Subwoofers aren't easy. Sure, adding a decent subwoofer to a system to supply more bass is no big deal, but getting the best possible sound out of a subwoofer is. I've written a few How To Set Up A Subwoofer articles and blogs in my time, but Brent Butterworth's recent "Subwoofers: 4, 2, or 1?" feature in Sound and Vision magazine tackled one of the more difficult aspects of home theater setup: do multiple subwoofers offer any performance advantages over a single sub? Butterworth's premise was simply this: Should I spend my $1,200 … Read more
High-end audio shows are a great way to see and hear the very best gear. I'm getting good feedback about the goings-on at T.H.E. Show: Newport being held this weekend at the Hilton Hotel at the Orange County Airport in California.
There are oodles of outrageously priced, groovy turntables; gorgeous amplifiers; and statuesque speakers on display; and lots of great music to buy. More than 100 high-end audio companies will be demonstrating their best products in rooms throughout the hotel.
T.H.E. Show: Newport is also presenting a series of seminars on computer audio; tips on … Read more
Sound & Vision magazine's Michael Trei recently tested three turntables: the Rega Research P1 ($395), Music Hall mmf 2.2 ($449), and Technics SL-1200MK2 ($699). And guess what: the most expensive turntable wasn't the best-sounding one!
Mike's an old friend and a major turntable guru in his own right. His knowledge of all things analog runs deep, and he regularly sets up finicky high-end turntables for the rich and famous, including the president of a major record company, here in NYC. Mike set up the VPI Classic turntable I bought last year.
The three turntables covered in his report, the Rega, Music Hall, and Technics are all excellent, but I was more interested in the belt vs. direct-drive aspect of the reviews. The Technics is a long standing DJ favorite, for its powerful, direct-drive motor, which is a big plus when you're back cueing and scratching records. Direct-drive 'tables never wowed the high-end crowd, they favor belt-drive turntables. The appeal is mostly based on the fact that the belt "decouples" the motor from the platter. So whatever noise and vibration the motor makes as it spins aren't directly transmitted to the platter, and therefore to the record. No wonder the vast majority of turntables sold to audiophiles are belt-drive designs.
Mike may be a hard-core audiophile, but he's not closed-minded about direct-drive turntables, and in fact owns a Technics direct-drive turntable (and many belt-drives as well).… Read more
Focal Audio, aka JM Lab, may not be a well-known name in the U.S., but it is France's largest speaker manufacturer. I had Focal Mini Utopia speakers in my reference two-channel system for years and the Focal Grande Utopia EM ($180,000 per pair) is the best sounding speaker I've ever heard.
Maybe that's why the Focal Dome 5.1 satellite/subwoofer system ($2,595 MSRP) review by Michael Trei in Sound & Vision magazine piqued my interest.
The Dome replaces the Sib and Cub 5.1 system I favorably reviewed a few years ago. Unlike the Asian-built Sib and Cub, the Domes are manufactured at Focal's factory in Saint-Etienne, France.
The Dome 5.1 package is Focal smallest home speaker system yet. Trei writes: "the Dome satellite's cast-aluminum enclosure feels solid enough to withstand being run over by a small car." Each satellite speaker has a 4-inch woofer and a 1-inch aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeter, similar to the one Focal uses in its upscale Profile and Electra S models. Optional stands are available for the sats.
The matching cylindrical, rounded-top subwoofer has a single downward-firing 8-inch woofer and a built-in 100-watt amplifier.… Read more
I know, I know, you don't have room for a decent set of speakers.
I've tried to tell you guys that when it comes to speakers, size still matters. Bigger speakers have tremendous size and performance advantages over pipsqueak models.
But since my pal Brent Butterworth wrote up the new Super Mini Cube speaker for the Sound & Vision Web site I figured something was up. The Super Mini Cube is supertiny; it's less than an inch cube, with a 0.75-inch driver, and better yet, it's powered by a built-in lithium battery. There's also … Read more