People unversed in technical terminology will talk about an audio system’s ‘sound quality,’ and what they mean is how good does the system sound to them and how ‘accurate’ is it. But what constitutes ‘sound quality’ exactly, in a more precise and scientific sense? Many people have spent a great deal of time and money chasing the better end of ‘sound quality,’ but without an understanding of what ‘sound quality’ is, they are stuck in a blind search for something that simply sounds good to them that they happen to chance upon.… Read the full article
Audio specifications fall into two broad categories: Those that are nice to know, from an enthusiast or intellectual standpoint and those that are genuinely helpful in assisting you to use, install or set up your equipment. Some specifications have a foot in each camp, so to speak, and serve both a practical and theoretical purpose.
Amplifier Power Output
Usually expressed in watts, this specification is probably the most often sought-out and compared number for amplifiers. Assuming the manufacturer has rated their equipment accurately and honestly, the wattage spec is useful in determining whether that particular piece of equipment is a good match for your speakers in terms of having sufficient power to drive it to SPL levels you find satisfactory in your listening room and also to decide whether your speakers and this amplifier are a proper match from a power output/power-handling perspective.… Read the full article
UDP-203 & UDP-205 Introduction
It’s getting pretty boring reviewing Oppo Blu-ray players. Make no mistake, I mean this as a compliment, of course. This is the 4th-generation universal Blu-ray and 1st-generation Ultra HD Blu-ray player platform for Oppo coming in two flavors: the UDP-203 and souped-up UDP-205.
Both players are virtually identical in audio and video capabilities in that they play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with HDCP 2.2 and BT2020 compatibility, regular and 3D Blu-ray, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD, Audio CD; High Dynamic Range (HDR10), support for Dolby Vision (recent firmware update); dual HDMI outputs – HDMI 2.0 for UHD and HDMI 1.4 for audio; and an HDMI 2.0 input port for external streaming devices or set-top boxes and last, but not least, networking capability to stream from your NAS or external HDD loaded up with music and video files.… Read the full article
The end is nigh for net neutrality as it exists today. Trump-appointed FCC chief Ajit Pai put forth a plan last week that promises to roll back Obama’s 2015 net neutrality policies. All that’s left is for the five FCC commissioners (three of whom are Republican) to vote in December. They will of course vote along party lines making the end of Obama’s version of net neutrality a virtual certainty.
The Obama net neutrality policy is usually seen in one of two ways, depending on which side of the political divide you stand:
A.… Read the full article
Subwoofer and loudspeaker manufacturer SVS has launched a new line of subs to replace their venerable 13-Ultra Series. The 4000 Series subwoofers takes the 13-Ultra platform and makes some radical changes, especially with regard to the onboard electronics. The 4000 Series subwoofers are the PB-4000 which is the ported box enclosure, the PC-4000, the ported cylinder enclosure, and the SB-4000, which is the sealed box enclosure. Advancements were made on all aspects over the 13-Ultra subwoofers. While there are enhancements to the driver and cabinets, the most significant changes occur in the electronics.… Read the full article
High-end loudspeaker manufacturer Legacy Audio has recently pushed what is considered state-of-the-art a bit further with the announcement of the Valor, their latest flagship speaker system. The Valor is an 11-driver, 4-way behemoth weighing in at 288 lbs and driven with 2,750 watts of onboard amplification. However, it is not simply a large and powerful speaker. The acoustic output is very carefully controlled, not only by the driver layout, but also the electronics that come with it, namely the Wavelet processor.… Read the full article
As is our annual tradition, we have put together our Audioholics AV electronics holiday gift guide of relatively affordable audio gear and accessories that can really enhance your enjoyment of your favorite music and/or movies. Whether you’re shopping for a new AV receiver, media streaming device, speakers, or even a smart balance board, we’ve got you covered. This year we’ve seen an increase in interest for Amazon Alexa smart device integration into AV gear, and of course Bluetooth headphones and streaming devices.… Read the full article
The economics of videogames is serious business. Budgets for high-profile games routinely outclass those of blockbuster movies, not to mention the GDP of small independent nations. But, with great budgets come great expectations for profit, which is why publishers are always looking for ways to wring even more from the games they release.
One of the latest methods for squeezing more profit from games involves complex in-game economies designed to gently nudge players into spending real-world money on “microtransactions”. The ill-will generated by the growing prominence of microtransactions in videogames reached crisis proportions last Friday with the release of Star Wars Battlefront II by EA.… Read the full article
Sound United, the conglomerate that has united several high-end audio equipment manufacturers, along with DTS, has announced that an important firmware upgrade for several Denon and Marantz A/V receivers is now available. The update will bring DTS Virtual:X capabilities to several of the company’s most popular receivers, giving them a nice boost to their surround capabilities.
DTS Virtual:X launched last summer to a variety of audio products, including sound bar systems with the promise of adding deeper “virtual” surround capabilities from any input source.… Read the full article
Subwoofer manufacturer Rythmik Audio has recently released three powerful new subwoofers that takes their vaunted Direct Servo technology to new extremes of power. Their former flagship subwoofer, the FV15HP which we found to be a very high performer in our FV15HP review, was a formidable unit that used a beefy long-throw 15” driver powered by a 600 watt amplifier in a large, ported cabinet. Rythmik’s three latest subwoofers, the F18, the FV18, and the FV25HP, go well beyond that.… Read the full article