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
I get asked this question a lot: "Does anyone still make great-sounding affordable CD players?" Sure, most of the major brands do, but only NAD currently offers a large slate of players starting with the $300 C 516BEE, and it's a honey.
Before we go any further I want to first clarify why I'm reviewing a CD player in 2013. Despite the naysayers the CD isn't "dead," far from it. Music lovers are still buying hundreds of millions of CDs every year. Download sales just barely surpassed sales of physical music (CDs, LPs, … Read more
I was bowled over by Anthony Gallo Acoustics' original Reference Strada when I heard it at a hi-fi show a few years ago. The small speakers projected a sound that rivaled the scale of big, flat-panel speakers, like my Magnepans. I never got around to reviewing the Strada, but when I heard that the Reference Strada 2 was coming out I let the company know I wanted a pair ASAP.
Unboxing the speakers it was impossible not to be impressed by the solidity of the cast-aluminum chassis and brushed stainless-steel spheres. The Strada 2 is 13.5 inches tall, and … Read more
Lincoln Walsh died a year before his radically innovative speaker technology made its commercial debut in the Ohm Acoustics F in 1972. The speaker featured an omnidirectional Walsh driver that projected a massive stereo soundstage. At the time of its introduction the $900 per pair Ohm F was hailed as one of the greatest speakers of all time by the international press. It sounded like nothing else, and the single 12-inch, truncated cone driver produced bass, midrange and treble frequencies (37Hz to 17kHz). The driver had a titanium top section, aluminum midband and paper bottom, with a single voice-coil at … Read more
I'm not a big fan of really small subwoofers. Not that the little ones can't make deep bass -- the best of today's mini subs can deliver lots of low-end oomph, but the quality of the bass won't be anything to write home about. The bass is usually sloppy and poorly defined, so individual bass notes blur together. That's not such a big problem when reproducing the sound of explosions and special effects, but most small subs are less adept with music.
I had my first glimpse of the Raidho Acoustics' sound at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver in October, but the Denmark-based company's demo didn't click for me. That's not uncommon; show conditions and hotel rooms may not be the best environments to hear state-of-the-art sound.
Then just last week I heard a pair of Raidho C 3.1 speakers ($39,000) at a friend's home in New York, and the sound was a revelation. We played an unreleased and 100 percent uncompressed audiophile recording of a solo piano, and the purity and clarity were … 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
Besides bad service, too much noise is the biggest complaint people have about eating out, according to reviews site Zagat. And I agree. While a hip, happening place is fun for a single cocktail, it can be maddening, not to mention headache-inducing, when it comes to sustaining a dinner conversation.
Restaurateur John Paluska concurs: "Not being able to carry on a conversation in a restaurant that I was enjoying was really frustrating," he said, adding that it would be a conflicting experience. Even though he liked the place, he wasn't sure he'd want to go back "because I felt exhausted and had a really hard time carrying on a conversation when I was there," he said.
When Paluska decided to open his own restaurant in downtown Berkeley, Calif., designing a chitchat-friendly acoustic environment was one of the top priorities. "More and more restaurants are getting built in spaces that have a lot of hard, reflective surfaces, and there's not a lot of thought put into the sonic environment of the space," he says. … Read more
Citing a lack of innovation in fire-extinguishing methods over the last 50 years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last week revealed an ear-buzzing new method for putting out fires: blast it with fine-tuned frequencies.
Officially referred to as "acoustic suppression of flame," this simple yet potentially revolutionary method simply relies on two speakers playing a specific low frequency toward the fire.
The resulting acoustics increase air velocity, making it easier to alter the origin of the fire's combustion, also known as the flame boundary layer. … Read more
I haven't covered too many inexpensive earphones in this blog, mostly because I prioritize sound quality, and precious few under-$50 models cut it. The RHA MA450 really stands out in this crowded market, not just because it actually sounds pretty decent; the look and feel are outstanding and RHA sells the MA450 with a three-year warranty. Reid and Heath Acoustics products are designed at its research and development center in Glasgow, Scotland.
Build quality and features are exceptional for a $50 pair of in-ear headphones; the MA450 has machined aluminum earpieces, 10mm drivers, seven pairs of silicone eartips, … Read more