Bob Ankosko

Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 18, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $900

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Compact
Built like a tank
Elegant fit and finish
Excellent sound quality
Minus
Sound can be a little bright
App isn’t always intuitive
Pricey

THE VERDICT
U.K.’s Naim Audio has made the awesome Mu-so QB even better with expanded streaming options and streamlined operation.

I loved Naim’s Mu-so QB when I reviewed it a couple years ago so I couldn’t wait to try out the “re-engineered” second-generation QB, which except for a new gray-aluminum top and slightly different grille fabric looks pretty much the same as the original — which is to say as compact and sexy as ever.

Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 05, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $309

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rich, detailed sound
Solid bass
Elegant fit and finish
Light and comfortable
Minus
A little pricey

THE VERDICT
The 99 Classics check all the right boxes: They’re light and comfortable, beautifully built, and sound great.

Endless fascination. That’s the best way to describe my recent obsession with the 50-year-old Beatles classic Abbey Road. I’ve listened to the album hundreds of times over the years on a variety of formats, starting with the original vinyl pressing, yet listening to Giles Martin’s tasteful and, ultimately, reverential remix is like hearing this magnificent collection of songs for the first time.

Of course, a good bit of the credit goes to Meze Audio’s stylish 99 Classics...

Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 07, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $289

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Elegant retro design
Excellent sound

Minus
No remote control
No internet radio or app
No multiroom capability

THE VERDICT
The One II is a smaller, streamlined follow-up to Klipsch’s excellent Three wireless speaker that sounds as good as it looks.

Speakers don’t sit idle at Klipsch. The company is always looking for ways to evolve its products. Case in point is the new One II wireless speaker, a scaled-down follow-up to the excellent Three wireless speaker we reviewed a couple years ago.

Bob Ankosko  |  Oct 22, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $180

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Smooth, detailed sound
Solid construction
Light weight
Comfortable
Minus
Sound can be somewhat muted

THE VERDICT
Charging becomes a secondary concern with Cleer’s Enduro 100 wireless headphones thanks to an insanely long battery life.

I’ve been listening on and off for six days and the tiny battery in Cleer’s Enduro 100 wireless headphones is still going strong. Impressive. No question, headphones that need frequent recharging are…well, annoying and intrude on the freedom that comes with wireless listening.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 23, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $80 ($70 on amazon.com)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Satisfying sound
Effective noise canceling
Light weight and not overly bulky
Minus
Sound could be fuller
Some discomfort after an hour or so of listening

THE VERDICT
If you’re looking for wireless, noise-canceling headphones that won’t break the bank, the E9s provide satisfying sound with effective active noise canceling for 80 bucks (or less).

If you’ve never heard of Mixcder, you’re not alone. The company with the awkwardly spelled name — pronounced “mix-see-der” — has only been around for a few years. It’s based in California and specializes in super low-priced headphones sourced in China with a current lineup comprising 10 models, all wireless and ranging in price from $19 to $90 for a set of full-size wireless headphones with active noise canceling (ANC).

Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 22, 2019  |  0 comments
When Silicon Valley startup EVA Automation acquired the iconic speaker brand Bowers & Wilkins (a.k.a. B&W) in 2016, founder Gideon Yu described the mission as “reimagining the audio/video experience by making products that will change how people interact and think about the home.”
Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 19, 2019  |  0 comments
Fifty years ago on this day in Beatles history (Friday, April 18), George Harrison recorded to perfection the raucous guitar solo on “Old Brown Shoe” in Studio Three at EMI Recording Studios. After nailing the solo, he joined producer Chris Thomas in the control room to mix the song, which would be released six weeks later as the B-side to a song John Lennon and Paul McCartney had recorded a few days earlier: “The Ballad of John and Yoko”.
Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 28, 2019  |  0 comments
Audio Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $270

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Super compact
Nice build quality
Easy to set up and use
AccuVoice modes aid the hearing impaired
Minus
Sound could be fuller
Surround sound is subtle

THE VERDICT
The AV203 TV speaker just might be a godsend for viewers with hearing loss who have difficulty discerning voices and movie dialogue.

The small rectangular box sat in my foyer for days before I realized it was the Zvox soundbar I’d been waiting for. My god, this thing is small, I thought as I pulled the AccuVoice AV203 TV Speaker out of the box. I was immediately impressed with its heft and build quality and as curious as ever about how the diminutive bar would perform.

Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 13, 2019  |  0 comments
How much would you be willing to pay to improve the sound of a live concert put on by one of your all-time favorite artists? That was one of many questions I pondered as walked to my seat at Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour last week at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. And what a seat it was: left of center, 11 rows from the stage and aligned perfectly with Elton’s grand piano.
Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 04, 2018  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,500/pair

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rich, powerful sound
Robust build quality
Easy to set up
Minus
Glitchy volume control
No Wi-Fi streaming or multiroom capability
No visual feedback
No app or remote control
Expensive

THE VERDICT
The Shinola Bookshelf Speaker delivers powerful sound from a relatively compact speaker of impeccable build quality but lacks key features that would make it much easier to use.

Exquisite—that was the first thought that popped into my head when I cued up one of my go-to test tracks: a 24/96 download of Holly Cole singing “Larger Than Life” from 2007’s Holly Cole. Her rich, sultry voice was in the room, accompanied by the gentle underpinnings of an accomplished quartet. Everything sounded just right: the sparkling piano, sumptuous bass, understated brushwork, and tasteful sax fills. With the lights down and my eyes closed, it was easy to imagine sitting close to the stage in a small jazz club.

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