The Anthony Gallo Acoustics Micro SE speaker ($239) is a tiny steel sphere, just 4 inches in diameter -- that's the size of an orange. It's an audiophile quality performer, capable of delivering high-resolution sound and a big, downright spacious stereo image. In fact, the imaging of the Micro SE and the slightly larger A'Diva SE reminds me of the wide-open, boxless sound I get with large, flat-panel speakers. Since these Gallos have just one full-range driver, they don't need a crossover network to direct high frequencies to the tweeter and bass to the woofer, and … Read more
Years before smartphones were a thing, Nokia was one of the first manufacturers to add IR blasters to its dumbphones. The use case was pretty limited, though, as the cool factor typically ended after the fun of turning TVs off at Circuit City died off.
But IR is getting its second wind in a new wave of smartphones packing the technology, namely, the S4. This time around, the use case is much more tangible, posing a real threat to the traditional TV remote. Powered by WatchOn (and Peel), the S4 is more than just a substitute clicker -- it's … Read more
No one can deny the popularity of sound bar speakers, but I've always been frustrated by their sound quality. There were exceptions; the $899 Atlantic Technology PB-235 and $699 SpeakerCraft CS3 are quite good, but in the more popular $300-to-$400 range the 'bars weren't all that great. Granted, they were a big step up from TV speakers, but their sound was still a compromise, compared with what's available from the better $300-to-$400 Emotiva and Audioengine self-powered stereo speakers (they get hooked up from your TV's stereo analog jacks).
A few weeks ago I spent … Read more
Power line networking basically turns a building's existing electrical wiring -- the wires that carry electricity to different outlets in the house -- into network cables, meaning they also carry data signals for a computer network. And this means virtually all households, in the U.S at least, are "wired for" power line networking. It doesn't replace a regular network, so you'll still need a router, but it's a good way to extend … Read more
I've said it many times: the very best audio is frighteningly expensive, and so are the world's best cars, cameras, clothing, boats, and so forth. The good news is there are really pretty spectacular finds at the other end of the audio rainbow. I love it when I come across an over-performing budget-priced speaker, and lately, I've found quite a few. Here's a newly revised list of standout designs.
Since this list covers a broad range of speaker types, there's no ranking order; each one is exceptional in its own right. I have spent time … Read more
Despite the ever-increasing screen size on Samsung's Galaxy line, some types of media beg for a sit-back, big-screen experience. It could be a YouTube video, or just a little something you shot (and even edited!) on your phone. And, as more developers support this option, mirroring can even enable you to play games on your TV while your phone acts as a controller.
The S4 offers a few ways to mirror your phone's screen (not just media) onto your TV, so that whatever you see on your phone is what appears on the TV.
Depending on which accessory … Read more
PSB Speakers is one of my all-time favorite brands. Its little Alpha B1 monitor ($299 a pair) is excellent, and a couple of years ago I was blown away by the Imagine Mini ($759 a pair), an even smaller but bona fide high-end speaker.
Small speakers are great, but the lucky folks with huge living rooms who like to occasionally play movies and music nice and loud need big speakers. And since it's been a while since I spent quality time with a PSB tower I requested a pair of Image T6s ($1,298 a pair).
The 40.… Read more
Late last year when I had my first encounter with a Tekton Design speaker, the M-Lore ($650 a pair), I was so bowled over by the sound I could hardly wait to try another Tekton. The time has come today with the all-new Enzo, a 40-inch-tall tower sporting three tweeters and two 8-inch woofers.
Multiple tweeters are rare on audiophile speakers, but Tekton's Eric Alexander developed a unique patent-pending approach that changes the way multiple tweeters are used. Unfortunately, he was mum about the details of his technology, but the Enzo's sound tells me all I need to … Read more
Some audiophiles swear that cables can make or break the sound of their hi-fis, while others poo-poo the idea and use the cheapest hardware store wires. The debates have raged for years, but the only way to really know for sure is to try a set of high-end cables in your system. When I sold hi-fis for a living, I convinced a lot of reluctant customers to buy a set of cables, with the promise I'd refund their money if they didn't hear a difference. The majority of them kept the cables; even some of the most skeptical … Read more
TVs are great and all, but if you want really epic entertainment, you need a projector. One-hundred-plus inches of high-definition awesomeness.
Projectors, though, are a two-piece system. There's the projector that gets all the attention, and the lowly screen that actually lets you see an image.
There are many choices when it comes to screens. Here's what you need to know.… Read more