain. I described how Millennial purchasing will increasingly define the audio/video markets and their preferences will increasingly define the nature of those products. Predicting the future is a dangerous game, but much like watching a bunny passing through a python, we can observe demographic bulges passing through the consumer market. Let's take a closer look at Millennials.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Nov 24, 2015  |  3 comments
When you buy a Blu-ray Disc for $25, you expect the very best quality. When you rent a Blu-ray for $2, do you still expect the best? Or would the budget pricing lower your expectations? Do you simply assume that the bits comprising a rental movie are the same as the retail movie? You might be surprised to learn that not all bits are created equal. And therein lies a mystery.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Nov 17, 2015  |  4 comments
Remember when flat-screen TVs first appeared? Whoa! That was the coolest thing ever! They were so flat! And so big! We couldn't get rid of our CRT TVs fast enough. We all bought them. Then when the prices dropped, we upgraded to bigger and better ones. Now we all have really nice TVs. So, are you planning to buy yet another new TV this holiday season?
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Nov 03, 2015  |  36 comments
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are defined as the demographic with birth years ranging from the early 80s to the early 00s. In other words, Millennials are about 15 to 35 years old. I am appealing to you. You account for almost half of all audio hardware sales. More than any other single group, you are the ones responsible for screwing it up for the rest of us.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 20, 2015  |  2 comments
When we think of audio companies, images of tall buildings, rows of cubicles, and loading docks usually come to mind. And it’s true that many audio companies are still like that. But a more contemporary image of an audio company would be you in your pajamas. You see, technology manufacturing isn’t what it used to be.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 13, 2015  |  1 comments
You might recall a recent Signals column about a Google patent application that described an anthropomorphic entertainment controller. The microphones/ears and cameras/eyes of the proposed Chucky-like device really creeped me out. Then a reader alerted me to an Amazon product that has similar functionality. It's not a document in the Patent Office; it's a real thing keeping tabs on people in their homes.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 06, 2015  |  0 comments
Everyone is familiar with virus attacks on PCs and Macs. We take precautions to minimize the risk - making sure the firewall is up, keeping our antivirus software up to date, and not clicking on scary attachments. We are perhaps less vigilant with virus attacks on our phones. Of course, the danger is just as scary. Adding even more anxiety is a new virus called Stagefright that can be embedded in MP3 and MP4 files.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Sep 29, 2015  |  0 comments
It's not easy being a corporation. Take Volkswagen, for example. Right about now, they are probably wishing that Ferdinand Porsche had never stuffed an air-cooled engine in the back of a Beetle-shaped car. Along similar lines, Toshiba probably wishes it had hired more ethical accountants. In particular, it recently announced that it had overstated its profits by $1.3 billion over seven years. Oops. Not exactly a rounding error.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Sep 22, 2015  |  0 comments
As you may have noticed, things are becoming more complex. Blame Moore’s Law, or whatever. But things are complicated. To help us manage that complexity, companies are devising even more complicated things that give us, the human users, the illusion of simplicity. However, a recent Google patent application, aimed at simplifying the operation of things like home entertainment systems, is just downright creepy.

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