equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
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
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Monday, 30 November 2009 ,  Written by Augie Bettencourt
ButtKicker LFE Kit Review
Tactile transducers have been around for years, but to be honest, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about them.  The thought of adding something to my home theater to shake my seating seems gimmicky and artificial.  After all, my reference system already includes two Velodyne DD-18, eighteen inch woofers capable of creating low frequency extension and sound pressure levels, far exceeding what any reasonable person would want.  Why would someone like me need to augment bass, when I already have bass in abundance?  A friend purchased Berkline Home Theater Seating with factory installed ButtKickers and convinced me they are worth trying.  TechnologyA tactile transducer is an electro-mechanical device that will shake almost anything.  Most tactile transducers are very similar to a loudspeaker woofer driver minus the cone, driven by an oscillating force (the voice coil).  They can operate at higher ...
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
This Tuesday, the second Blu-Con conference was held in Beverly Hills, California.  Blu-Con is entirely dedicated to the topic of Blu-ray and its potential future within the movie, hardware, software, gaming and retail industries.   We jumped at the chance to attend, especially with all the underlying conversations about digital delivery versus Blu-ray adoption.  We were very interested in hearing how the current state of the economy had altered the adoption rate of Blu-ray and what the industry experts expected to see in the coming months / years.The conference kicked off with an opening from the DEG (Digitial Entertainment Group) president about what he expected to see this holiday season; namely $99 Blu-ray players and a higher attach rate of Blu-ray disc purchases.  There are currently 12 million U.S. homes with Blu-ray players and title sales have already risen about 83% ...
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 ,  Written by Mike Flacy
Bang & Olufsen 103-inch Plasma Preview
Last month, we visited the Aston Martin dealership in Beverly Hills to get a peek at the Bang & Olufsen 103” Plasma high definition television.  They had to schedule the demonstration in a car dealership due to the impressive weight.  The massive behemoth of a HDT V weighs 584 pounds (TV only) and over 1200 pounds if the motorized stand is included.  It requires five movers to deliver and install the television, only if the house’s foundation & structure passes muster from a qualified house inspector.  It’s no wonder that they needed the flooring support capable of handling the various Aston Martin vehicles in the immediate area. The viewing area was framed by a couple BeoLab 5 speakers on the sides and rear of the room.  As we sat down for the demonstration, the TV went in the opposite direction; ...
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 ,  Written by Robert Mead
Bowers & Wilkins 803S Loudspeakers
The name “B&W” brings many positive thoughts to audiophiles around the world, and with good reason. This high-end speaker manufacturer, owned by John Bowers and Roy Wilkins, has been a prime catalyst for developing major upgrades to every loudspeaker unit that they ever produced, starting with their first commercial loudspeaker, the P1, which they began manufacturing in 1966. Many years later, they developed the very awe-inspiring Signature 800 series of loudspeakers that featured the very innovative Diamond Dome tweeters, which most people only could gasp at when they saw this amazing-looking futuristic tweeter design at CES 2001. The startling “tweeter on top” found in the Signature 800 series, effectively gets rid of the problem of bouncing sound that is found in a speaker system when you put a loudspeaker’s tweeter in the conventional box cabinet that most loudspeaker’s manufacturers still ...
Friday, 01 August 2008 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Benchmark DAC1 PRE D/A Converter - Preamplifier
Introduction While most AV enthusiasts at the very high end of the market strive to achieve the best audiophile grade surround sound system, many of us still hold to the merits of two-channel audio for its breadth of content, ease of install, overall simplicity and pure sound.  Personally, my sources have evolved from LPs to CDs to the now-defunct DVD-Audio and SACD discs to the current full-resolution, uncompressed AIFF files stored on an Apple Mac Pro’s internal terabyte hard drive.  Thanks to the commercial death of the higher-resolution audiophile formats, I find myself more and more drawn to files on my computer for my dedicated theater and my audiophile system, as well as for my network devices.  This said, I am still an audiophile and the urge to make these CD quality files sound better is in my blood.  Enter the ...
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