Premiere Design

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Bob Ankosko  |  May 31, 2016  |  1 comments
On the Webpage dedicated to its most ambitious speaker system ever, Bang & Olufsen delivers the perfect, if not poetic setup:
It will not be for everybody. But it will be for the right somebody. Three years in the making, BeoLab 90 is the culmination of the wildest dreams of our acoustics department: creating the future of sound.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 05, 2010  |  11 comments

Many have tried, but few have succeeded in simulating a convincing surround soundfield with conventional headphones. Several years ago, I heard a demo of one such system from UK-based Smyth Research, and it really knocked my socks off. That was a prototype, but the technology, known as Smyth Virtual Surround (SVS), is now available in a commercial product called the Realiser A8.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 12, 2009  |  12 comments

The 2009 CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) Expo is only a month away, and I'm starting to get lots of press releases about products that will be introduced there. Many of these announcements are under embargo until the show, but here's one that isn't&#151;the M15HD surround preamp/processor from respected Canadian manufacturer <A href="">NAD</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 22, 2010  |  3 comments

At CES last January, <A href="">Snell Acoustics</A> announced the availability of its Phantom B7 speaker, which was first shown at CES 2009. What makes the Phantom B7 special? It's engineered to provide much of the performance of the company's flagship Illusion A7 at a fraction of the price and size.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  5 comments

For the last 30 years, French speaker maker <A href="">Focal</A> has been pushing the envelope of design and manufacturing to achieve the ultimate in sonic reproduction. Nowhere is that more evident than in its flagship <A href="">Grande Utopia EM</A>, the third generation of this technological tour de force.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 14, 2011  |  4 comments
Last year, I profiled the incredible Fenice speaker from Sonus Faber—a model that is now called "the Sonus Faber" due to a legal dispute over the name. Despite this name change, the company is applying what it has learned from that no-holds-barred flagship to other, more affordable models, such as the Amati Futura.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 13, 2010  |  0 comments
The Italian high-end bastion Sonus Faber is well known among audiophiles for its superb speakers. Just over a month ago, the company introduced its latest creation—the Fenice—at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 08, 2010  |  6 comments

As I've written many times, the Ultimate Gear blog is intended to cover A/V products that embody extreme performance, design, and/or price. The 2010 ES line of A/V receivers from Sony—which were unveiled last week at a press event in Beverly Hills, California—might not fit any of these criteria, but they include so many unique and highly useful features that I decided I could legitimately cover them here.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 24, 2011  |  1 comments

Home-theater geeks like me have been waiting for large-screen OLED flat panels for years now, but all we've seen so far are concept products at trade shows and one 11-inch consumer model from Sony for $2500. Recently, however, a ray of hope issued from Sony Professional when it introduced two new OLED monitors, the BVM-E250 and BVM-E170, for the pro market.

Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 19, 2012  |  5 comments
OK, you can stop drooling now. We know you can’t wait to get your hands on the world’s first TV capable of displaying 8 million pixels of luscious detail—four times the resolution of 1080p. (We can’t, either.) Sony’s 84-inch XBR-84X900 4K LCD HDTV is one of the first 4K TVs to reach a handful of stores across the country. The heart of the set is a new chip that analyzes images with resolutions of 1080p or lower and upscales them to 4K. How well the chip performs that task is vitally important since 4K content for home viewing is not likely to be available for some time, even though Sony says 10,000 U.S. movie theaters are already using 4K projectors, and a growing number of theatrical movies are being shot in 4K.
Scott Wilkinson  |  May 18, 2009  |  11 comments

Sometimes in this blog, I like to profile new and unusual technologies that may&#151;or may not&#151;actually perform well. Sony's <A href="">NSA-PF1 Sountina</A> speaker is just such a product. I have no idea how it performs since I've never heard it in action and I know no one who has, but the technology is certainly intriguing.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 08, 2010  |  3 comments

Most home-theater geeks prefer to buy separate components in order to optimize the performance of each one and allow them to be swapped out independently for repair or upgrade. But what if you don't have enough space to accommodate all those separate devices? <A href="">Denon</A>'s answer is the new S-5BD, which combines a full-featured Blu-ray player and AVR into one compact package.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 31, 2009  |  23 comments

<A href="">Denon</A> is certainly pushing the envelope&#151;in terms of both performance and price&#151;with its new flagship line that includes a surround pre/pro, 10-channel power amp, and universal disc player. <I>UAV</I> reviewed the pre/pro and power amp <A href=", but we haven't yet taken a critical look at the DVD-A1UDCI player.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 23, 2009  |  2 comments

Live music is quite different from the visual arts. For example, every time a musician plays a given song, it is unique, with inevitable variations from one performance to the next. As Joni Mitchell once noted, no one ever asked Van Gogh to paint <I>The Starry Night</I> again. But many musicians are expected to play certain songs at every concert, and these songs sound different every time. On the other hand, recorded music is more like a painting&#151;once it's in the can, it sounds exactly the same every time it's played.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Dec 08, 2010  |  5 comments
A few weeks ago, I visited SRS Labs in Irvine, California, to see—and hear—its new Advanced Rendering Laboratory (ARL). This facility is custom built to test any imaginable physical or psychoacoustic audio system—in other words, it's an audio geek's dream come true.