Earplugs are the best way to protect your hearing in loud environments, but sometimes they do their job too well. They muddle the sound, so music sounds dull, or you can't understand people talking around you. I've used earplugs for decades; my first set was custom-molded to my ears, and while they were highly effective, the hard plastic plugs were uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. So I moved onto inexpensive, but comfy foam plugs that quelled the noise almost as well, but they totally muffled the sound. Foam earplugs can be frustrating to use at … Read more
Audioarts imports the Sperling Heavyweight Turntable L-1 from Germany, and even before you hear this incredible work of art your eyes tell you this is one serious machine. The Heavyweight Turntable L-1 can accommodate two tone arms, and that allows owners to instantly choose the sound they want for the LP they're going to play. With two arms they can enjoy two, very different-sounding phono cartridges, maybe a mellow Koetsu for 1950s jazz, and a state-of-the-art Lyra for the Black Keys. The Heavyweight Turntable L-1's flexibility makes this possible.
Ansgar Sperling, the company's founder, started out as … Read more
I reviewed the first Devialet back in 2010, and that advanced tech amplifier, the D-Premier, rocked the audiophile world. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Devialet is showing its next generation amps. There's the new flagship Devialet 240, along with the more affordable Devialet 170 and Devialet 110, which can either be placed on a table or vertically mounted flat on a wall.Catch CNET's complete coverage of CES 2014
High-resolution music streaming from computers, smart phones, or tablets using any format up to 24 bit/192 kHz digital is possible. Rear panel connectivity features … Read more
Nelson Pass is one of America's leading amplifier designers, but he doesn't change his products all that often, the last time was in 2006, so when he does it's a big deal.
I was knocked out by one of Pass' earliest designs way back in the late 1970s, and over the decades he's always made some of the best sounding high-end amplifiers on the scene. His latest series of X.8 amps come in a variety of power ratings and configurations, but all share the same refinement and purity of sound that Pass Labs amps are … Read more
It was bound to happen. Focal, known to audiophiles all over the world for its statuesque Utopia series of high-end speakers is readying its first sound bar system. It's the 3-inch deep, "uni-body" aluminum Dimension, which can be placed in front of a display or mounted to a wall and provide a five-channel audio experience. The Dimension sound bar's speakers deliver bass down to 50 Hertz, that's exceptional bass performance for a slender, one-piece sound bar. For tabletop mounting you can add the optional, "zero vibration" low profile subwoofer base that extends the … Read more
Founded in 1980, Krell Industries' amplifiers have long set the benchmark for sound quality, and at CES 2014 the company took the wraps off its latest generation iBias, high-efficiency power amps. That's a really big deal because while Krells have always sounded great, they sucked a lot of AC power out of the wall socket. They ran hot, so hot you couldn't rest your hand on the chassis, because most of the AC juice was converted to heat, not to making the power that drives your speakers. The heat was an unfortunate byproduct of Krell's Class A … Read more
HiFiMan is premiering two new models of audiophile headphones at CES 2014. At first glance the new models resemble HiFiMan's HE-400 and HE-500 full-size planar magnetic headphones, but closer inspection reveals an entirely new headband design, and these two models are considerably lighter and more comfortable than the headphones they replace.Catch CNET's complete coverage of CES 2014
I was treated to an advance preview in NYC and auditioned the headphones at home. The sound is more open and clearer than ever before. Some experienced audiophiles may think these two new HiFiMans' sound is close to what you … Read more
If you listen to more music than watch movies at home, a top-notch integrated stereo amplifier may be a better choice than an AV receiver. I've said that for years. But a lot of the better-sounding integrated amps are feature-challenged, and some offer nothing more than an input selector for analog sources and a volume control. Some don't even have a remote control. So I was happy to spend some quality time with Rotel's sweet-sounding, fully loaded RA-1570 amplifier.
The 17x5.8x13.75-inch component weighs a hefty 28.7 pounds. That's interesting because this 2x120 watt … Read more
Rega may have started out as an audiophile turntable company in 1973, but it now offers a full line of amplifiers, CD players, digital converters, phono cartridges, and speakers.
They're all good, but to me Rega has always set the standard for affordable turntables. Most companies venturing into that market owe a lot to Rega's aesthetics and simple-is-better, functional design ethic. Take a look at the new U-Turn Orbit turntable reviewed just a few weeks ago and you'll see what I mean. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a clone, but the Rega … Read more
The classic home theater setup -- with front left, center, and right, surround speakers, and a subwoofer -- was the de facto sound standard. High-end home theater buyers still use multichannel systems, but the multichannel home theater-in-a-box system is almost dead. Up until recently, I reviewed 12 or more home theater-in-a-box systems every year for CNET, but now sound bars are the most popular solution.
Altec-Lansing introduced the very first sound bar/subwoofer system -- the Voice of the Digital Theatre -- in 1998. Even today, it still looks like a fully contemporary design, but as far as I can … Read more