It's got to be the No. 1 audiophile fantasy: someday we'll have a breakthrough that allows speakers to perfectly reproduce sound. Once the engineers find a new way of moving air -- presumably a more accurate method than a vibrating cone, dome, or flat diaphragm -- the heavens will part and we'll suddenly hear the sound of real instruments and singers through our hi-fis. Not so fast -- that would be a great start, but once the sound leaves the speakers and interacts with your living room's acoustics, all bets are off. Put aside the perfect … Read more
Much as we parents like to think we know our babies best, subtle clues lurk in their cries that are, for the most part, imperceptible to the human ear, and they can reveal important information about a child's health.
So researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island hope their new computer-based cry analyzer will help researchers, clinicians, and caregivers identify possible neurological or developmental issues at a very young age.
"There are lots of conditions that might manifest in differences in cry acoustics," developer Stephen Sheinkopf, assistant professor of psychiatry and human … Read more
One great thing about Bluetooth speakers is you can use them to learn about how room size and acoustics affect a given speaker's sound quality. Experiment with placement and you'll quickly learn that where you put a speaker in a room can make a big difference in the sound, for better or worse. That's true for all speakers, but since BT speakers tend to be small and light, they're easier to move around.
Start by putting the speaker on the floor in the middle of the room, and you'll hear that it makes more bass … Read more
The Anthony Gallo Acoustics Micro SE speaker ($239) is a tiny steel sphere, just 4 inches in diameter -- that's the size of an orange. It's an audiophile quality performer, capable of delivering high-resolution sound and a big, downright spacious stereo image. In fact, the imaging of the Micro SE and the slightly larger A'Diva SE reminds me of the wide-open, boxless sound I get with large, flat-panel speakers. Since these Gallos have just one full-range driver, they don't need a crossover network to direct high frequencies to the tweeter and bass to the woofer, and … Read more
I get asked this question a lot: "Does anyone still make great-sounding affordable CD players?" Sure, most of the major brands do, but only NAD currently offers a large slate of players starting with the $300 C 516BEE, and it's a honey.
Before we go any further I want to first clarify why I'm reviewing a CD player in 2013. Despite the naysayers the CD isn't "dead," far from it. Music lovers are still buying hundreds of millions of CDs every year. Download sales just barely surpassed sales of physical music (CDs, LPs, … Read more
I was bowled over by Anthony Gallo Acoustics' original Reference Strada when I heard it at a hi-fi show a few years ago. The small speakers projected a sound that rivaled the scale of big, flat-panel speakers, like my Magnepans. I never got around to reviewing the Strada, but when I heard that the Reference Strada 2 was coming out I let the company know I wanted a pair ASAP.
Unboxing the speakers it was impossible not to be impressed by the solidity of the cast-aluminum chassis and brushed stainless-steel spheres. The Strada 2 is 13.5 inches tall, and … Read more
Lincoln Walsh died a year before his radically innovative speaker technology made its commercial debut in the Ohm Acoustics F in 1972. The speaker featured an omnidirectional Walsh driver that projected a massive stereo soundstage. At the time of its introduction the $900 per pair Ohm F was hailed as one of the greatest speakers of all time by the international press. It sounded like nothing else, and the single 12-inch, truncated cone driver produced bass, midrange and treble frequencies (37Hz to 17kHz). The driver had a titanium top section, aluminum midband and paper bottom, with a single voice-coil at … Read more
I'm not a big fan of really small subwoofers. Not that the little ones can't make deep bass -- the best of today's mini subs can deliver lots of low-end oomph, but the quality of the bass won't be anything to write home about. The bass is usually sloppy and poorly defined, so individual bass notes blur together. That's not such a big problem when reproducing the sound of explosions and special effects, but most small subs are less adept with music.
I had my first glimpse of the Raidho Acoustics' sound at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver in October, but the Denmark-based company's demo didn't click for me. That's not uncommon; show conditions and hotel rooms may not be the best environments to hear state-of-the-art sound.
Then just last week I heard a pair of Raidho C 3.1 speakers ($39,000) at a friend's home in New York, and the sound was a revelation. We played an unreleased and 100 percent uncompressed audiophile recording of a solo piano, and the purity and clarity were … Read more
A well-calibrated Panasonic TC-PVT50 TV will look exactly the same in almost any room with the lights turned down. Video performance is reliable and predictable, but audio is the exact opposite. Speakers will sound very different in different rooms, sometimes to a frightening degree. AV receivers' speaker calibration systems might help a little bit, but they can never eliminate the problems created by sound reflecting off a room's walls, floor and ceiling. The size and shape of the room, furniture, floor covering, mirrors, windows, and drapes all play their parts in the sound environment.
When I was a hi-fi … Read more