The Consumer Electronics Show begins next Tuesday in Las Vegas. Starting Monday — press day — you’ll be barraged with news of the latest gadgets and gizmos. But what gadget bloggers and TV talking heads are likely to miss in their search for sexy baubles is all the stuff that’s going on in audio.
I'm not much of a businessman. (If I were, would I be writing audio reviews for a living?) Still, after years of experience in marketing and advertising, I can't help but admire a good business strategy. That's partly why I like the Harman Kardon NC.
Even in a tech-packed place like the January Consumer Electronics Show, the Edifier Spinnaker stood out like a. . . well, like a pair of red rhinoceros horns at an electronics trade show. I noticed it from about 70 feet away and rushed right over to see it. These days, you see lots of crazy designs for audio systems, but the Spinnaker looked crazy-cool, not crazy-silly. I demanded a review sample right then and there.
From an audio standpoint, the CEDIA Expo used to be little more than a showcase for in-wall speakers and other products built mainly for multiroom systems and custom home theaters. But with the decline in home sales over the last few years, the custom market isn't so hot anymore.
WHEN I FIRST SAW the Sennheiser HD598’s beige-and-brown color scheme, woodgrain accents, and air-cushioned headband, images of all sorts of 1970s products fl ooded through my head: Kustom guitar amps with “tuck and roll” covering, lacquered driftwood furniture, waterbeds, Roger Dean posters.
Pioneer just announced what I expect will become a true benchmark in the audio biz: a $399 soundbar designed and voiced by famed speaker engineer Andrew Jones. I heard a prototype of this soundbar way back on the last day of February, but had agreed not to discuss it until the official announcement.
While wandering the aisles of the recent Audio Engineering Society show in San Francisco, I found a great little measurement rig for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that deserved inclusion in my recent article on DIY audio measurement in the January 2011 issue of S+V [on stands now]. Unfortunately, the article had already gone to press, so I thought I'd report on the system here.
There are times when prejudice is forgivable. One can hardly be blamed for assuming that store-brand whiskey, truck-stop coffee, or music by a lite-jazz artist who goes by a single-letter surname is going to suck. Likewise, one might reasonably presuppose that a little cube-shaped speaker isn’t going to please serious listeners.