Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 06, 2012  |  0 comments
Just what the world needs, another A/V receiver, I thought as I approached the Sherbourn booth. But the new SR-8100 (7 x 80 watts) and SR-8200 (7 x 125 watts) receivers---the company's first---have a refreshingly uncluttered look and low-profile design, support Bluetooth streaming and are covered by a generous 10-year warranty. Other goodies include multiple HDMI 1.4 inputs (seven and four, respectively), automatic room correction and an audiophile-oriented Class AB amplifier section. The $999 SR-8100 is expected to be available by the end of the year while the $1,999 SR-8200 is slated to ship in early 2013.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 06, 2012  |  1 comments
Black gloss has been the default finish for speakers for ages so when I saw a home theater suite of white-gloss speakers I stopped for a closer look. Adam Professional Audio, a German company known for its studio monitors, launched the ARTist Series line of consumer speakers speakers at CEDIA Expo with five powered models: the ARTist 3 and ARTist 5 bookshelf models with 2 x 25 and 2 x 50 watts of power, the ARTist 6 mini tower with 3 x 35 watts, the ARTist 6H center speaker with 3 x 35 watts and the ARTist Sub with 140 watts driving a 7-inch woofer.

The system's sonic character is defined by Adam's smooth sounding X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter, which improves on the Heil Air Motion Transformer concept developed in the '70s. Instead of the piston motion of conventional tweeters, a pleated diaphragm produces sound by squeezing air out like the bellows of an accordion, which is said to avoid distortion and dynamic limiting. Each speaker has RCA and XLR inputs and the bookshelf models also have USB and minijack connections. The ARTist system shown (ARTist 5s are used as surrounds) sells for $5,100 and, yes, the speakers are also available in black gloss.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 05, 2012  |  1 comments
“Make it disappear” is a common refrain in the world of custom-installed home theater systems where speakers are routinely concealed in walls and ceilings.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 05, 2012  |  1 comments
Cary Audio has made a distinguished contribution to the headphone craze sweeping across the consumer electronics industry with the HH-1 headphone amp. Introduced at CEDIA Expo, the amp is designed and built in the U.S. and teams a tube preamp stage with a solid-state MOSFET output stage, chosen for its tube-like sonic characteristics. Featuring Class A operation at all output levels and a 30-second muting circuit to prevent annoying turn-on pops, the amp sports a pair of RCA inputs with loop-through outputs and is designed to drive headphones with impedances between 30 and 600 ohms. Price: $1,595.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 05, 2012  |  0 comments
Surprisingly big sound from a tiny box is what you can expect from the Bluetooth-enabled ClarityHD Micro Speaker Monster introduced at CEDIA Expo. The concept: Instead of suffering through the tinny sound you get from your smartphone, tablet or PC, stream the audio to a portable speaker that easily fits in a briefcase or backpack.

CSR’s aptX audio coding is employed to deliver CD-quality sound and functions such as playing music, answering calls and Bluetooth pairing are handled by simple voice commands. Operating range is 30 feet and the speaker’s lithium-ion battery is said to last 5 hours on a single charge. Available in black and white, the ClarityHD sells for $220 and has a minijack input for use with non-Bluetooth devices.

Bob Ankosko  |  Aug 21, 2012  |  2 comments
The transition from analog to digital TV opened our eyes to a world of vivid images that we now take for granted, but technology marches on, with the promise of something bigger and better always just around the corner. As consumer electronics companies lay the groundwork for a 4K television/video format that delivers four times the resolution of regular HDTV and prepare to roll out the first 4K TVs, an 8K format is already on the horizon.

Bob Ankosko  |  Aug 20, 2012  |  2 comments
Yes, this seductively curved work of art is a speaker. And, yes, it is one of the most unusual (and stylish) speakers you will come across. Born out of a passion for modern architecture and industrial design and inspired by the work of iconic designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Rithm is the handiwork of aeronautical-engineer-turned-speaker-designer Paul Schenkel, who set out to create an audiophile speaker that would be appreciated as much for its artisanship as for its sound.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 03, 2012  |  0 comments
Simple, modern, elegant—the PS1 from Cue Acoustics is definitely not your father’s speaker. Think of it as a forward-looking system for discriminating listeners who crave a simple setup that’s free of wires, hulking speakers, and an ugly stack of components (like the ones collecting dust in the back of your den). Promising big sound and a vivid soundstage, the PS1 system is extremely compact and provides everything you need to pump up the volume except an audio source: a pair of speakers, each with its own built-in 150-watt digital amplifier/processor, and a wireless transmitter that streams uncompressed audio from your TV, PC, smartphone, tablet, you-name-it, to wherever you decide to put the speakers (which, by the way, must be plugged into an AC outlet). Want to grab your tablet and play impromptu DJ at a party? As long as the tablet supports the DLNA connection standard, you can stream audio wirelessly to the PS1’s iPhone-size transmitter, which runs it through a signal processor and sends it to the speakers; otherwise, you can go old school and plug a cable into the transmitter’s digital (optical S/PDIF) or analog (3.5mm stereo) input.
Bob Ankosko  |  May 29, 2012  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $129 At a Glance: Turns any HDTV into a videophone • Easy-to-use onscreen interface • Simple set-up—usually

Don’t be fooled by the name and calligraphic logo. You won’t find this Biscotti at Starbucks or the local pastry shop, but it does pop up on Amazon.com when you search “Biscotti TV Phone” (“Biscotti” alone leads you to an excellent selection of the scrumptious Italian biscuits). Although video chatting on computers has been around for years, business-style video conferencing on a big screen is still rare among everyday consumers—something Biscotti Inc. hopes to change with its tiny Biscotti-shaped TV phone.

Bob Ankosko  |  May 24, 2012  |  7 comments
Stunning or strange? One of these words is likely to come to mind when you first lay eyes on the 101 X-treme speaker system, the flagship of MBL’s Reference Line. And what a system it is, handmade to order in Germany and comprising a pair of approximately 6-foot-tall towers, each of which supports two utterly unconventional driver arrays in an open frame, and two subwoofer towers, each comprised of six 12-inch woofers, a crossover, and an amplifier broken into three ported birch and aluminum boxes that can be stacked or laid side by side as needed. (No lows left behind.)

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