People love sound bars for a lot of good reasons: they eliminate most of the wiring and setup hassles associated with traditional 5.1-channel home theaters, they don't take up a lot of space, they are less expensive than subwoofer/satellite packages, and since most sound bars are self-powered, you don't need to buy an AV receiver. A skinny sound bar positioned under a sleek display is certainly a more appealing solution than a 5.1 or even stereo pair of speakers. There's just one problem: sound bars can't fill a room with sound nearly as well as separate speakers can.… Read more
This is an update of a deal I posted earlier this year. The first time around, it sold out very quickly, but this time I'm assured the vendor has some 5,000 units in stock.
Not wild about the audio coming from your laptop? No surprise there -- it's fairly miraculous that manufacturers manage to squeeze in speakers at all.
And yet many folks use their laptops as media centers in dens, offices, and bedrooms. So how can you get more aural enjoyment from your games, movies, and music?
Simple: add a sound bar. Even an inexpensive one … Read more
Most speaker docks are on the small side, with an eye toward portability. Consequently, they're rarely powerful enough to fill a room with sound.
One option, of course, is a traditional stereo system with a receiver, a pair of speakers, and wires all over the place. What is this, the '70s?
Another option: pack that entire stereo into a single, floor-standing speaker that docks your iPhone or iPod -- no wires required (except for power, natch).
Like this one: for a limited time, you can get the Fluance FiTSD600 2.1-channel tower speaker dock for $249.99 shipped. That'… Read more
Apple has cooked up a design for headphones that can also serve as external loudspeakers.
A patent filed today with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a "dual-mode headphone" that could deliver sound whether you wear them around your ears or place them on a surface, according to Patently Apple.
The headphones would include circuitry to detect their position. They'd sense when they're around or near your ears so that you're not blown away by the sound.
A built-in amplifier would pipe up the audio to deliver higher output when the headphones are … Read more
A well-calibrated Panasonic TC-PVT50 TV will look exactly the same in almost any room with the lights turned down. Video performance is reliable and predictable, but audio is the exact opposite. Speakers will sound very different in different rooms, sometimes to a frightening degree. AV receivers' speaker calibration systems might help a little bit, but they can never eliminate the problems created by sound reflecting off a room's walls, floor and ceiling. The size and shape of the room, furniture, floor covering, mirrors, windows, and drapes all play their parts in the sound environment.
When I was a hi-fi … Read more
It can be hard to distinguish one portable speaker from the next. They usually come in some uninspiring variation of black, white, or silver. There is a more colorful way to go, however: turn a group of artists loose and reap the rewards.
The Boombots Artist Series takes the small Boombot speaker and turns it into a graffiti- and street art-inspired canvas. Artists UberPup, DGPH, and Sket One give the little guys a bright makeover.… Read more
I love little speakers, especially when they're as fine as the Music Hall Marimbas I wrote about recently, but the best little ones can't touch the big guys for sheer power. If you've only heard little speakers at home, you have no idea what you've been missing. Big speakers sound, well, bigger, and more like live music.
That's why I'm so jazzed by the Tekton M-Lore. This 34-inch high tower sports an American-made 8-inch natural fiber woofer and a European-designed 1-inch silk dome tweeter, so the M-Lores can really belt out a big sound. … Read more
Apple's new iPad Mini does have two stereo speakers, despite Amazon's attempt to fudge the facts.
On Sunday, the retail giant unveiled a comparison chart on its home page pitting its own Kindle Fire HD against Apple's iPad Mini. With all the stats stacked in favor of the Kindle, Amazon said that its tablet offers dual stereo speakers while the iPad Mini is stuck with just mono sound.
Though Amazon has since taken down the chart from its home page, another chart contrasting the two 7-inch rivals now says the iPad Mini has a single speaker.
But … Read more
Spunk, that's what Music Hall's Marimba speaker has lots of. No measurements are needed to confirm this is an exceptional speaker. Its low-key looks are deceiving; it's just a nicely finished "wood" grain black medium-density fiberboard box, measuring 6.6 inches by 8.7 inches by 11 inches, with rounded corners. There's a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer lurking behind a removable black cloth grille. The internally braced cabinet feels solid; there's nothing exotic about the design, but the box feels more expensive than you usually get in a $… Read more
Bluetooth speakers are all the rage these days, but when you stream your music library, Pandora playlists, and the like to a Bluetooth speaker, the audio gets compressed. And that makes audiophiles angry.
Plus, why listen to a relatively small sound system when you've already got a big, honking stereo? What you need is some Bluetooth-style way to beam your tunes from your iDevice to those sweet speakers -- but without the Bluetooth-style compression.
There's one way, and it's on sale! Through November 4, Shoptronics has the Nyrius NiAA300 Digital Wireless Audio Transmitter System for $59.99 shipped … Read more