Leslie Shapiro

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 14, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $329.95

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Solid build quality
Spacious imaging
Natural treble response
Minus
Bass could be smoother
Heavy
No inline controls on cable

THE VERDICT
With a unique wood-dome diaphragm, JVC’s HA-FW01 in-ear headphones deliver a clean sound that shines with acoustic music, particularly classical.

When our illustrious editor Al Griffin suggested that I review the JVC HA-FW01 in-ear headphones, he mentioned that they were "fancy." What could possibly be so fancy about headphones? As it turned out, the HA-FW01 has a gorgeous look, with a dark wood housing and rose-gold accents, but it's what's inside that really makes them fancy.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 19, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very good dialogue intelligibility
Wide stereo imaging
Multiple color options
Minus
Lacks front indicator lights
Pricey

THE VERDICT
The DALI Katch One 2.0 soundbar combines impressive TV sound with an attractive design and multiple color options.

DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) isn't a well-known brand in the United States, but the company may get more notice once word of its Katch One soundbar gets out. Stylish and simple, DALI's soundbar ($999) strikes an interesting balance between price and sound quality—it's undeniably pricey, but since the Katch One fulfills the promise of an audiophile loudspeaker, you get what you pay for.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 19, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $150

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Decent sound for the price
Slim, wireless subwoofer
Bluetooth for music streaming
Minus
Confusing LED display
Lacks deep bass
Hard-to-read remote control

THE VERDICT
Vizio's 2.1 soundbar system with wireless subwoofer delivers better sound than built-in TV speakers without breaking the bank.

Vizio's latest soundbar is a compact system with a wireless subwoofer that sells for $150. If you just spent big bucks on a new TV and realized that its built-in audio is horrific, this 2.1 package will deliver significantly better sound without consuming what remains of your budget.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 29, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $399

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Fabulous sound quality
Replaceable battery
Supports Alexa and Google Assistant
Convenient charging base
Minus
Mono playback
Audio input limited to wireless
No phone capability

THE VERDICT
The waterproof/dustproof Move is one of the best-sounding and full-featured portables available. It may just be my new favorite speaker.

Sonos is no stranger to compact speakers that play without wires, but the new Move ($399) is the first truly portable, battery powered model to come from the company. The Move's connectivity options let you tote it around the house and even outside when using Wi-Fi; beyond that, as long as it's charged up, you can take it anywhere and stream music via Bluetooth. The Move comes with a dedicated (and dare we say, stylish) charging base that eliminates fumbling around with connecting cables, and it can also be charged via USB-C (cable not included).

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 21, 2019  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Convincing immersive sound
Powerful bass
Chromecast built-in for music streaming
Minus
Heavy and large
Expensive

THE VERDICT
Sennheiser's first foray into home theater was worth the wait. The Ambeo soundbar, with Ambeo 3D processing, is currently the best soundbar on the market.

The compactness and convenience that soundbars offer has always been appealing, but their actual sound has too often been a letdown. Many have failed to create an authentic sense of surround and most also require an external subwoofer to provide substantial bass. Sennheiser's new Ambeo soundbar looks to buck that trend by delivering an immersive 5.1.4 surround experience while confidently eschewing a separate subwoofer. On paper, it looks to be the first soundbar designed to truly replace a standard home-theater surround setup. But does it deliver the goods?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 19, 2019  |  2 comments
Most headphones strive for a clean sound without any coloration or alteration of the source. The new AV50 noise-cancelling headphones from ZVOX feature AccuVoice technology that intentionally brightens up vocals and dialogue, adding clarity to movies and TV shows, while also reducing ambient noise. Headphones for an older or mildly hearing-impaired crowd? Why not?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 05, 2019  |  0 comments
They say you get what you pay for. With budget audio products, that’s rarely a good thing. Finding a pair of true wireless earphones for under $50 is a rare thing, and finding ones with acceptable sound quality is even rarer. I had a chance to check out the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 earphones that retail for $45. Let’s see what just under fifty bucks gets you these days.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-quality DAC
Alexa voice control
Includes headphone amp
Minus
Cumbersome input selection
No aptX Bluetooth
No hardware remote control

THE VERDICT
The Amazon Echo Link Amp offers an easy way to connect music streaming services to your existing stereo speakers.

With the new Amazon Echo Link Amp ($299), Amazon is sending Alexa off into unchartered territory. The goal: get music out of the phone and into the home, where it can be shared with family and friends. Such a warm, fuzzy idea! Good thing the Link Amp's sound is crisp, clear, and not fuzzy at all.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 15, 2019  |  0 comments
As a long-time subscriber to SiriusXM, I tend to ignore emails and notices from them. I pay and renew every six months and forget about them in between payment dates. So I’m glad I spotted the latest email from them because they’ve announced a host of new features, stations, and exciting new ways to listen to SiriusXM outside of the car.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 01, 2019  |  0 comments
When you’re going truly wireless, your only option is to use Bluetooth, so it has to be the best quality that Bluetooth affords. The new Cleer Ally earphones use Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, so for the moment, they're pretty much as good as it gets.

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