The Magico Ultimate is now in its third revision, and runs close to $600,000 a pair, too bad you didn't jump on the originals back in 2004, when they were just $229,000! The original and current Ultimate speakers share the same "horns," the megaphone-like pieces that sit in front of the drivers, but the new speaker has redesigned drivers, crossover networks, and amplifiers. The form-follows-function "Blade Runner" aesthetic won't appeal to buyers with traditional tastes, but Magico's line of box speakers is certainly more conventional looking, and affordable. Well, affordable in … Read more
I'm always on the lookout for great cheap headphones, so when CNET's Matthew Moskovciak suggested I try Sony's MDR-ZX100 I jumped at the chance. We were both knocked out by Sony's MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 headphones, so I bought a pair of MDR-ZX100s on Amazon for $15. I had no expectations it would threaten those two amazing Sonys, but at less than 20 percent of those headphones' current prices I was curious to see how much of the magic trickled down to the MDR-ZX100. The MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 were both designed more than twenty years ago, when … Read more
When Apple unveiled the Lightning connector last year, it created a problem for anyone who owned a speaker dock with a 30-pin connector: new iDevices couldn't connect.
C4 Electronics' Dolry HiFi Stone solves that problem by turning those old docks into AirPlay speakers, able to connect wirelessly to iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, Macs, and even a handful of Samsung devices.
There are similar gizmos that endow speaker docks with Bluetooth capabilities, the closest being the Auris freeDa. But the Stone looks far more elegant: a thin, glossy black (or white) oval that looks like, well, a stone; something you'd skip across a pond. And it affords the benefits of AirPlay, which trounces Bluetooth in a few key areas.… Read more
Take a good look at the picture of the Equator D5 desktop speaker. Do you see anything unusual about its design? Where's the tweeter? Look closer, there it is -- right in the center of the woofer! The D5's "coaxial" driver combines the tweeter and woofer into a single driver, and that's really cool. Equator didn't invent this type of driver -- I've seen them before on various KEF and Tannoy speakers, but the D5 is, by far, the least expensive desktop speaker I've tested with a coaxial driver. So what's … Read more
I've lost count how many times I've given props to Emotiva's $299 per pair Airmotiv 4 desktop monitor speakers on this blog, but never got around to auditioning the next model up in the line, the Airmotiv 5, which are currently on sale for $409 a pair. The 5 sounds really good, very similar to the Airmotiv 4, just more so. There's also an even larger model, the $599-per-pair Airmotiv 6s, I might get around to checking those out someday.
The Airmotiv 5 has a 5.25-inch polypropylene composite woofer, and instead of a dome tweeter, … Read more
The continuing popularity of Bluetooth speakers mystifies me. The under $50 ones sound pretty weak, but they have a good excuse: they're cheap! Sadly, the $100 models aren't much better: they sound undernourished next to my $52 Dayton Audio B652 stereo speakers, powered by my $25 Lepai LP-2020A+ stereo amplifier. Before we go any further let's put aside for a second the question of how BT sounds; the biggest problem with BT speakers is that it's just one speaker, and can't fill a room as well as two speakers, spread five or more feet apart. … Read more
Over the past year or so we've seen a new product category emerge: the portable digital converter/headphone amplifier. Of course, no one "needs" such a device -- phones and iPods already have converters and amps built-in -- and sound perfectly fine with average headphones. The sound is good enough, but your phone's converter and amp share space and battery power with the phone's electronics. A separate converter and amp, about the size of a phone, has only one mission: improved sound quality. So if you upgraded to a high-end in-ear headphone, like the $399 … Read more
It's been a few years since I wrote my last Zu Audio speaker review, but this time out I wanted to try their least expensive tower, and that's where things got interesting.
The Zu Audio Omen Standard and Omen Dirty Weekend (DW) are virtual twins, but with one very significant difference: the DW uses "recycled" drivers. That is, the DW drivers come from Zu customers who traded up to one of Zu's higher-end drivers. Let's stop right there: Zu Audio is one of the rare speaker companies to offer upgrades in any form, but … Read more
Elegantly designed, affordable products are marvels of our age, but then there are the extreme, defiantly outrageous ones designed to thrill. Take the new 640-horsepower Dodge SRT Viper GTS: this $120,000 supercar looks like a venomous snake with wheels and can propel its owner to insanely fast speeds, but the car probably won't be of much practical use as a grocery hauler or picking up the kids from soccer practice. The Abyss AB-1266 is the SRT Viper GTS of headphones. It's a no-holds-barred attempt to build the best-sounding headphone on the planet.
The mostly metal design is … Read more
Sharp has announced that the 70-inch LC-70UD1 television, the first Ultra HD screen to receive THX certification, is now available in stores for $7,499, with a street price of $5,999.
The TV features a 4H/UHD resolution of 3,840x2,160 pixels and the company's proprietary Revelation upscaler to upscale existing sources to the resolution of the panel.
The LC-70UD1 is the first to receive THX 4K classification, which Sharp said involved over 400 tests, and it means the TV includes two precalibrated THX Movie modes.
The UD1 is edge-lit but lacks local dimming and unlike the … Read more