Brett Paine Murphy developed the SoundStage tabletop board game for children (or adults) to explore 3D audio in a playful way. I experienced SoundStage at the recent Dumbo Arts Festival in Brooklyn, NY, and was bowled over by the sound. It was a breathtaking display of technical virtuosity, but one that a 6-year-old child could enjoy. More specifically, SoundStage uses a double quadraphonic sound system with four speakers arranged in a square, and four more speakers closer to the floor. Within the eight-speaker sound cube there's a 2-foot square table, illuminated from below, and a large number of "… Read more
I've met a lot of audio designers in my time, and all of the best ones have one thing in common, they have great "ears." They know what good sound sounds like. The opposite camp is populated with engineers that rely exclusively on measurements to "prove" their designs are better. To my way of thinking, the second group rarely makes great sounding products. Audio is too complex to be analyzed with just numbers alone.
Nowadays I'm meeting more digital audio engineers specializing in designing room and speaker correction software. They are usually very nice … Read more
What audio product needs to be invented? I'll start with an easy one: truly wireless speakers. That would be great; all they need to do is figure out how to beam enough power to speakers to drive their internal amplifiers. I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon.
Maybe an app that converts crappy-sounding iTunes to true 24-bit/96kHz files, or Bluetooth audio that sounds decent. How about surround-sound headphones to listen to all of the great music recorded in surround? Oh right, first we'd need great-sounding music surround recordings.
How about a great-sounding subwoofer that doesn'… Read more
Lets face it: sound bars are popular mostly because they reduce home theater clutter. The other big plus is that they eliminate the need to buy an AV receiver, and the cost savings can be considerable. That's all good, but I'm still waiting to hear a sound bar an audiophile could love.
I had hopes for Klipsch's new Gallery G-42 sound bar ($699), but it doesn't have internal amplifiers, so it must be used with a receiver. That's potentially a very positive sign, because the amps built into sound bars aren't as good or as powerful as the ones in Denon, NAD, Onkyo, Pioneer, or Yamaha receivers. Like all Klipsch speakers, the G-42 sports horn-loaded tweeters (more on that later). The sound bar is part of a new Klipsch series of Gallery speakers and 5.1 channel speaker packages.
Decked out with a gorgeous glossy black finish, the G-42 has a high-end sheen, and its 6-inch-high, 42-inch-wide, and 2.4-inch-deep cabinet feels sturdy. The 12-pound speaker can be wall-mounted or set on a cabinet with the included table top stand. The rear panel houses all-metal connectors for the speaker's left, center, and right channels. … Read more
A lot of people think good sound is good sound, but music and movies have very different requirements. Starting with home theater, remember that today's films have nearly unlimited soft-to-loud dynamic range; dialogue is mixed to the center channel; surround effects may be ambient or point-sourced; and deep bass demands can be extreme. Just about every feature film released over the last 20 years has a multichannel soundtrack.
How different is music? Let me count the ways: an exceedingly small number of new music recordings are available in multichannel sound; stereo rules in the music world; most, probably 99 … Read more
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and an Apple TV, you're most likely familiar with AirPlay. It's a feature built-into iOS devices that lets you stream videos, music, YouTube videos, and photos from your devices to your home theater system without any cables.
But now developers have begun integrating AirPlay with their apps, allowing you to stream in-app content to your Apple TV or (other AirPlay-compatible product.)
There are only a couple dozen AirPlay-enabled apps, but we've picked the top 10 free and paid apps that bring entertaining and educational content to the big … Read more
AirPlay--a technology built into the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch--brings wireless media streaming from your iOS device to your home theater. Although it has limitations, it's one of the most seamless ways to get your favorite YouTube videos, music, and home videos onto the big screen.
Watch the video and follow the instructions below to get started.
What you need:
An Apple TV. At $99, this is the most inexpensive way to use AirPlay. Other options include AirPlay-enabled speakers, Apple AirPort, and some receivers.
An iOS device running iOS 4.2 or above. To check your software, go to … Read more
I cover a lot of high-end, audiophile-oriented gear in this blog, but I also love finding great-sounding affordable products. Match any of the stereo speakers on this list with any amp from my post on "Top 10 great-sounding amplifiers from $40 to $450," and you'll get amazing sound value. Unless noted otherwise, the prices listed are for pairs of speakers.
Dayton B652 ($40) The price is no typo; the Dayton Audio B652 is a midsize, black vinyl-covered monitor speaker, 11.7 inches high, 7.1 inches wide, and 6.5 inches deep. Fit and finish are decent, but the rear panel's spring-clip wire connectors won't provide a tight grip on the wires, so they may fall out when you move the speakers.
I've seen clips on $100 speakers, so I can't really complain about spring clips on $40 speakers. Bass definition is fine, but deep bass is lacking. The B652's bass is reasonably flat to 70Hz, so you may not need to add a sub. The speaker earned its reputation by delivering surprisingly accurate tonal balance, exceptional detail, and transparency. The B652 speakers are available for $40 a pair from Parts Express.… Read more
Don't let a dirty screen ruin the image quality of your LCD or plasma TV. Our cleaning tips will show you how to safely clean your TV, so you can enjoy it at its best.
To clean your LCD or plasma TV, follow these steps:
Step 1: Turn off your TV and unplug it.
Step 2: Gently wipe the screen with a dry, lint-free cloth, like a microfiber cloth. Your TV may have come with a cleaning cloth, so check the box before going out to purchase a new one. Never use abrasive cleaners or paper-based cloths, like paper … Read more
It's a powerful fantasy: the totally wireless hi-fi or home theater speaker system. If such a system were to exist, it would not only receive music signals wirelessly, but also AC power to run its internal amplifiers.
"Wireless" speakers always have an AC power cable (wire) that needs to be plugged into the wall. Normal "wired" speakers get the music over the wire, and the power that travels over the same wire from the amplifiers in your AV receiver. So if you're keeping score, you'll see that wired and the best wireless speakers … Read more