Darryl Wilkinson

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Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 19, 2016  |  7 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Auto-senses and adjusts output for vertical and horizontal orientations
Trueplay room EQ
Capacitance touch controls with audible feedback
Pure butt-kicking sound
Minus
Slight high-frequency edginess when used vertically
Tiny feet bumps are visible on sides of speaker

THE VERDICT
The Sonos PLAY:5 gets a radical makeover that adds $100 to the price but combines an amazing user experience with stunning audio performance.

Here’s the bad news: After six years, Sonos has stopped making the company’s first and, until now, best all-in-one wireless speaker system, the PLAY:5. Now for the good news: Sonos has a replacement for the PLAY:5 called…wait for it…the PLAY:5. (Confusing, I know.) At $499, though, the new PLAY:5 is $100 more than the original. For multiple reasons, the original PLAY:5 was my all-around favorite wireless speaker. Will its replacement prove worthy of its heritage—and the higher price?

Darryl Wilkinson  |  May 03, 2017  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $699

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Only 2.28 inches tall
Utilizes Sonos Trueplay acoustic tuning technology
Can be part of a Sonos multiroom audio system
Minus
No volume level indicator
Optical digital and network audio inputs only

THE VERDICT
For the folks who don’t mount their TV on a wall—that is, for the overwhelming majority of TV owners—the Sonos Playbase is an elegant way of creating an excellent-sounding home theater system that’s nearly invisible, super-easy to set up, and blessedly simple to use.

A surprisingly salient special survey by Sonos says that something like 70 percent of slender-TV owners select to stand their set on a flat surface rather than sticking it on a wall. (Say that silently seven times.) Seriously—OK, that’s enough of that—Sonos says that the vast majority of people who own a flat-screen TV don’t mount it on a wall. Instead, they set it on a cabinet, cart, table, shelf, the floor, or just about any other semi-sturdy, close-to-flat surface that isn’t already covered with useless sh-tuff.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 14, 2015  |  0 comments
Sonos Trueplay. What is it, and can it make a stuffed bear disappear?
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Apr 19, 2013  |  4 comments
If the folks at SONTE have their way, the company’s new Kickstarter project is going to be curtains for the window treatment industry. Or, rather, it won’t be curtains…
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jun 05, 2007  |  Published: Jun 06, 2007  |  0 comments
This Sony HTiB does the listening for you.

Sony may not have invented the Home Theater in a Box, but it's certainly gone a long way in perfecting the concept. Where most companies make just a couple of HTiBs, Sony has close to a dozen ranging from a cute "1000-Watt" system with a five-disc changer and bookshelf speakers costing $299 all the way up to a 780-Watt $1,999 package that includes floorstanding front speakers, wireless rear speakers, and a DVD/ CD/SACD player. With so many choices, we wondered, what could we get from Sony for five hundred bucks? They answered the question by sending us the DAV-HDX500 BRAVIA Theater System.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 03, 2008  |  1 comments
If you look closely in this picture of the chaos that immediately followed the Sony press conference, you’ll see…chaos. If you look a little closer, you’ll see some pencil-thin speakers (actually, I think the term they used was “the width of a finger” but I may have been in the middle of a mile-high altitude-induced alcohol-enhanced stupor at the time so it might as easily have been “the width of a fingerling potato”) on display here as part of the BDV-IT1000ES - Sony’s first ES HTiB that includes an integrated Blu-ray Disc player. The main speakers each measure approximately .75-inch wide by 22 inches long, and they’ll come with the rest of the system when it ships in October and you fork over the required $1,999.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Apr 02, 2007  |  0 comments
Sony took the lens caps off of two new front home theater projector bargains last week.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 13, 2007  |  0 comments
As far as I'm concerned, this is the standard that all other receiver makers should aspire to.

Sony recently announced a trio of new AV receivers in the ES line. The ES stands for "Elevated Standard", a designation that is supposed to indicate performance and features that are a cut above the standard Sony line. Although the marketing and the reality haven't always jibed, Sony appears to be giving renewed attention and vigor to the gear that wears the ES badge.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  May 13, 2013  |  3 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,100 At A Glance: Free iOS and Android remote control apps • Built-in Control4 home automation controller • Four Easy Automation multi-parameter programmable scenes

A chimera is a mythical animal consisting of parts from various other animals. In Greek mythology, for example, a Chimera (with a capital C) was an unpleasant, fire-breathing creature that had a serpent’s tail, a goat’s body, and a lion’s head. (Insert standard joke about previous spouse/significant other, mother-in-law, editors, etc.) Although it’s not an official definition in the A/V world, I consider a component that’s been soldered together using parts from different components to be a chimera, too. The active soundbar with its amalgamation of amps, speakers, processor, and etc. is a good example of such an electronic creature. The deviant TV/VCR/DVD Franken-combo, on the other hand, is an example of how things can go terribly wrong.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jun 05, 2006  |  0 comments
Sony proudly announced the imminent birth of their newest STR-series receiver, a home theater gizmo Sony says is "the final link in the HD chain". The new STR-DG1000 is described as having 1080p pass-through, eight channels of uncompressed audio, smooth video switching, and a simplified surround sound set up with automatic adjustment. (Well, it's not totally automatic. You still have to hook up the microphone and push a button.)

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