This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive II Preamplifier Review
SOtM iSO-CAT6 LAN Filter And tX-USBhub Review
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Monday, 01 December 2003 ,  Written by Richard Elen
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro PC Sound Hardware
Introduction Despite its enormous name, the Audigy 2 is a worthy successor to the original Audigy and, in addition to prodigious capabilities aimed at the pro or semi-pro musician, it also is the first computer-based system to play DVD-Audio discs. The Audigy 2 ZS is a complete kit for Windows PC (there is no Macintosh version), incorporating an external I/O hub, audio card and accessories, which include a compact IR remote. The card fits into a PCI slot in the usual way, and you can also install the included joystick/MIDI bracket in an adjacent slot if you wish. The I/O box is the coolest (and most visible) part of the system, providing inputs and outputs, with the exception of speaker connections, for the system. The box is 7.75 inches by eight inches by 2.25 inches in size (WDH). It is linked to the installed card via a dual cable, one leg with special high-density ...
Thursday, 01 August 2002 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Introduction XM Satellite radio is one of the most exciting new technologies in the world of audio/video, with billions of Wall Street and privately raised dollars powering the first significant challenge to traditional terrestrial radio since FM took over from AM in the 1960s. With the unprecedented success of DirecTV satellite television as a model for success, XM radio has been rolled out this year, primarily in car audio environments, to impress music and entertainment enthusiasts. Being addicted to new AV toys and new cars, as well as being raised in a radio industry family, the lure of XM Satellite Radio was too much for me to resist, so when I sold off my 1997 BMW M3 for a 2002 Mercedes Benz ML500 SUV, I had an XM system installed within days. Since Mercedes seems to pride themselves on not adopting new ...
Thursday, 01 August 2002 ,  Written by Richard Elen
Outlaw Audio ICBM-1 Integrated Controlled Bass Manager
Introduction A look at Outlaw Audio's website makes it appear that the company's avowed specialty is audiophile quality at mass-market prices. If the ICBM-1 bass management system is anything to go by, they’re good at it. The unit costs a mere $249 and does a very important job very well for those who need bass management, as many readers are. But before we get a look at the unit itself, let’s consider bass management and why you probably don’t have something like this unit already. Modern digital audio distribution systems like DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD offer six channels of audio, all of which are full range – they can go from DC to somewhere like half the sample rate. Even a regular DVD-Video disc can handle full range audio on five out of the six channels: the “.1” in a 5.1 system is the so-called “Low Frequency Effects” or LFE channel. In the ...
Monday, 01 January 2001 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Apogee PSX 100 24-bit/96 kHz A/D Converter
Introduction You may be thinking, "Jerry, why are you reviewing a DAC? Everyone knows that DACs are an integrated part of AV preamps these days." I must admit that, while I own a pretty badass AV preamp (Proceed AVP), when I merged my dedicated music system with my theater system, I suffered a number of musical maladies. At the time, I had also moved all of the equipment to an entirely new room with all sorts of acoustic problems, including but not limited to a glass front wall and a 20-foot by eight-foot-tall mirrored left side wall. The result was a room that sounded understandably bright. You may consequently ask, "Hey, Jerry, why did you move to such a joint?" The answer is, the view, my man. Imaging is defined by being able to see from the Capitol Records Building to Catalina Island while jamming out to your system, but I had lots of ...
Sunday, 01 October 2000 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Sennheiser HD-600 Headphones
Introduction Headphones are not a particularly glamorous product and are often overlooked by many consumers. For years, I have paid practically no attention to headphones or headphone amplifiers. I didn’t know what I was missing but, after experiencing the best in headphones, I doubt I will ever be without a pair of good headphones again. I spent time listening to two top-of-the-line dynamic headphones, the Grado RS-1s and the Sennheiser HD-600’s. There are some more exotic designs, including electrostatic headphones costing upwards of $10,000, but these represent the top-of-the-line dynamic headphones from two well-respected companies. I turned to Tyll at Headroom, a company specializing in headphones and headphone accessories, to get started on this article. I received a quick lesson not only in headphones but also in headphone amplifiers. I used Headroom’s "Maxed Out Home" headphone amplifier, as well as a Grado Reference headphone amplifier, in my testing. The Headroom amplifier has special circuitry that provides amazing imaging ...
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