Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 04, 2018  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,500/pair

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rich, powerful sound
Robust build quality
Easy to set up
Minus
Glitchy volume control
No Wi-Fi streaming or multiroom capability
No visual feedback
No app or remote control
Expensive

THE VERDICT
The Shinola Bookshelf Speaker delivers powerful sound from a relatively compact speaker of impeccable build quality but lacks key features that would make it much easier to use.

Exquisite—that was the first thought that popped into my head when I cued up one of my go-to test tracks: a 24/96 download of Holly Cole singing “Larger Than Life” from 2007’s Holly Cole. Her rich, sultry voice was in the room, accompanied by the gentle underpinnings of an accomplished quartet. Everything sounded just right: the sparkling piano, sumptuous bass, understated brushwork, and tasteful sax fills. With the lights down and my eyes closed, it was easy to imagine sitting close to the stage in a small jazz club.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 26, 2018  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $330

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent sound quality
Compact and well-built
Easy to set up and use
Great value
Minus
No Wi-Fi streaming
No visual feedback
No grille cover

THE VERDICT
Kanto’s SYD is a simple, high-performance Bluetooth speaker that will wow you with rich, powerful sound that belies its size.

I could tell SYD was a serious speaker the moment I heard Joni Mitchell singing “A Case of You” from 1971’s Blue. Her angelic voice was mesmerizing in a way I didn’t expect from a speaker this size, not to mention a 47-year-old recording — and I was streaming from my phone.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jun 21, 2018  |  10 comments
15 Minutes with David Solomon

Move over Tidal. Qobuz (pronounced “ko-buzz”) is coming to the States this fall, armed with a 2-million-track arsenal of hi-res music and a web portal that makes Tidal’s slick homepage seem confined. We checked in with AV industry veteran David Solomon, newly appointed Chief High-Res Evangelist for Qobuz, to learn more about the music service and its unusual name.

Bob Ankosko  |  May 31, 2018  |  Published: May 30, 2018  |  1 comments
15 Minutes with Futurist Dave Evans

You can’t see the Internet of Things but, trust me, it’s there — and growing rapidly as every imaginable kind of “thing” becomes (or at least tries to become) net savvy. But what exactly does IoT mean? And if we move beyond the quaint Jetson-esque vision of the future, what are IoT’s real-world implications? To get a handle on where our increasingly interconnected world is heading, we tracked down Dave Evans, former chief futurist for Cisco and co-founder of the Silicon Valley IoT startup, Stringify. Strap on your seat belt and prepare for an exciting ride into the future.

S&V: Let’s start with the basics. We’ve been hearing a lot about IoT — the Internet of Things — over the past couple of years. It so all-encompassing. How do you define it?

Bob Ankosko  |  May 02, 2018  |  0 comments
James Loudspeaker sells just about any kind of speaker you could want—or imagine. You can choose among its dozens of high-performance models and buy “off the shelf” or have a particular model customized with a special finish or feature. Or, you can get creative and dream up your own speaker design. The California-based company prides itself on its ability to meet the unique needs of its customers, whether that means solving an installation problem or creating something special…and personal. James built more than 300 custom products in 2017 alone, but the Steampunk Speaker is perhaps its most interesting—and unusual—project.
Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 11, 2018  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with Graham Alexander, President, Victor Corporation of America

Graham Alexander is a talented musician but he’s also an entrepreneur, historian, and music-label exec who has undertaken the enormous (and laudable) task of resurrecting Victor Records, the iconic brand that dates back to the earliest days of recorded music. We’re talking the label that recorded the likes of Sergei Rachaninoff and forged an exclusive recording deal with the legendary opera singer Enrico Caruso. More than that, Alexander has created a delightful live-performance space called The Vault in the small town of Berlin, NJ, about 20 miles from Center City Philadelphia and even closer to the site of the original Victor Talking Machine Co. in Camden. The venue is unique in that it’s home to the official Victor Records archive as well as an assortment of historical artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the earliest days of recorded music. We sat down with Alexander to learn more about his multi-faceted operation.

Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 26, 2018  |  0 comments
Sound Leisure made headlines in 2016 when it introduced the ’50s-inspired Vinyl Rocket Jukebox, its first 45-rpm-record-playing jukebox in 20 years and, at the time, the only new vinyl-playing jukebox in the world. Last year, the U.K.-based company—one of two remaining jukebox manufacturers, the other being jukebox pioneer Rock-Ola—partnered with Apple Corps to build an “analog dream machine” that would memorialize the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ 1967 masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 20, 2018  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with UHD Alliance President Mike Fidler

The Ultra HD Alliance is on a mission to spread the good word of Ultra HD, which as any self-respecting home theater enthusiast will tell you is more than just a resolution story. Yes, having four times as many pixels as standard HD is a definite boon to image quality, but high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut, and other recent advances in TV picture quality are even more compelling, nudging us ever closer to images that mirror the real world. Last summer the Alliance recruited industry veteran Mike Fidler as its first full-time president. We recently caught up with Fidler, who has served in key executive roles at Sony and Pioneer, to get an update on the Alliance and its efforts to promote the benefits of what it calls a “premium audio/video experience.”

Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 17, 2018  |  Published: Feb 16, 2018  |  1 comments
You’ve no doubt heard of smart speakers—and you may even own one—but have you heard of smart headphones? It’s not quite a thing just yet, but Sennheiser—the family-owned German company that has been making microphones since 1946 and invented the first on-ear, open-air headphones (the iconic HD414) in 1968—has developed an intriguing product that draws on its expertise in both areas. The Ambeo Smart Headset does something no other headphones we know of can do: It captures 3D audio for videos you shoot on your phone.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 06, 2018  |  0 comments
They call it “the most beautiful TV you’ve never seen,” which is a perfect way to describe The Frame, a high-style 4K display from Samsung that morphs into wall art when it’s not in use. While the idea of concealing a TV behind artwork is nothing new—there are companies that specialize in motorized TV concealment systems—Samsung’s fully integrated execution is the most elegant approach we’ve seen.

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