Bob Ankosko

Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 19, 2020  |  7 comments
Every now and then something really special comes along. Like finding a 50-year-old piece of audio history, never used and sitting in its original sealed box, complete with the original packing, owner’s manual, and shipping label.
Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 06, 2020  |  2 comments
It’s always interesting to see what new treasures turn up at New Jersey-based vintage hi-fi specialist SkyFi Audio. There’s certainly no shortage of gear to drool over — like the 1963 Fisher SA-1000 tube amp. Or the Nakamichi Dragon we spotted on the “just arrived” list.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 25, 2020  |  5 comments
There’s no denying the lure of powerful, deep, visceral bass. How it pulls you into the action. How it scares the living hell out of you. How it makes music real. We were so intrigued by the beastly 6-foot-tall SMSG50 super subwoofer designed and built by Germany’s Ascendo Immersive Audio that we had to dig deeper. We wanted to know what it takes to design and build a subwoofer of this caliber — one capable of producing peak levels up to 140 dB and deliver 105 dB of sound pressure at 5 Hz. Is a subwoofer that weighs 441 pounds and uses a single 50-inch (!) driver to plumb the infrasonic depths really better than a model of more manageable size with maybe a few 18-inch drivers? We caught up with Geoffrey Heinzel, partner and director of international sales and marketing for Ascendo, to learn more about this modern marvel.
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”.

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