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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 21, 2006 0 comments
Polk Audio's acquisition by Directed Electronics is the latest in a series of shifts among the audio industry's rich assortment of stars. Directed—a power in mobile tech products, judging from its website—had already acquired Definitive Technology. In another noteworthy deal, Klipsch bought API, the Canadian giant whose brand names include Mirage, Energy, Athena, and Spherex. Klipsch is also the proud new owner of Jamo, the cool Danish brand. And all this comes on top of last year's sale of Boston Acoustics to D&M Holdings—a stable that already included Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, Snell, Escient, and RePlayTV—and NHT's move from the Rockford Corp. to the Vinci Group. Why are so many potent and prestigious brands changing hands? It feels as though some invisible hand were rearranging the constellations, and declining audio-component sales are the obvious suspect. But historically, major speaker brands (with the notable exception of Bose) have been sold and resold regularly, and all the brand names involved here are valuable ones that deserve fresh and vigorous marketing.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 22, 2010 0 comments
The custom speaker giant showed the FloBox and FloBox Mini personal music systems, which include iPod/iPhone/iPad docks, and a CD slot in the larger model. The Vital receiver line is being expanded to include the Vital 250 stereo integrated amp, also with iThing (our term) dock. We were also intrigued by Roots, the company's first box speakers, including three satellite models and two subs in five colors. The subs have boundary compensation, notch filters, and other useful adjustments. The company continues to be a major power in custom install speakers, including the BoomTomb, an outdoor subwoofer that can be buried, emitting bass through a port that communicates with ground level. All products ship by year-end. In his discussion of the economic climate, Jeremy Burkhardt said 15 percent of the company's dealers had gone out of business, but there was virtually no bad debt among the ones who remained. He urged the press to tell dealers that they need to transcend old ways of thinking if they want to survive even tougher times ahead.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 27, 2009 0 comments
Speakercraft keeps rocking & rolling with an entirely overhauled rock-speaker line. What better name than the Ruckus? The five models, in granite- or sandstone-like finishes, will have a durable UV and weather-resistant lacquer coating over a reinforced color-matched polyresin enclosure. Chip it and it still looks like a rock. Along with five-, six-, and eight-inch versions there will be a dual-tweeter model that plays stereo out of a single enclosure. Ruckus 5, $225; Ruckus 6, $275; Ruckus 8, $450; Ruckus DT, $350; Ruckus Sub, $999 (prices per single speaker).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 09, 2009 0 comments
A company best known for architectural speakers moves into multizone technology with a vengeance. Nirv is the name the tattooed folks at Speakercraft have given to a system that operates with the 10-button remote pictured here. The remote's got a mic built into it, for home intercom use, and that barely scratches the surface. The concept is to use a single Cat5 cable to send HD video, HD audio, control, data, paging, and voice anywhere in the home. Any zone can be turned into a home theater and grab content from any source in any other zone. The system learns how you use it. Settings follow users from room to room, including parental controls, indicating unseen depths of moral fiber in people with multiple pieces of body art, or maybe it's just Metamucil. An installer can walk the user through setup, and when that's done, an easy repeatable interface takes over. Dealer cost 10 grand. In addition to the Ruckus speakers already reported on, Speakercraft also announced several new in-wall and in-ceiling models, including the AIM 10, a three-way, 10-inch pivoting unit selling for $8250-1125. Oh, and a debut surround receiver was also announced -- the Vital 910 ($1125). This company was always interesting. Now it's fascinating.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 17, 2012 3 comments
Audio is not supposed to be fun. That’s why outdoor speakers are a terrible idea. Music is meant to be enjoyed in an acoustically perfect room by a single person sitting in the sweet spot. While you listen, it might be permissible to reverently handle a gatefold album jacket or dutifully edit metadata to make it absolutely perfect. But it is not permissible to swim, soak up the sun, watch the kids play with the dog, pour daiquiris from a pitcher, or hobnob with neighbors. Above all, it is never socially acceptable to barbecue while listening to music. If you are a morally upright audiophile, you may safely assume the rest of this story will be in the same vein. Go now. Retreat to your music library while I discipline the riffraff.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2017 0 comments
SPL's Phonitor X headphone amp includes a crossfeed mode designed to keep the soundstage in front of you, rather than in your head.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 16, 2010 0 comments
Would you like your streamed movies to include 5.1-channel sound? One way you may get it is through SRS, which is providing its surround technology to the Microsoft Silverlight streaming platform.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 12, 2010 0 comments
The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem--a group of studios, cable companies, and other partners--has set the standard for a Common File Format that will allow a/v software consumers the convenience of "buy once, play anywhere."
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 14, 2011 0 comments
There isn't a unified standard for 3D glasses. That's a problem for consumers and the Consumer Electronics Association is looking for a solution.

CEA has started the process of building a standard for 3D eyewear. Interested parties are invited to make their initial proposals by March 31, 2011.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 01, 2010 0 comments
Inspired by Avatar, George Lucas is preparing to give the 3D treatment to the six films in the Star Wars series for theatrical re-release.