• Speakers

    by Published on 12-04-2015 09:20 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Speakers,
    3. Wireless,
    4. UPnP / DLNA
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    Imagine this: You place an audio playback system in your living room and enjoy the hell out of your favorite music with your family and friends. This is something I could only imagine, but for many people this is something they remember. Back in the day people placed a stereo console in their living rooms and partook in all the fun that goes along with listening to music with others. Sadly, over the years these “beautiful” pieces of audio furniture were replaced by separate components and soon relegated to man caves. The wonderful hobby of listening to music moved from a shared experience to a companionless commitment. Even worse than a room in the basement, where there’s a chance the guys could hang out for a while and listen to a couple tracks before being summoned upstairs to join the rest of the party, is the solitary loneliness of listening to music through headphones. The shared experience of listening to music has been obliterated by keep-it-to-yourself audio and the antisocial pseudo-communal experience of sharing yourself with others online, but only from the comfort of your empty house. I am way over on the introvert side on the introvert / extrovert continuum, but I still enjoy sharing the things I love with friends and family … while the friends and family are physically in the room, not simply reachable via Internet Protocol from an iPad in an isolated nook of my living room. In addition to sharing the music I love with others, the ability to share high quality sound with others is also important. Without an easily accessible and conveniently placed high end audio system in a common living space, this sharing of good sound just isn’t going to happen. Sure, my three year old daughter comes down to my listening room now and then, but imagine if I could bring all the music and all the quality to her on a daily basis. That would be priceless. While the dream of doing this is priceless, the reality of doing this here and it’s made possible my England’s Naim Audio. Having the Naim Mu-so in my house has enabled me to bring my favorite (and my daughter’s favorite) music, in high quality, to her and has enabled me to share the fine qualities of a high end component with friends who had no idea such a product exists. I don’t know how many times I’ve told friends that a Bose iPod dock isn’t the height of living, but now I can casually let them experience the joys of high quality music and fine craftsmanship while getting together to create new shared experiences we’ll remember for a lifetime. ...
    by Published on 09-28-2015 11:32 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Speakers,
    4. Wireless,
    5. USB Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    7. UPnP / DLNA
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    When audiophiles or those in the pro music industry think of Yamaha loudspeakers, the first thing that comes to mind is, arguably the most important speaker of all time, the Yamaha NS10. A little known fact about the NS10 is that it started as a consumer HiFi product before moving to the pro market exclusively. The NS10 was involved in so many of our favorite recordings that it's nearly impossible to mention them all. It's probably easier for someone to create a list of recordings in which the NS10 was not involved in some fashion. Love them or hate them, the Yamaha NS10 has played a significant role in everyone's music listening experience for decades. Fast forward almost fifteen years after the NS10 was discontinued (2001) and Yamaha continues to manufacture a wide range of consumer and professional audio components. Over the years the company has changed and improved performance through its massive global R&D organization, but one thing remains constant, Yamaha's iconic bright white bass/mid driver cone in its loudspeakers. The Yamaha NX-N500 active loudspeakers that I've had connected to my 27" iMac 5K for the last month can't be mistaken for anything but a Yamaha product. In fact these speakers exude a sense of music history, a confidence, a je ne sais quoi all their own. These speakers aren't the highest of HiFi or the flashiest of audio jewelry, but they are distinctly Yamaha. The NX-N500 delivers exactly what Yamaha customers have come to expect over the company's 120 year history. Solid products with good sound and commensurate build quality. In addition, the NX-N500 delivers features commonly associated with niche high-end components such as XMOS asynchronous USB, PCM and DSD support up through the highest sample rates, and gapless DLNA playback at 24/192 via wired Ethernet or WiFi. This is just the beginning of all the supported features of the Yamaha NX-N500. These all-in-one active loudspeakers should easily satisfy 99.9% of music enthusiasts. ...
    by Published on 07-31-2015 04:06 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Speakers,
    4. Wireless,
    5. USB Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
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    The Dynaudio Xeo 6 system is often misrepresented as a pair of wireless loudspeakers. The reality is that the Xeo 6 is a system that takes the place of a DAC, audio cables, amplifiers, and loudspeakers. The only piece not included with the Xeo 6 is the source such as a music server or traditional computer. What's more, the Xeo 6 system includes all of these elements in a sleek design. The visual minimalist can even place a music server and the wireless transmitter in another room, so the only visible piece of the audio system is the Xeo 6 loudspeakers. In addition to flexibility, the Xeo 6 system offers true high end audio sound quality. There are so many things right with the design of this system that it’s no wonder the sound quality is so impressive. From the full digital signal path to the loudspeakers to the active design with perfectly matched amplifiers for each of the three drivers in each speaker, the system technically hits many high notes. The Xeo 6 system simply makes sense on several levels and delivers the goods when it comes to sound quality. ...
    by Published on 04-10-2015 11:01 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Disk Storage,
    3. Speakers,
    4. Wireless,
    5. Music Hub / Controller
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    Those of us who care about music and sound quality, and wish to stream music around our houses, finally have a product that fits the bill. We are no longer stuck with Sonos. The Bluesound ecosystem, consisting of storage, streamers, and speakers is a much needed upgrade over the whole house systems that became so popular over the last several years. Bluesound is a well designed system with components that work together or independently. The Bluesound Pulse is a loudspeaker with built-in streaming capability. The Bluesound Vault is a NAS with built-in CD ripping and streaming capabilities as well as outputs for both analog and digital audio. Control of the Bluesound components is accomplished from a number of devices including a very nice iOS app for iPad and iPhone. Over the course of my review I was very impressed by the entire ecosystem of components and applications. I pushed the wireless capability to its limits and found a couple fairly small quirks / bugs in the apps, but certainly no showstoppers. I highly recommend the Bluesound ecosystem for people looking to sack Sonos and move into something with superior sound quality and for those who are finally ready to jump into the streaming audio water for the first time. ...
    by Published on 10-06-2014 12:29 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Speakers,
    3. Wireless,
    4. USB Interface
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    Computer desktop audio and hifi converge in the form of several products each year. The newest submission by Eclipse is called the TD-M1 wireless speaker system. The bullet-shaped casing from each of the mounted speaker cabinets houses a single 8mm driver and is rated for 20W output from the built in amplification. Also included in the mix are an interesting selection of inputs that include Apple’s Airplay, your standard computer USB input and a USB input from a direct connection to an iDevice. The overall layout of the system screams for desktop and nearfield listening, although the setup can still be used in a pinch for a makeshift bookshelf or kitchen stereo.

    A satisfying gloss finish further complements the TD-M1’s external appearance. The review pair that was received was set in black but a white model is also available for purchase. The 8mm driver is slightly recessed into the front of the airplane engine shaped module and feels like a fairly tight little package overall. The 11-½ lbs. combined weight of the pair certainly contributes to the sturdy form factor. The adjustable tilt from the non-removable stands is a godsend for getting the sonic delivery adjusted to your liking and is fairly easy to use and setup. While the height of the speakers is locked in, this designated distance from the ground keeps the setup from becoming to intrusive against tight desk quarters. The protruding clip found hidden in the rear design allows for the tilt to be adjusted in much the same manner as a car steering wheel. The removable antennae in the back may allude to Bluetooth connectivity, but alas, the M1 is restricted to Wi-Fi usage on the wireless front.



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    by Published on 08-20-2014 10:14 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Speakers,
    3. Music Hub / Controller,
    4. UPnP / DLNA

    My first exposure to a new Linn technology named Exakt was at the 2013 CEDIA Show in Denver. I didn't have a chance to listen to the system on display because the show floor was very noisy, but I talked to Linn's Managing Director Gilad Tiefenbrun about Exakt. I walked away from the conversation enthusiastic about the capabilities of Exakt and about the possibilities for better sound reproduction in home environments. I'm a big supporter of using technology, but only when it's appropriate. Linn's use of Exakt technology to send lossless digital data via CAT5/6/7 cables into the loudspeakers and keep that data in the digital domain, through the crossover and volume control, until just before the final amplification stage within the loudspeakers is what I call great use of technology. Less than one year after that CEDIA show I have an Akurate level Linn Exakt system in my listening room. I had reservations about setting aside my large analog equipment, state of the art digital to analog converter, and TAD CR1 loudspeakers in order to put the Exact system in place. There is no going in to this system half-way as it's fully active with amplification attached to the loudspeakers, digital to analog converters attached to the loudspeakers, and RJ45 ports rather than binding posts for receiving the incoming signal. I couldn't even use an Aurender music server if I wanted to with the Exakt system. None of this is good or bad in and of itself. It's just a fact of using any Exakt system. There's no hodgepodge of components to select, interconnect, and hope for a good synergy. Exakt works within its own ecosystem, and it just works. After the initial setup and two weeks of extensive listening I am very impressed with the Linn Exakt technology. In fact, the Akurate Exakt DSM and Exakt Akubarik loudspeakers comprise the best Linn system I've ever heard. Period. ...
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