It was bound to happen. Focal, known to audiophiles all over the world for its statuesque Utopia series of high-end speakers is readying its first sound bar system. It's the 3-inch deep, "uni-body" aluminum Dimension, which can be placed in front of a display or mounted to a wall and provide a five-channel audio experience. The Dimension sound bar's speakers deliver bass down to 50 Hertz, that's exceptional bass performance for a slender, one-piece sound bar. For tabletop mounting you can add the optional, "zero vibration" low profile subwoofer base that extends the … Read more
Founded in 1980, Krell Industries' amplifiers have long set the benchmark for sound quality, and at CES 2014 the company took the wraps off its latest generation iBias, high-efficiency power amps. That's a really big deal because while Krells have always sounded great, they sucked a lot of AC power out of the wall socket. They ran hot, so hot you couldn't rest your hand on the chassis, because most of the AC juice was converted to heat, not to making the power that drives your speakers. The heat was an unfortunate byproduct of Krell's Class A … Read more
HiFiMan is premiering two new models of audiophile headphones at CES 2014. At first glance the new models resemble HiFiMan's HE-400 and HE-500 full-size planar magnetic headphones, but closer inspection reveals an entirely new headband design, and these two models are considerably lighter and more comfortable than the headphones they replace.Catch CNET's complete coverage of CES 2014
I was treated to an advance preview in NYC and auditioned the headphones at home. The sound is more open and clearer than ever before. Some experienced audiophiles may think these two new HiFiMans' sound is close to what you … Read more
If you listen to more music than watch movies at home, a top-notch integrated stereo amplifier may be a better choice than an AV receiver. I've said that for years. But a lot of the better-sounding integrated amps are feature-challenged, and some offer nothing more than an input selector for analog sources and a volume control. Some don't even have a remote control. So I was happy to spend some quality time with Rotel's sweet-sounding, fully loaded RA-1570 amplifier.
The 17x5.8x13.75-inch component weighs a hefty 28.7 pounds. That's interesting because this 2x120 watt … Read more
Rega may have started out as an audiophile turntable company in 1973, but it now offers a full line of amplifiers, CD players, digital converters, phono cartridges, and speakers.
They're all good, but to me Rega has always set the standard for affordable turntables. Most companies venturing into that market owe a lot to Rega's aesthetics and simple-is-better, functional design ethic. Take a look at the new U-Turn Orbit turntable reviewed just a few weeks ago and you'll see what I mean. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a clone, but the Rega … Read more
The classic home theater setup -- with front left, center, and right, surround speakers, and a subwoofer -- was the de facto sound standard. High-end home theater buyers still use multichannel systems, but the multichannel home theater-in-a-box system is almost dead. Up until recently, I reviewed 12 or more home theater-in-a-box systems every year for CNET, but now sound bars are the most popular solution.
Altec-Lansing introduced the very first sound bar/subwoofer system -- the Voice of the Digital Theatre -- in 1998. Even today, it still looks like a fully contemporary design, but as far as I can … Read more
The Koss Pro4AA has been around for ages, and when you listen you'll know why. Koss got the sound right the first time. And while contemporary headphones have more features and are lighter and more comfortable, they're nowhere as ruggedly built as the Pro4AA. This headphone will shrug off more than a few mishaps that would shatter to pieces a lot of 2013 designs.
So if you're rough on headphones, you might want to pick up a pair. And since they're covered by a lifetime warranty, Koss will keep repairing or replacing them forever. The warranty … Read more
I didn't know the retail price of the newly revised Alesis M1 Active520 desktop/computer speakers when I first set them up. I assumed they ran $300 to $400 a pair. They look and feel that expensive, so imagine my surprise when the company's representative sent an e-mail quoting a $199 minimum advertised price or MAP.
"That's each," I asked. She said no, "The M1 Active520 retails for $199 a pair." Well alright!
This bi-amplified speaker features a built-in 25-watt amplifier for the 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter and a 50-watt amplifier for … Read more
The Centrance Hi-Fi M8 is a rather unusual product on a number of counts, starting with the fact that it's offered in eight different connectivity configurations that were proposed by potential buyers who responded to a crowdsourced thread on the Head-Fi Web site. I admire Centrance's willingness to accept consumer opinions, but as it turns out most consumers opt for the configuration I have for review, the HiFi-M8 XL4, which features 3.5mm, 6.3mm and four-pin XLR headphone output jacks on the front panel. Some of the other versions are directed to pro users with headphones that … Read more
I remember hearing the first Davone speaker, the Rithm, at a hi-fi show in 2008. The small, 31-inch tall floor standing speaker looked and sounded like nothing else. I've heard hundreds of speakers since then, but the Rithm stands out from the pack.
The Davone models that followed -- the Ray, the Mojo, and now the Grande -- are all unique, and they're all bona fide audiophile masterpieces. The company steers clear of boring, flat-sided boxes. With Davone, it's all about the curves.