Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 16, 2017  |  0 comments
Fidget spinners, the latest way to distract the human mind through the wonder of ball bearings, are now available for smartphones.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 08, 2017  |  0 comments
Amazon is many things to many people, and now it’s become the king of the smart-speaker market. Parks Associates reports that the online retail giant dominates smart speakers with 70.6 percent of sales, adding that smart speakers are in 11 percent of U.S. broadband households.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 04, 2017  |  5 comments
I live in a dense urban neighborhood where it's not uncommon to see secondhand LP dealers plying their trade on the sidewalks. One day I was pawing through dirty old LPs when I came across something decidedly odd. The jacket mentioned a singer named Marni Nixon; no relation to the president, but if you grew up during the Nixon era, the name would catch your eye. Backing her was an all-cello chamber ensemble. And the titles of the works, by Villa-Lobos, were Bachianas Brasileiras Nos. 1 and 5. I knew nothing of the Brazilian composer then but have always loved Bach. Curiosity pried $1 out of my wallet and I carried home my prize.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 03, 2017  |  3 comments

3000 5.1 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

3070 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $900

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Sweet and smooth sats
Dual 6.5-inch sub
Minus
Deep sub juts out from wall

THE VERDICT
A sweet-sounding system, with a sub worthy of the satellites, the Q Acoustics 3000 is one of the best under-$1,000 5.1-channel setups I’ve heard.

Tube amps. Mono pressings. And now, 5.1? Has bedrock surround sound indeed joined the ranks of retro audio technologies? Surround receivers beyond the most entry level nearly always have more than five channels (though their uses vary), while Dolby Atmos and DTS:X have made seven (5.1.2) the new minimum system configuration. What happens when you go in the other direction? The flood of 5.1 speaker sets that I used to review in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has tapered to a trickle. I see fewer new ones at CES and CEDIA, and plain old stereo is dominant at the rest of the domestic and international audio shows. However, the British manufacturer Q Acoustics has been marketing 5.1-channel speaker sets since the company’s inception about a decade ago and continues to actively develop them. The brand’s latest entry is called the 3000 5.1 Home Theatre System.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 02, 2017  |  0 comments
Vizio Is Bringing HDR10 to its E-Series models with a firmware update. Models range from 55 to 80 inches, at $550 to $3,400, and include 16 zones of full-array LED backlighting...

TBS and TNT are expanding their mobile presence to include the Roku, Chromecast, and Vizio SmartCast platforms. They are already on Android, iOS, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire...

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  1 comments
We’ve lived with wall-mounted TVs long enough that they’ve become a cliché—or worse, a visual intrusion. Samsung addresses that problem with a TV called The Frame. This wooden-framed TV imitates a framed picture with an “art mode” that lets you select from 100 different still images in 10 categories, including landscape, architecture, wildlife, action, and drawing.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  0 comments
Delta flyers in first and business classes are in for a treat. The airline has upgraded their headphones to a version of the LSTN Sound Co.’s Troubadour, a full-size over-the-ear model with wooden earcups and noise cancellation. Similar (but not identical) products sell on the LSTN website starting at $149. The partnership will support the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which has provided ear care and hearing aids to 22,000 people around the world.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 14, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,795/pr

AT A GLANCE
Plus
I-PAShd cabinet design
Planar magnetic folded tweeter
Minus
Bass extended but not slammin’
No matching center speaker
Low rated sensitivity

THE VERDICT
The Solus Audio Entré II is a well-rounded performer whose special attribute is an elaborate bass-enhancing enclosure.

Life has a way of setting us up for disappointment. So we develop a hard shell of skepticism and rote responses: There is no free lunch. You can’t get blood from a stone. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There’s no such thing as an honest politician. Don’t order the fish on a Monday. And to that list, add: You can’t get big bass out of a small speaker. Little speakers that try to sound big just end up with a bloated bass hump and a turbulent, chuffing port.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Walmart-owned Vudu will convert your Blu-ray or DVD titles via smartphone. Using the Mobile Disc-to-Digital feature on the Vudu mobile app, scan the barcode on the packaging. It’s not free—you’ll pay $2 per title for standard-def or $5 for high-def.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Beryllium diaphragm
Rock-star cosmetics
Fine-tuned highs and timbre
Minus
Expensive

THE VERDICT
Focal’s Utopia headphones are a bleeding-edge statement from a pedigreed loudspeaker manufacturer that has made the most of its speaker-designing experience.

When I look back on all the dumb things I did as a kid, surely one of the dumbest was pitching rocks and dirt balls at a wasp nest. With each impact, a cloud of wasps rose from the nest. It was mesmerizing—until one of us got stung. Reviewing Focal’s Utopia headphones isn’t at all stupid, but I suspect the results are going to be similar: a cloud of wasps, maybe a sting. Some readers will look askance at $3,999 headphones, especially since the things I have on hand for comparison cost a fraction of that. I don’t often breathe such rarefied air.

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