Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko  |  May 02, 2018  |  0 comments
James Loudspeaker sells just about any kind of speaker you could want—or imagine. You can choose among its dozens of high-performance models and buy “off the shelf” or have a particular model customized with a special finish or feature. Or, you can get creative and dream up your own speaker design. The California-based company prides itself on its ability to meet the unique needs of its customers, whether that means solving an installation problem or creating something special…and personal. James built more than 300 custom products in 2017 alone, but the Steampunk Speaker is perhaps its most interesting—and unusual—project.
Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 11, 2018  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with Graham Alexander, President, Victor Corporation of America

Graham Alexander is a talented musician but he’s also an entrepreneur, historian, and music-label exec who has undertaken the enormous (and laudable) task of resurrecting Victor Records, the iconic brand that dates back to the earliest days of recorded music. We’re talking the label that recorded the likes of Sergei Rachaninoff and forged an exclusive recording deal with the legendary opera singer Enrico Caruso. More than that, Alexander has created a delightful live-performance space called The Vault in the small town of Berlin, NJ, about 20 miles from Center City Philadelphia and even closer to the site of the original Victor Talking Machine Co. in Camden. The venue is unique in that it’s home to the official Victor Records archive as well as an assortment of historical artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the earliest days of recorded music. We sat down with Alexander to learn more about his multi-faceted operation.

Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 26, 2018  |  0 comments
Sound Leisure made headlines in 2016 when it introduced the ’50s-inspired Vinyl Rocket Jukebox, its first 45-rpm-record-playing jukebox in 20 years and, at the time, the only new vinyl-playing jukebox in the world. Last year, the U.K.-based company—one of two remaining jukebox manufacturers, the other being jukebox pioneer Rock-Ola—partnered with Apple Corps to build an “analog dream machine” that would memorialize the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ 1967 masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 20, 2018  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with UHD Alliance President Mike Fidler

The Ultra HD Alliance is on a mission to spread the good word of Ultra HD, which as any self-respecting home theater enthusiast will tell you is more than just a resolution story. Yes, having four times as many pixels as standard HD is a definite boon to image quality, but high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut, and other recent advances in TV picture quality are even more compelling, nudging us ever closer to images that mirror the real world. Last summer the Alliance recruited industry veteran Mike Fidler as its first full-time president. We recently caught up with Fidler, who has served in key executive roles at Sony and Pioneer, to get an update on the Alliance and its efforts to promote the benefits of what it calls a “premium audio/video experience.”

Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 17, 2018  |  Published: Feb 16, 2018  |  1 comments
You’ve no doubt heard of smart speakers—and you may even own one—but have you heard of smart headphones? It’s not quite a thing just yet, but Sennheiser—the family-owned German company that has been making microphones since 1946 and invented the first on-ear, open-air headphones (the iconic HD414) in 1968—has developed an intriguing product that draws on its expertise in both areas. The Ambeo Smart Headset does something no other headphones we know of can do: It captures 3D audio for videos you shoot on your phone.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 06, 2018  |  0 comments
They call it “the most beautiful TV you’ve never seen,” which is a perfect way to describe The Frame, a high-style 4K display from Samsung that morphs into wall art when it’s not in use. While the idea of concealing a TV behind artwork is nothing new—there are companies that specialize in motorized TV concealment systems—Samsung’s fully integrated execution is the most elegant approach we’ve seen.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 28, 2018  |  19 comments

15 Minutes with Apple’s Phil Schiller

On Friday, Apple announced that it will begin taking pre-orders for the HomePod. We reached out to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, for an inside look at the company’s entry into the burgeoning smart speaker space.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 04, 2018  |  3 comments
15 Minutes with Astra Insights’ Shawn DuBravac

Stop for a moment and think back to home entertainment 10 years ago. You were starting to build a library of Blu-ray titles, thankful that HD had finally made its way to disc, but 4K at home was a technology of the future and streaming was still a curiosity. Netflix was a hugely successful DVD mail-order company with a billion discs delivered but could see the writing on the wall when it started offering movies on demand over the internet in February 2007. Today, streaming is commonplace and home audio and video have reached unprecedented levels of quality, raising the question of what comes next? Looking ahead to the future, we reached out to Dr. Shawn DuBravac, founder of the Washington, DC-based consultancy Astra Insights, former chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association, and author of the New York Times Best Seller (Regnery, 2015). A well-regarded futurist and trendcaster, DuBravac writes frequently about technology with a focus on deciphering disruptive shifts.

Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 27, 2017  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Solid build quality
Handsome fit and finish
Easy setup
Good overall sound quality with bountiful bass
Minus
No Wi-Fi streaming
No tone controls
Disappointing phono preamp

THE VERDICT
Klipsch’s beautifully crafted Sixes deliver fine sound with the bonus of onboard power, but vinyl playback is shortchanged by its pedestrian phono preamp.

I’ve been talking about pulling my old turntable out of mothballs since I moved to my current home, oh…20 years ago. Which is why I jumped at the chance when asked if I had any interest in auditioning The Sixes, the latest entry in Klipsch’s Heritage Wireless series and big brother to The Three, the superb all-in-one wireless music system we reviewed in May. I know what you’re thinking: What does reviewing speakers have to do with setting up a turntable? Bear with me.

Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 22, 2017  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with Origin Acoustics CEO Jeremy Burkhardt

Spend a few minutes on Jeremy Burkhardt’s LinkedIn page and you quickly gain an appreciation of his passion for custom installation and desire to create products that simplify installation and push the boundaries of performance — to “innovate,” as he would say. You also find an executive who is anything but your typical corporate CEO — a man who talks about breaking “all the corporate rules” in describing his work history as CEO for SpeakerCraft, the pioneering custom-installation company he helped build before leaving in 2012. Today, Burkhardt is at the helm of Origin Acoustics, the architectural speaker company he founded in 2014, and his desire for innovation is as strong as ever. Origin was the talk of CEDIA 2017 with the launch of its Valet amplifier, which provides an ingenious way to integrate voice control into a whole-house music system. We caught up with Burkhardt to learn more about the system and get his take on the future of voice control.

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