GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 24, 2012  |  0 comments

For years, TV manufacturers have been striving to make the biggest and best TV displays. Every year in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show has been a competition to see who could show off the most ridiculously humongous TV screen.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 05, 2012  |  0 comments

While it’s easy to imagine that the federal government (in this case, the Copyright Office) is a bunch of Luddites, sticking to making laws about ancient or obsolete technologies and ignoring the new, the opposite is actually true. 

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 10, 2014  |  6 comments
A few months ago, we reported that Tidal High Fidelity music streaming was going to be launched in the US. It’s now up and running, and we had a chance to check it out. It’s the first full-resolution music streaming service available to US consumers. (Deezer is also full resolution, but only available for Sonos users.) Blah, blah, yet another music streaming service. Is it really that much better than Beats, Spotify, Slacker, or Pandora? Is it worth the $19.99 monthly fee? After some intensive listening, I say without hesitation, enthusiastically “YES” on all accounts.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 04, 2011  |  0 comments

It's a tragic end to a lengthy love story: Ford Motors and the CD player are breaking up after years of happy matrimony. Ford just announced that, moving forward, they will not be installing CD players in the new Ford Focus, with the rest of their models following suit over the next few years.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 11, 2016  |  1 comments
It’s a few days after CES and I’m finally winding down from the relentless press events, press releases, and my feet have forgiven me for the miles of hiking the floors of the Convention Center. My waistline, however, may take a while to recover from the receptions and cocktail parties that manufacturers love to host during CES.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 24, 2014  |  3 comments
Life is good. Having just moved into a house with a room for a dedicated home theater, it was time to get set up. More to the point, time for shopping. Usually, the last thing I want to do is to buy furniture, but the search for the perfect chairs for my home theater became my quest. Seeking perfection, I pored over furniture catalogs, websites and scoured any furniture in my path. A woman’s home theater is her castle, right? I already had furnished my girl-cave, I mean home office, and the A/V room, although last on the decorating list, was in my mind, the most crucial.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 31, 2013  |  0 comments

Last week, Google released Chromecast, an HDMI dongle that promises to turn your “dumb” TV into a slightly smarter one. With a price tag of just $35, the device is sold out everywhere, and its bundled 3-month Netflix subscription has been halted, due to overwhelming demand. So what’s this little device causing all this ruckus?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 20, 2012  |  0 comments

The Google Play Music Manager has been around for quite a while. Upload and store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud, so you can play them from any connected  Android device or computer, anywhere. The problem was that you had to go through and upload each and every file. However, Google has just launched a new scan and match feature in the U.S.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 28, 2017  |  2 comments
Although it was many years ago, I still cherish the time I worked with Gregg in the studio.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Voice-activated speakers are hitting the market hot and heavy with everyone vying to be the only system you’ll invest in. Amazon is hoping you’ll pick Alexa, and Cortana is hoping to get some traction in the market. Once you’re a Google family, odds are you’ll stay there. To that end, JBL just released a new line of Google Assistant voice-activated speakers, and the LINK 20 is the perfect balance of features, sound quality, and portability. Yup — that’s right — a voice-assistant that’s not only portable, it’s waterproof too so it can go anywhere.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 05, 2017  |  0 comments
These days, air travel just sucks. Seats are smaller, flights are overbooked, computer glitches cause massive delays, and whatever happened to in-flight meals? You’re lucky to get a tiny bag of pretzel crumbs. Whenever I travel, I always slip on a pair of headphones, and tune out the chaos. If there’s a baby screaming all flight long, I won’t hear it. So when AKG announced the N60NC Wireless, a new active noise-cancelling headphone with Bluetooth, I was all ears.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
I have never been a fan of soundbars. How can a little row of speakers replace the full-range sound of a true home-theater speaker system? It just can’t. However, soundbars heavy-set cousin, the soundbase, provides an interesting middle ground. I was skeptical of the Fluance AB40 Wide Angle soundbase when it first showed up, but after spending some time getting to know it, my opinion has changed—dramatically.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 24, 2014  |  0 comments
Home theater fashion comes and goes, with almost as much regularity as hemline heights and tie widths. Years ago, massive speaker arrays were in vogue, then tiny little home-theater-in-a-box cubes, and more recently, skinny little soundbars. The problem with soundbars was two-fold. First, they blocked the lower portion of some TV sets. Second, and more importantly, they tended to sound as thin as they looked—requiring a separate subwoofer to get any type of bass response. JBL has an elegant solution with the Cinema Base Soundbar with built-in subwoofer, Bluetooth, HDMI and optical inputs.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 26, 2015  |  0 comments
Ever since I left the world of car stereos, Pyle Audio has fallen off my radar. When offered an opportunity to listen to their latest soundbar, the PSBV600BT ($300), I have to admit that I was intrigued. I knew this company had a long history of making good speakers for the automotive world, but haven’t heard any of their home products. This was going to be interesting.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 08, 2017  |  0 comments
Who doesn’t love staying up late and watching a guilty-pleasure movie while the rest of the household sleeps peacefully? The problem is that you can’t turn up the volume without fear of waking them or the neighbors. The Sennheiser Flex 5000 turns any headphone into a wireless option designed to let you watch TV using your favorite wired headphones. Plus it has features that help make TV audio clearer and enhances dialogue for better intelligibility.

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