Note to electronics industry: Sometimes, rather than trying too hard to come up with a new design, it might be best to take a trip back in time. We never thought we'd be touting a look from the '70s, but Grundig is releasing a pair of speakers with an irresistible mid-century feel that has held up well over the years. (Then again, we never thought we'd see platform shoes again either.)
Some of us at Crave are an admittedly superficial lot, one that's particularly taken with just about anything that comes from the designers at Bang & Olufsen. But not this time.
The Danish company's "BeoLab 3" speakers seem kind of like a high-tech interpretation of the emperor's clothes--they look almost naked, but we're supposed to laud their innovative design. Given B&O's track record, however, we have little doubt that they'll provide quality sound; according to Luxurylaunches, each unit houses three drivers with a tweeter positioned on top like a periscope, … Read more
Boynq, the company that may have the best name in all of the Netherlands, actually debuted this fashion-conscious multi-tasking speaker system earlier in the year at CES, but it's worth noting again now that it's finally arriving on the market.
Along with its "Audio Lens Technology" surround sound, the strangely named "Alibi" includes a microphone and a Webcam peeking out of the top, with an ingeniously situated volume control in the form of a silver band that looks like a girdle tightened around its waist. We were sold on this adornment based on its … Read more
Sharing music has never been easier, or perhaps sillier, than this.
Asia Vantage, a Hong Kong-based company, has designed a sunglasses case that features a built-in portable speaker. Users can plug their iPod or mobile phone into the case and groove away with friends.
The cases also come with compartments for loose change and credit cards.
The cases, called Shady Beats, are designed to protect sunglasses from getting scratched as they are tucked in next to a NXT, flat-panel speaker, the company said on its Web site. The speaker is powered by two triple-A batteries.
Couldn't find them for … Read more
Paul Barton, founder and chief designer of PSB Speakers loves his job. He'd have to--over the last the last three decades he's probably logged more hours at the Canadian National Research Council's facilities in Ottawa, Ontario than any other speaker designer. There he dotes on his prototype designs in the acoustically neutral environment of an anechoic chamber, measuring and evaluating every aspect of their performance. Barton typically spends two to three years designing a new line of speakers.
I met with him in NYC a few weeks ago to check out his latest, Synchrony. After discussing the technical highlights of his new babies he handed me a Synchrony One B ($1,999/pair) bookshelf speaker to look over. PSB speakers have always sounded great, but they weren't the most gorgeous looking things. The new ones are altogether sleeker, slimmed down, and really pretty in an understated sort of way. Their heavyweight extruded aluminum front and rear baffles; and curved, seven-layer composite wood side panels display a new, more sophisticated level of fit and finish. The speakers are available in snazzy real cherry wood or black ash veneers.
The sound, especially the top of the line Synchrony One tower speaker ($4,499/pair) was spectacularly vivid. Bass was not only subwoofer deep, it was also taut, so it rendered pitches of bass with rare precision. Listen to Paul McCartney's bass on the Beatles' Sgt Pepper CD and you'll know what I'm talking about. Rock drummers came off particularly well; the sense of hearing sticks beating skins was remarkably clear and clean. Barton's new tweeter was equally astonishing when reproducing the cymbals' brassy shimmer. Livingston Taylor's folk vocals from his Ink CD had just the right combination of body and soul. That's exactly what separates "good enough" mainstream speakers from high-end models; the best ones make you feel like you're in the presence of live musicians. Ah yes, that's the point after all.… Read more
Oh, the naivete of youth. There will always be some upstarts who think they can challenge a reigning monarch in any given region or field and, true to form, we now have one that foolishly thinks it can take on the supreme of all supremes: Hello Kitty.
The misguided pretender to the throne in question is Brightonnet, which has introduced its cleverly named "Cat Speaker," a feline-shaped MP3 system with a wired remote--is that an oxymoron?--that looks like a paw. According to Fareastgizmos, it's also supposed to be "scratch-proof" (groan).
Even more brazen, the … Read more
Blue Raven Technologies just announced the release of a substantial 2.1-channel iPod speaker system called the Maestro 1070. With a composite video output, auxiliary input, and a remote control, this 70-watt, 18-pound speaker box looks like it could do some serious damag--and for only $200. Might this be a worthy, chromed-out adversary to the Apple Hi-Fi?
Ever since we were kids, Crave has always been fascinated with blimps. To this day we still idolize the dirigible, though the atrocious Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow did its best to ruin the image forever.
That's probably why we're partial to the "Zeppelin" from B&W Loudspeakers, the first of its kind for the iPod that's shaped like the airship of yesteryear. SCI FI Tech says the 2-foot-long system backs up its design with some impressive acoustic muscle--"five drivers including a 5-inch woofer, glass-fiber cones and those sweet tapered … Read more
As an "investment" video sucks. Before you plunk down big bucks on today's cutting edge video just ponder for a second that what you buy today will be tomorrow's landfill.
Pick up a good set of speakers and they'll stick around for a long, long time. Anybody who dropped $15K on an early generation plasma display has surely replaced it years ago, and is probably on their second or third set by now. So their total investment may be approaching twenty Gs! Remember too that early plasmas were standard definition sets and their picture quality … Read more
Pricing info is unavailable for the Mini Boombox for iPod. The system is slated for release in September.