Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Dec 06, 2007  |  0 comments
Blockbuster is taking serious punches and hanging on the ropes. First one of the two stores in my neighborhood closed (always a bad sign). Then came the announcement that earnings had slid from $5.5 billion in 2006 to $1.2 billion in the first three quarters of this year--ouch. Now along comes CEO Jim Keynes with a rescue plan.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Dec 05, 2007  |  0 comments
UHF will not be the exclusive home of DTV channels following the transition from analog broadcasting. Some will remain on VHF, contrary to what's been widely reported.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  0 comments
Dr. Harman meets Dr. Bronner—all one!

Every day, I wash with Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. A soap-

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  0 comments
Flat meets flat.

The big trend is smallness. Flat is the new phat. Manufacturers who want space in your home compete most effectively by taking up less of it. And, in case you hadn't heard, less is more.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  0 comments
A budget sub/sat set for the divinely inclined.

Nowhere is the universal human desire to get something for nothing more evident than in consumer electronics. While I'm always amenable to reviewing mass-market gear that offers high value to the consumer, I also spend a large portion of my time convincing more discerning listeners that an investment in higher-priced gear is really worth it. Why, then, would I work up a froth of enthusiasm for a modest subwoofer/satellite set like the DCM Cinema2? It would be convenient simply to say that I heard it and liked it, but the truth doesn't always lend itself to a glib lead.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  0 comments
A new line from a champion.

The loudspeaker sat in his doctor's examining room. His weight was up, and the results of the cholesterol test were not good.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  Published: Oct 15, 2007  |  0 comments
Tie a rectangular ribbon.

Tweeter is the name of a speaker driver, an audio retail chain, and a Warner Brothers cartoon character. No, wait, that would be Tweety Bird. However whimsical the name may sound, the tweeter plays a crucial role in speaker design. An average one delivers not only high frequencies, as the chirpy name suggests, but also a significant share of the upper midrange. It's possible to design a loudspeaker without a tweeter. But most speakers depend on their tweeters to deliver harmonics, detail, airiness, and all frequencies above the crossover to the lower drivers.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  Published: Oct 15, 2007  |  0 comments
Surround that stretches for miles.

Although they're now owned by Klipsch, Mirage continues to follow their own ears. The Toronto-based company's name derives from a key design goal—to make speakers so immersive that the listener forgets the product is in the room. In addition to a goal, Mirage also has a method: to favor more omnidirectional sound over direct sound using an unusual reflector assembly built into the top of the speaker, creating a spacious feeling that is the company's sonic signature.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 14, 2007  |  2 comments
I keep up with new surround-receiver features the way a CIA analyst monitors intel from dangerous nations. A lot of these things are just distractions from the fundamentals: dynamics, noise, etc. But I'm in love with the latest wrinkle in connectivity, the front-panel USB jack. At first I thought, yawn, a way to plug in your Windows PlaysForSure music player, as if you had such a thing. But you can also plug in a plain old USB drive. Think of this: You bump your 10 newest favorite songs to a flash drive, plug that sucker into the front panel, and use the remote to get the show rolling. If you have a whole drawer full of those things, each one can become a playlist. Better yet, why not get some use out of the external hard drive you use to protect your download collection from a deadly crash? Or better still, why not buy another external hard drive just for use with the receiver? I just paid $120 for a 500GB Iomega external drive to back up my backups (I'm careful that way). That's much less than the cost of a fancy hard-drive-based audio server. It's also just about what you'd pay for an add-on iPod dock. Kudos to Pioneer, which introduced me to the feature with the VSX-94TXH ($1600), and Integra, maker of the DTR-8.8 ($2400) I'm reviewing at the moment. Let's hope USB trickles down to less costly models.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 13, 2007  |  0 comments
Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, has finally conceded what other observers have been saying for some time: The format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD is stalled in a stalemate.

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