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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 16, 2010 0 comments
I’ve always lived in a used house. “Existing home” is the euphemism real estate people like to use. Life is good—until you realize that there are no phone jacks close to the spots where your bed or desk should go. And why are there no Ethernet jacks in the house? And no wiring for TVs anywhere but the living room? Needless to say, you can’t find in-wall speakers, volume controls, or multiroom A/V distribution of any kind. Maybe you should have guessed from the horse and buggy parked in the garage when your real estate agent showed the house that the previous owners weren’t interested in keeping up with the more technologically advanced Joneses across the street.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2010 0 comments
Price: $3,400 At A Glance: Totally invisible speakers • Extremely diffuse dispersion • Must be used with a subwoofer

Invisible or Invisibull?

It’s a terrible disease in which your brain gets eaten away from the inside out—yet you won’t see those little donation boxes at checkout counters begging for your loose change to find a cure. In fact, most people aren’t aware that it even exists, although they certainly see its debilitating effects every day. It’s called Chronic Euphemism Syndrome (CES), and it runs rampant throughout consumer electronics companies’ marketing departments. Salespeople suffer mightily from it, too. The entire profession is tainted with images of the truth being throttled to within inches of its life in the back room where the salesperson heads after he says, “Let me ask my manager.”

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Apr 26, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,098 (as reviewed)

At A Glance: Robust wireless communication between devices • Supports most audio codecs except Apple FairPlay DRM-protected and WMA lossless • Access to numerous online audio-subscription services • ZonePlayers can stream local analog sources to other zonesI’ve often thought it would be nice to have music in multiple rooms of the house; but, as I’ve alluded, my home is not custom install friendly. I decided that a wireless multiroom system would definitely be the best bet. Sonos, a company that focuses exclusively on wireless multiroom audio, has a system that’s designed to do just thatŃand moreŃin up to 32 independent zones without breaking the bank or tearing down any walls. After I read the endearing tag line, “Wireless that works like magic,” I thought, what better time or place could there be to check out Sonos’ latest system incarnation? So I asked Sonos to send out its Bundle 150 two-zone package ($999 ) plus a ZoneBridge and let the fun begin.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Apr 19, 2010 0 comments
Price: $3,945 At A Glance: Up to three independent music streams • Built-in FM tuner in each keypad • Rhapsody and SHOUTcast Internet radio access

Collage Hits a Home Run

Given the choice, Hercules would choose to clean the Augean stables in a single day rather than wire my house for multiroom audio. Gypsum dust, asbestos-laden insulation fibers, desiccated rodents, and poisonous spiders are just a few of the delights that await the installer (or, in reality, me) who takes on the task. It’s also a logistical nightmare since my house doesn’t have an attic or basement, plus the house only has about 8 inches of crawl space underneath it. Don’t get me wrong, I like my house. It’s the thought of running wire through, under, and around it that gives me pause.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 08, 2010 0 comments
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Built-in keyhole brackets • Triple-voice-coil side-firing surround drivers • World’s first seven-channel soundbar

Seven Channels Plus

When you hear that we can now add a seven-channel soundbar to the list of the many technological wonders in the world today, your first inclination might be to ask, “Dude, it’s a flippin’ soundbar. What’s the point?” And I might respond, “Uh, marketing?” So you can imagine that when the new Atlantic Technology FS-7.0—the world’s first seven-channel soundbar—arrived, I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic to set it up. After all, I would need to remove my current in-wall center-channel speaker, replace it with a blank panel on which to mount the new all-in-one system, and then run seven speaker wires across the floor. I don’t know whether it was the titillation that comes with undressing a new piece of gear or the surreptitious sniffing of Styrofoam packaging, but for some reason, I began to warm up to the idea of a seven-channel soundbar. After all, I’ve never known Atlantic Technology to be the kind of company that would do something simply because it would make good copy in an ad, so the thing just might sound good. If nothing else, it certainly would have plenty of cool drivers scattered all over the cabinet and lots of settings to fiddle with.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 01, 2010 0 comments
Getting the Most Out of Your Sound

Several years ago, I set up my current home theater room. While it wasn’t scheduled to be equipped with multitiered stadium seating, faux Art Deco design, or a popcorn machine, I did have the luxury of setting it up strictly for movie and music listening. It didn’t need to be compromised to serve any other purpose.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 5 comments
When your woofer is so big you need an engine hoist to lift it, I think you might have gone a bit too far. I see counseling in your future - and maybe hernia surgery.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
If I'd had $299 for the Show special price, I'd be flying home with one of these RCX4 Stryker RC flying X-wing craft from EZ2Fly, Inc. (The regular price is $399.) They say it's a full-function 4-channel hovercraft with an integrated 3D gyro system. It's not quite as cool as Parrot's AR Drone quadricopter that uses Wi-Fi, has two on-board cameras, and can be controlled by an iPhone or iPod touch - but the AR Drone isn't available for purchase yet.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 2 comments
Purosol, arguably one of the best screen cleaners around, has a new look for the packaging. Fortunately, it's the same old formula inside. $10 for the little bottle. $26 for the big bottle/little bottle combo. Cleaning cloths are included.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
We can't say too much about it, but PrimeSense is working on a 3D motion-control camera system that's extremely inexpensive, amazingly sensitive, and promises to be incredibly fun and useful. (How often does that happen?) Of course, many companies are developing systems that will let you control your computer or home entertainment system using gestures, but seems to have them beat hands down (and up) when it comes to a device that's affordable (and by that I mean really affordable) and yet very accurate. PrimeSense's technology can be used in place of a mouse or other input device for games and picture/movie viewing. You won't be seeing any PrimeSense branded equipment, but the technology will be coming to store shelves as part of at least one well-known company's products. Next year we may see the technology built into TVs, computers, and anything else that needs input from a remote control or mouse.

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