Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments
As much as it might look like it, this is not your father’s long lost amplifier—the one you remember sitting on a rack in the den next to the Dual turntable and AR-3s—recently discovered in a remote corner of the attic. Nope, behind those vintage VU meters is a thoroughly modern USB DAC/integrated amp designed for the post-analog age or, more specifically, the Age of Hi-Res Audio. Simply put, Teac’s mission with the compact AI-503 is to preserve the fine details and nuances of your carefully curated music collection, whether you’re pulling tunes off your home network, a USB thumb drive, or a digital audio player.
Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments
I worry when I see any product claiming to have audiophile sound. As if any company is going to advertise their new headphones with tone-deaf, mediocre sound? How about I-don’t-give-a-crap sound? Let’s just say that I start off a bit skeptical when I read claims like that, especially from a company who is a relative newcomer to the market. After some quality listening time with the new Zipbuds 26, I’m cutting them some slack. These earphones sound really good. Claim away.

SV Staff  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  1 comments
Cary Audio has announced that both its DMS-500 reference network audio player and AiOS all-in-one network receiver are now certified Roon Ready, meaning they can act as the hub for Roon Labs' award-winning music player interface.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments

Build Quality
PRICE $3,999

Beryllium diaphragm
Rock-star cosmetics
Fine-tuned highs and timbre

Focal’s Utopia headphones are a bleeding-edge statement from a pedigreed loudspeaker manufacturer that has made the most of its speaker-designing experience.

When I look back on all the dumb things I did as a kid, surely one of the dumbest was pitching rocks and dirt balls at a wasp nest. With each impact, a cloud of wasps rose from the nest. It was mesmerizing—until one of us got stung. Reviewing Focal’s Utopia headphones isn’t at all stupid, but I suspect the results are going to be similar: a cloud of wasps, maybe a sting. Some readers will look askance at $3,999 headphones, especially since the things I have on hand for comparison cost a fraction of that. I don’t often breathe such rarefied air.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  2 comments
Though I live in an apartment packed with LPs and CDs, my work as an audio reviewer sometimes requires me to access music from a mobile device, either directly from the device itself or streaming to an a/v receiver or wireless speaker(s). I use a tablet for that. Ideally, the tablet should hold a generous selection of music files, the higher-res the better, and make it easy to manage them. Unfortunately the tablets I've owned up to now have done neither of those things. So it's time for a new tablet. And it's not an iPad.

Avi Greengart  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
In the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a school textbook. The movie of the same name provides the back story of its author. I hope there is no test, because I found the movie long and overstuffed.
David Vaughn  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
One of the bloodiest battles in World War II happened on Okinawa in 1945, and it definitely wasn’t the place you wanted to be if you didn’t carry a weapon. But for conscientious objector Desmond Doss, this wasn’t an option. While he believed the war was justified—which is why he volunteered—his personal belief was that killing was wrong and he wasn’t going to be a party to it. He was in the war as a medic, and he was there to save lives, not take them. And save lives he did—75 of them over the course of one night when he was stuck behind enemy lines.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
Roku’s new operating system brings new features. The search platform ties into 300 streaming channels. More Ways to Watch uses content recognition to recommend programs or streams, including those delivered by antenna. If you’d rather not have Roku monitoring your viewing, it can be turned off.
SV Staff  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  3 comments
Having a Mc-attack? McIntosh Laboratory, the iconic audio brand with the "McIntosh Blue" watt meters that's still hand-building its components in Binghamton, NY, has what will satisfy you. The new MA9000 is the biggest and most powerful stereo integrated amplifier the 68 year-old firm has ever engineered, and it's a doozy.

SV Staff  |  Jul 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Denon HEOS Bar Soundbar
If experiencing 5.1 surround sound from a single box interests you, read on. The latest addition to the HEOS family of app-controlled wireless multiroom products—the HEOS Bar—uses advanced signal processing and nine drivers to create a spacious soundscape. The 43-inch-wide enclosure is perfect for screens 50 inches or larger and connects wirelessly to Denon’s low-profile HEOS Subwoofer ($599).