TECH2

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Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 04, 2012  |  0 comments

Brick-and-mortar audio retailing is in decline, but fortunately there’s another way to hear the best new sound gear: Attend one of the growing number of regional audio shows. Last year saw the first Los Angeles-area show in years, T.H.E. Show Newport, which took over much of the Hilton Hotel near the Orange County Airport.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 01, 2012  |  0 comments

In the last year, we’ve seen lots of super-compact audio systems that sound surprisingly good: the Jawbone Jambox, the Q2 Internet Radio, and the Soundmatters FoxLv2 are three great examples. But the NuForce Cube comes in at just a fraction of their size: The enclosure measures less than 2.5 inches on all its sides. One look at the Cube and it’s hard to imagine you’d want to listen to it for long.

But behind the Cube’s grille hides what may be the most serious attempt at a 1-inch full-range driver I’ve ever seen.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 30, 2012  |  0 comments

Denon’s been to headphones what the Rolling Stones have been to rock: Both enjoy an unassailable reputation even though they haven’t done anything significant for a long time. I’m betting the Stones stick to that plan, but as of yesterday, Denon’s back in play with a new line of 11 headphones — plus a couple of cool new AirPlay/DLNA speakers, too.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 25, 2012  |  0 comments

If I were forced to choose between the $20K worth of audio test gear I own or the demo CD that cost me probably 20 cents to make, I’d take the latter without hesitation. Test gear is great for telling me how well an audio product is engineered. But when I want to find out what an audio product does — i.e., how a listener will perceive its sound — the demo CD is a much better tool.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Falling Skies, the TNT Network sci-fi series that debuted in summer 2011, is certainly one of the creepiest shows on TV right now. It’s creepy because of its grotesque, mysterious alien protagonists. And they’re creepy in large part because of the way they sound.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 21, 2012  |  0 comments

There's a coffee cup on the remote, an icon unmistakably a cup and saucer. Maybe it's tea. It's the largest button. It's backlit. It might be taunting me.

So begins my time with the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD Projector, a plucky little PJ that makes me question the logic of every flat panel in existence.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 18, 2012  |  0 comments

Carmakers have a problem. OK, I’m sure they have a lot of problems, but as this one has to do with sound, it’s relevant to us here at S+V.

As cars have gotten quieter, and as turbocharging finds its way onto more vehicles, we’re losing the sonorous soundtrack of the engines themselves.

So the engineering wizards are using technology to combat the progression of... technology?

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 17, 2012  |  0 comments

Announced today, Dolby has added a new trick to their TrueHD encoding. It allows studios and authoring houses a way to upconvert standard 48 kHz content (the sampling rate of most movies) to 96 kHz for Blu-ray.

At an event at Dolby headquarters in San Francisco, I got a chance to hear the results. Interestingly, it was quite... interesting.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 11, 2012  |  0 comments

I am not naive enough to think that the gaming industry's primary desire is anything other than to make money. As an industry, they're really good at it, making more than the movie and music industries combined.

The past year has seen an explosion of "Free to Play" (F2P) games that are, well, free to play. Lately, storied titles like Tribes have been reborn in this model. More titles in development aim directly at this new pricing strategy.

But is it good for games, and more importantly, is it good for gamers?

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 09, 2012  |  0 comments

It is the job of every generation to complain that the younger generations are inferior, or headed for destruction, or whatever the latest cause célèbre is. Even in the lifetimes of those reading this blog, it's easy to point to the mass hysteria surrounding rock and roll, then heavy metal, then rap, then video games, as examples of one generation making mindless accusations about another.

In the audio world this is just as common, it's ongoing, and Harman has released a study that shows that the old people need to shut the hell up (I'm paraphrasing).

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 04, 2012  |  0 comments

One of the most common requests I get by email, and in comments on reviews, is to share what picture settings I've used to achieve the best image.

To put it bluntly: no. This isn't because my settings are some big secret, it's because I honestly believe sharing them is a bad idea, and I'd be doing more harm than good.

And once I list the reasons why, you may even agree with me.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  May 02, 2012  |  0 comments

The ability of a display to upconvert standard definition content (like a DVD, or many cable/satellite channels) was once a key component of its overall performance.

But now, most TVs do a reasonable job, and more important, I don’t think most people actually have any SD content.

Should we bother to continue testing it?

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Apr 27, 2012  |  0 comments

I had no intention of seeing Titanic in 3D. This wasn’t a “Hmmm, should I” type decision. At no point was the option of going to a theater and seeing this movie in faux-3D a valid option in my brain. It was up there with “run marathon,” “time travel,” and “read Twilight” on the list of things I know I will never do.

Well, last night I saw it — James Cameron’s retrofitted 3D masterpiece. And you know what, I expected to hate it. . . and didn’t. As someone who reviews 3D crap — sorry “stuff” — for a living, here’s my take.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Apr 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Burbling quietly as it rolls down the back of the flatbed truck, the Panamera appears an expansive stretch of undulating blue sheet metal. With nary a paper to sign, the delivery driver hands me the keys and says, “have fun” with a wry smirk.

Because it amuses me (and probably my neighbors), I park it next to my 1975 Porsche 914, which cost me a hair north of 1% of the sticker price of its great-great-grand sibling.

It’s going to be a good week.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Apr 23, 2012  |  0 comments

It’s hardly a new trend, hiring a high-end audio company to design — maybe build — an audio system upgrade for a car. Bose does it all the time, as do THX, B&W, Lexicon, and B&O

It’s win-win, better audio, a bit of extra profit, and brand exposure for the audio company. But when it’s a pairing of two storied companies like Porsche and Burmester, color me interested.

Conveniently, that color is “Yachting Blue.”

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