Premiere Design

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Scott Wilkinson  |  May 12, 2009  |  1 comments

Lately in this blog, I've been concentrating on speakers with astronomical prices, which is loads of fun. But it's certainly possible to enjoy exceptional sound without spending six or seven figures. Take, for example, the new top-dog Klimt series from Austrian speaker manufacturer <A href="">Vienna Acoustics</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 02, 2009  |  5 comments

Normally in this blog, I profile a specific product or product line that can be considered "ultimate" in one way or another. But when it comes to a California company called <A href="">CAT MBX</A>, this approach doesn't work so well. An offshoot of California Audio Technology, CAT MBX designs and builds ultimate home theaters from scratch, customizing the speakers, electronics, and projection system for each venue. The company's "product" is the entire theater, which is unique for each client.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 19, 2009  |  0 comments

In 1975, Meir Mordechai had a dream&#151;to create the perfect speaker. Since then, his Israeli company, <A href="">Morel</A> (short for Mordechai Electronics), has developed a wide variety of innovative drivers as well as finished speakers. Its latest flagship is the Fat Lady, named in reference to the famous saying, "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."

Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 01, 2015  |  0 comments
If you’re French, you don’t just build a speaker, you build a French speaker—one that takes design seriously. So seriously that you might end up with a speaker that looks nothing at all like a traditional (boring) speaker. La Boite Concept made a name for itself in Europe with the imaginative High-Fidelity Laptop Dock, a small desk featuring an integral sound system and high-quality USB DAC. The Cube is an extension of that concept that would seem to be ideally suited for small living spaces.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 24, 2009  |  4 comments

Italian projector maker <A href="">SIM2</A> specializes in combining high style and high performance, especially when it comes to the high end. The company's C3X Lumis HOST 1080p projector is a perfect case in point&#151;curvaceous cabinet on the outside and 3-chip DLP imaging engine on the inside.

Bob Ankosko  |  Aug 14, 2015  |  2 comments
Viewed dead-on, the Phantom looks like a huge eyeball. Catch it from the side and it resembles a dinosaur egg. Either way, this self-contained, powered speaker—small enough to be cradled like a baby (albeit a heavy baby at 24 pounds)—embodies an unmistakably unique form factor and technical design. We spoke with Quentin Sannié, co-founder and CEO of Paris-based Devialet, to get the story behind this most unusual speaker.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Dec 31, 2009  |  5 comments

Way back in 1999, <A href=""><I>Stereophile</I> reviewed the Manley Laboratories Stingray 2-channel tube-based integrated amp</A>, whose shape inspired the late, great J. Gordon Holt, the magazine's founder, to suggest its name. Now, 10 years later, <A href="">Manley Labs</A> has replaced the original Stingray with the Stingray iTube, which improves various elements and adds an iPod dock.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 18, 2010  |  9 comments

As you may have surmised by now, the Ultimate Gear blog is dedicated to A/V products that are extreme in terms of performance, design, and/or price. I normally try to find items that embody all three elements, but sometimes, one of them takes center stage. So it is with the PrestigeHD Signature Rose LCD TV from British luxury purveyor <A href="">Stuart Hughes</A>, which can be yours for only &#163;1.5 million, or about $2.2 million as of this writing.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Theta Digital is one of the most venerable companies in high-end audio, offering many well-regarded products over 25 years. Even more impressive, many of those products are still available after years of upgrades and refinements. Take, for example, the Casablanca preamp/processor, which was first introduced 15 years ago. Its latest incarnation, the Casablanca III HD, adds HDMI 1.4 I/O and the ability to decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 04, 2010  |  7 comments

Storing and accessing music on a computer has become commonplace, even for audiophiles, but getting that music to your audio system without sacrificing sound quality has always been a challenge. At CES, French high-end audio company <A href="">Micromega</A> introduced a unique solution to this problem—the WM-10 AirStream, the world's first wireless DAC (digital-to-analog converter).

Bob Ankosko  |  May 14, 2014  |  3 comments
Spinning With Style
You don’t come across many companies that have been in business for 100 years. Founded in 1883 as a manufacturer of musical boxes and clocks, Thorens started building Edison-type cylinder phonographs in 1903 and has been making turntables ever since. Although the company branched out into audio electronics in the ’90s, it remains a steadfast bearer of fine turntables. Its latest specimen is the ultra-modern TD 209, which borrows design cues from its higher-end sibling, the TD 309.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 24, 2011  |  0 comments
Intel and Apple today announced the introduction of a new computer I/O technology called Thunderbolt, which makes its debut on the latest MacBook Pro laptops. Yet another connection might seem the antithesis of cool, but this is big news for home-theater PCs.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 18, 2010  |  5 comments

Filmmakers and musicians spend countless hours tweaking their images and sound to perfection. But when their masterworks are played on home A/V systems, that carefully crafted music might sound nothing like it did in the studio, and that hot video might look lukewarm on the average flat-panel monitor.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 02, 2010  |  0 comments

Most of the products on display at CES are new to the world market, but there are a few exceptions. For example, the Sunray speaker from Germany's <A href="">Tidal Audio</A> has been available for several years, but not in the USA&#151;until now. North American distributor <A href="">Aaudio Imports</A> used CES 2010 as the venue to introduce the Sunray to the American audiophile community.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Nov 02, 2009  |  First Published: Nov 03, 2009  |  2 comments

What do you get if you cross Japanese audio acumen with daring Italian design? The Squeezophone 360, that's what. Born out of a collaboration between <A href="">Kenwood Design</A> and <A href="">Claudio Colucci Design</A>, this concept speaker cuts a dashing figure as it pumps sound all around the room.