I have fond memories of the original Aragon 4004 power amplifier from my days when I worked as a high-end audio salesman. That was in the late 1980s and the big 200 watt amp sold for a lot less money than the reigning high-end amps of the period. The distinctive styling, with a "V" cutout in the 4004's chassis, made it stand out from rows of lookalike designs at the store. While the Aragon amps sold for a couple of thousand dollars, they were more affordable than most high-end amps. A few years after the 4004 arrived … Read more
This morning Apple quietly rolled out Hulu Plus on the Apple TV. The missing service was one of the last pieces to a puzzle being put together by those who've decided to cut cable, and go all streaming.
If you aren't seeing Hulu Plus show up on your Apple TV yet, you simply need to restart it. Turning it off and back on wasn't enough for me, I had to actually go in and restart it from the settings menu. Here's how.
On your Apple TV, go to Settings > General.
Scroll down to the bottom … Read more
I first spotted Josh Ray's Urban Fidelity Kickstarter project on the Stereophile Web site, and it looked really interesting. The speaker is less than an inch thick and uses a made in the U.S.A. 8-inch driver. Completed speakers will sell for $399 a pair! The Urban Fidelity speaker is an "open baffle" design that uses sound from the front and back of the 8-inch driver. The speaker panel is made with formaldehyde-free wood sourced from North American forests and manufactured in Los Angeles, and the paints and inks are water-based and free of harmful chemicals. … Read more
My fondness for big speakers is longstanding, but I'm almost as big a fan of smaller speakers that sound big. Take Definitive Technology's StudioMonitor 55 speaker ($299 each). Measuring 13x7.8x12.3 inches it's not all that big, but it weighs a hefty 15.4 pounds. The StudioMonitor 55 is a handsome, but conventional-looking design, until you peel off the cloth grille on the top of the speaker and see the "racetrack bass radiator." It's a unique Def Tech feature, and one that really helps the StudioMonitor 55 outperform similarly sized speakers.… Read more
Streaming can only take you so far. It's nice to carry at least some of our tunes and videos with us in our mobile devices, but most of us have run into space limitations. SD cards can only hold so much, but compressing your files can help you cram more onto your device. Note that higher levels of compression almost always mean lower levels of quality, but most of us won't notice much difference.First, clear off extraneous files. You may have old pictures, videos, and other detritus that can be better stored on your computer or … Read more
Outdoor speakers are a little out of my area of expertise, and most of the ones I've seen at shows look like plastic rocks. Leon Speakers' Boundary B404 is definitely a big step up from those sorts of things.
I moved recently, and though I hired pros and consider myself to be fairly well organized, it was still stressful and exhausting. I did manage to save myself some time and heartache by planning ahead regarding my home network, media centers, and other devices. Here are some tips to make your own move a little simpler:Deal with your ISP and other providers ahead of time. Just like utilities providers, magazine publishers, employers, and everyone else who needs your new address, your ISP needs plenty of heads-up to make your move as seamless as possible. This is doubly true … Read more
A couple of years ago, we had 40 movies on this list. But as new releases have arrived, we've gradually pruned the list, and today we're down to a mere 15 top movies that aren't out yet on Blu-ray.
Yes, there are several other great movies that still haven't gotten the Blu-ray treatment. But like I say with the top 40 must-have Blu-rays list, feel free to express your opinions, and if you have a legitimate case, I'll update the list with new picks.
For the latest round we've dropped "The Sting" and "Chariots of Fire," and several other movies, including "Jaws," "Titanic," and the "Indiana Jones Trilogy," are due to come off the list in the coming months because they're already available for preorder, so stay tuned for a big revamp of the list this fall.
Live concerts are louder than ever, but home audio systems that sound great turned up loud are increasingly rare. If you're into loud music and lucky enough to live in a place where maximum volume won't get you evicted or arrested, or earn the wrath of neighbors, treat yourself to a set of big speakers.
Sure, small satellite speakers with a powerful subwoofer can sound great, but not in the same league as large speakers. Big systems really do have huge performance advantages over even the best small ones. If you've got the space to accommodate a pair of Klipsch Reference RF-7 II speakers, they deserve an audition. The only downside to listening to the RF-7 IIs is you'll never be satisfied with a Bluetooth speaker ever again.… Read more
Even if it's just an inexpensive iPod or Bluetooth speaker, careful placement can really make a difference in the sound. Specific placement requirements vary with the type of speaker, but it's usually wise to have speakers at least 36 inches off the floor, close to the height of a seated listener's head. If the speakers have to be placed lower or higher, angle them toward the main listening position. Try to place speakers at least a few feet away from corners and large pieces of furniture that reflect sound.
Placing speakers close to boundaries -- walls, corners, … Read more