The endless customization options available for kitchens assures you that no matter the preference, there is an option available--sometimes you just have to look a little harder for it. Design choices do not have to be all about shiny chrome and stainless steel when it comes to looking for ways to outfit the hearth. Sometimes, it's not a matter of elegance at all; it could be all about convenience. And sometimes that means stuffing as many major appliances into one space as possible.
Distinctive appliances in the kitchen lend a stylish appeal to the entire house. However, it is not only the amount of time we spend in and about our kitchens that make them a reflection of the whole home. "You are what you eat," they say, and by extension it could be said that how you prepare your meals shows who you are. (At least when it comes to personal style.)
A vent hood has the potential to take over your kitchen with its light-blocking large design. Some vent hoods try to ingratiate themselves with LCD screens and other goodies, but Jenn-Air's latest offering takes a different tack. The new perimetric ventilation systems remove smoke, steam, and cooking odors by pulling air through thin channels located on the perimeter of a glass-finished panel that hangs on the wall like a picture frame.
The high-gloss angled glass panel comes in several finish options to match different kitchen styles. Choose from black with stainless steel trim, white with white trim, or trim … Read more
Dynamic range compression and lossy file compression are completely different things. What's the difference?
Dynamic range compression squashes soft-to-loud volume shifts. This form of compression has been used by recording, mixing and mastering engineers for decades.
Other than bona-fide audiophile recordings, most of the music you hear has been dynamically compressed--which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as dynamic range compression adds punch, presence, and impact to music.
It's just that over the past decade or so the trend is to overcompress dynamics, so not only has music lost most of its natural soft-to-loud dynamics, but nuance and subtle detail are missing as well. The loud-all-the-time aesthetic is boring.
Recordings with less compression have lower (quieter) overall volume, so if you go from listening to maximally compressed contemporary recordings to something with less compression you need to turn up the volume to compensate for the difference.
As a consumer of music, you don't have the option of buying uncompressed music. If the engineers squashed the soft-to-loud dynamics out of the new Lady Gaga record there's no way of getting them back. Once sound is compressed, you can't decompress it. If you want to hear music with less compression, buy original pressings of 1960s or 1970s LPs. Yes, some of those will be compressed, but less than contemporary recordings. … Read more
Long-range acoustic devices (LRADs) were developed by American Technology Corporation, and are capable of emitting a maximum volume of 151 decibels (that's super loud), within 30 degrees of where the device is pointing. That sort of volume is loud enough to be painful and may cause permanent hearing damage. The LRAD's highly directional sound reduces the risk of exposing bystanders to harmful audio levels.
At lower volume, LRADs can be used as high-powered speakers, "to communicate effectively to large public gatherings, in search and rescue operations, and to defuse deadly SWAT situations." ATC claims LRADS are … Read more
Having spent time behind the steering wheels of the BMW X6 M, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the Infiniti FX50S, and the Range Rover Sport, I was fairly certain that I could predict the outcome of Autocar's drag race between the four sporty SUVs (is that a bit redundant?). And for the most part, I was right. I won't spoil the ending for you, but I can't help but to think that the outcome would be decidedly different and much more interesting if this race where held off-road! I mean, these are SUVs after all.
Place your bets … Read more
Every year product life cycles in the consumer marketplace grow ever shorter and we see ever faster turnover in cameras, phones computers, and so on. On the audio side, the latest and greatest receivers become yesterday's news faster than you can say "HDMI 1.4." It seems like no receiver can stay current for more than a year or so.
Speaker companies show a little more restraint and "refresh" their lines every few years, but even then new models rarely demonstrate actual performance improvements over the previous generations' models. Speaker manufacturer Magnepan doesn't play by those rules; it invests years of development in each of its models before introducing a new speaker. It has to sound better--a lot better--than the outgoing model before it's released to the world.
And not just in the opinion of the designers. New-model Magnepans undergo extensive "blind" listening tests with a wide range of audiophile and non-audiophile listeners (the listeners don't know whether they're hearing the old or new model). The new speaker must consistently score better than the old model before it goes into production.
When I first heard the Magneplanar 1.6 back in 2008 I said it was the best under-$2,000 speaker on the market. Incredibly enough it was 10 years old at the time! The Magneplanar 1.6 has stayed in production for 12 years, but now it's about to be replaced with the new Magneplanar 1.7.
Magnepan, based in White Bear Lake, Minn., builds nothing but panel (boxless) speakers. Not only that, Magnepan designs forgo conventional dome tweeters and cone-type woofers. As I pointed out in my August 14, 2008, blog that's why the company's Magneplanar 1.6 speaker mostly avoids sounding like a speaker. The speaker earned the top position in my Top 10 greatest audiophile speakers blog earlier this year.
The new Magneplanar 1.7 is also a flat-panel design, 64.5 inches tall and a mere 2 inches thick! The new speaker looks a little more contemporary, thanks to its aluminum, wrap-around edge molding. The old model was a two-way design, with a 48-inch-tall aluminum ribbon tweeter and a 442-square-inch mid/bass panel. The Magneplanar 1.7 is a three-way design, with a woofer, tweeter, and super-tweeter. The super-tweeter comes in around 10,000 hertz and is said to produce wider dispersion and better-resolved treble than the Magneplanar 1.6 did.
The other big difference is the Magneplanar 1.7 is a "full-range" ribbon design.… Read more
Plugging in your electric vehicle, or extended-range hybrid, may soon be a thing of the past. Evatran is developing a "hands-free" proximity charging system with the engineering team from Colorado company Syncroness.
The idea is to pull up to the Plugless Power system and get your car recharged. Evatran has a short animation depicting the process. The company will not have a product available until fall 2010, according to a press release.
This week, we've been taking a look at some of 2010's biggest gas-guzzlers. Not surprisingly, this list has been chock full of utility vehicles, and today's blog chalks up yet another entry for Land Rover. Yesterday, we got a look-see at the 2010 LR4, and our newest inductee into the Low Mileage Hall of Fame is the Land Rover Range Rover Sport (which also wins another award for the most redundant vehicle name ever). The LRRRS boasts average gas mileage of 12 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway--not god awful, but certainly nothing … Read more
The U.S. Army is testing a new diesel hybrid vehicle called the Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle (CERV) designed for quick-paced special operations-type missions such as reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting--all the while conserving fuel.
The vehicle was developed jointly by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide and the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) National Automotive Center, with funding support through the U.S. Special Operations Command.
The CERV pairs the Quantum's new "Q-Force" advanced all-wheel-drive diesel hybrid electric power train with a light-weight chassis to produce a torque rating that exceeds … Read more