Atlantic Technology claims its FS-7.0 Surround Bar is the first loudspeaker capable of reproducing all seven channels of a home theater soundtrack from a single wall-mountable enclosure. A matching 8-inch powered subwoofer will be offered for optimal integration with the FS-7.0.
A lot of very expensive soundbars are either tweeterless, or include just one tweeter, like Bowers & Wilkins' $2,200 Panorama. The FS-7.0's front baffle includes three 1-inch soft dome tweeters, for the front left, center, and right channels. The front panel also has a pair of 4x6-inch woofers.
Surround channels use full-range 3.25-inch … Read more
They're good, but do the remastered Beatles CDs offer a big enough sonic improvement over the 1987 CDs to make them essential? Listening over my high-end, two-channel system they absolutely do! But are the differences large enough to show up over an iPod, car system, or computer speakers?
The 2009 remasters are louder than the 1987 versions, so a quick comparison might lead you to believe the remaster is "better" simply because it's a little louder. And there's more bass. So if you compare old and new adjust the volume of both CDs to make them the same. Then tell me what you hear.
I compared two of the better sounding CDs, "The Beatles (The White Album)" and "Abbey Road" over my iPod, using my Monster Turbine in-ear headphones, and over my computer, with Audioengine2 speakers. Mind you, the Turbine and Audioengine2 are a good deal better than average-sounding ways to hear music, and after I compensated for the volume differences between the 1987 and 2009 versions, the sound was nearly the same.
And I was listening in a dead quiet room, add some background office or street noise and the differences would be even harder to hear. Rather than buy the new Beatles CDs, buy better headphones or speakers. They would make the Beatles music you already own sound better.
Thing is, with the 2009 remasters we're talking about fairly subtle improvements in clarity, especially in high-frequency detail, overall spaciousness, and naturalness. And the music seems more dynamically alive. Too bad those qualities evaporate over iPods, computer speakers, and car systems. … Read more
Focal Audio, aka JM Lab, may not be a well-known name in the U.S., but it is France's largest speaker manufacturer. I had Focal Mini Utopia speakers in my reference two-channel system for years and the Focal Grande Utopia EM ($180,000 per pair) is the best sounding speaker I've ever heard.
Maybe that's why the Focal Dome 5.1 satellite/subwoofer system ($2,595 MSRP) review by Michael Trei in Sound & Vision magazine piqued my interest.
The Dome replaces the Sib and Cub 5.1 system I favorably reviewed a few years ago. Unlike the Asian-built Sib and Cub, the Domes are manufactured at Focal's factory in Saint-Etienne, France.
The Dome 5.1 package is Focal smallest home speaker system yet. Trei writes: "the Dome satellite's cast-aluminum enclosure feels solid enough to withstand being run over by a small car." Each satellite speaker has a 4-inch woofer and a 1-inch aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeter, similar to the one Focal uses in its upscale Profile and Electra S models. Optional stands are available for the sats.
The matching cylindrical, rounded-top subwoofer has a single downward-firing 8-inch woofer and a built-in 100-watt amplifier.… Read more
Made of particleboard and ABS plastic, the Lack rack comes in a variety of painted colors (and "birch effect"); it's 21.3 inches wide and deep, and 17.75 inches high. Ikea doesn't present the Lack as audio furniture; it's a side table, but audiophiles all over the world have used it to support their prized possessions. Build quality is surprisingly sturdy.
Granted, the Lack won't handle macho 100-pound high-end amplifiers, but it'll be just right for a CD player stacked on top of a cool running receiver or integrated amplifier. Or get … Read more
It sure looks expensive, and at $135,000, the Goldmund Eidos Reference Blu-ray player is definitely in the upper crust of Blu-ray players in terms of cost.
Hand-built in Geneva, the Eidos Reference Blue is a truly rarefied design. Limited in production to 50 units, dawdlers will be left having to make do with a plain vanilla Denon or Sony Blu-ray player.
Oppo's new BDP-83 player spins just about every type of "silver" disc under the sun: CD, SACD, DVD-Audio, DVD-Video and Blu-ray. Cool!
I brought a stack of SACDs and DVD-A discs to the CNET listening room to check out the BDP-83 with our Denon AVR-3808CI receiver and Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD 5.1 speaker/subwoofer system. I'll cover the high-resolution audio performance of the Oppo here, read Matthew Moskovciak's full CNET review for the rest of the story.
"The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East," recorded on March 12 and 13, 1971, was a trip. Sure, the original mix was stereo, but I loved the way the SACD's 5.1 mix opened up and clarified the sound, especially the band's two drummers, Jai Johanny Johanson and Butch Trucks. The entire rhythm section's dynamics and pulse came alive on SACD, it's more in the background on CD.
On one hand the 5.1 mix is fairly subtle, but the sound's open quality and spaciousness was remarkable. The sense of being in the 2,000 seat concert hall was a thrill that you can't get with stereo. And no, you can't get there by playing stereo in Dolby Pro Logic II, a discrete 5.1 channel mix, if it's any good, will always sound better.
Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won" double DVD-A set was very different. How? The band's dynamic energy was even more present and the front three speakers soundstage depth and dimensionality were better than the Allman Brothers' disc. Too bad the bass was thicker and muddier, which was probably the way it sounded at the 1972 Zep shows. I didn't like the surround mix much, mostly because I couldn't understand why Jimmy Page's guitar was sometimes coming out of the surround speakers. Strange. But it's still the best sounding Zeppelin disc I own.… Read more
I went to Sirius XM's New York City headquarters on Wednesday to see what's new. They showed a bunch of docking units and the like, but the only new product that got my juices flowing was a new home tuner, the sleek-looking SR-H2000.
You might think a brand new Sirius tuner (not a table radio) intended to be used with a stereo or home theater system would also offer access to all XM channels, but that's not the case. Sirius subscribers can add "The Best of XM" package for a small upcharge on their monthly … Read more
Bass, really high-quality bass, is something I associate with large speakers and subwoofers. Smaller models generate significantly less bass output, but thanks to clever design it is possible to eek out more bass than little boxes used to make. But trust me, you can't predict bass performance by reading speaker specifications. Listening is the only way to learn what a speaker sounds like.
Speaker designers use all sorts of tricks involving bass ports and equalization techniques to boost bass, but bass quality, if not quantity, suffers in direct comparison to larger designs. Right, size still matters.
That may change: Atlantic Technology and Solus/Clements, two American speaker manufacturers, announced that they have joined forces to develop, market, and license a revolutionary new loudspeaker design protocol capable of delivering deep, low-distortion bass at high volume levels. This technology, dubbed H-PAS, (hybrid pressure acceleration system) will allow smaller cabinets and small drivers to achieve levels of performance "...normally associated with much larger speaker systems."
The new patent-pending system combines elements of several technologies: bass reflex, inverse horn, and transmission line in a unique cabinet design. H-PAS does not require the use of special drivers, any kind of onboard electronics or outboard equalization--it is a purely passive system, completely compatible with all amplifiers and receivers. … Read more
Most of you probably think of JBL as a manufacturer of affordable high-performance speakers, but the company offers a truly vast range of consumer and professional models.
The K2 S9900 ($15,000 each) is the best consumer speaker JBL makes. It's a massive thing, weighing in at 182 pounds, and it's armed with a 15-inch woofer, 4-inch magnesium, horn-loaded midrange, and 1-inch magnesium horn-loaded tweeter. It can handle amplifiers as large as 500 watts a channel.
The JBL K2 S9900 will be equally at home in ultra-high-end music and home theater systems.
The K2 was originally developed for … Read more