The best I can say about most cheap subwoofers is they make bass. The bass won't be the deepest, most powerful, or the clearest, or blend all that well with most speakers, but all subs make bass. Better subs, like the $449 Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2, generate deeper, less distorted sound, so you can actually hear distinct bass notes, and can play louder and fill larger rooms better than most cheap subs.
I've long admired Aperion Audio's Intimus speakers, but for one reason or another, I never auditioned the company's higher-end Verus speakers. The line starts with the $350-per-pair Verus Forte satellite speakers, but I went for the bigger Verus Grand bookshelf speakers that run $598 a pair. The speaker has a 1-inch dome tweeter and 5-inch woven Kevlar woofer. It measures 13 by 7.5 by 9 inches, weighs 14 pounds, and the curved sided cabinet feels like it's well put together.
Aperion Intimus speakers' satin real cherry wood or high-gloss black finishes are superb, but the … Read more
Despite the move to tiny portable music systems, some of us still long for the good old days of extremely noticeable boomboxes. You can indulge your nostalgia by dressing your iPhone up to look like one, or you could strap some wearable speakers to your feet.
The Sneaker Speaker from New York design group Ray Kingston Inc. wraps a set of speakers over the top of the shoe. Information about both the product and the designer is pretty sketchy so far.… Read more
This is an update of a deal I wrote about nearly a year ago.
I'm a big fan of Bluetooth speakers. Plunk one down just about anywhere and you can wirelessly stream tunes from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. I have one of those Jawbone Jamboxes, and it's proven a great little accessory.
But pricey: they sell for around $120 and up. Here's a much more affordable alternative: for a limited time, and while supplies last, Meritline has the refurbished Logitech 980-000589 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker for $49.99 shipped. Though a discontinued product, it sells elsewhere for … Read more
I recently wrote about a Hsu Research subwoofer, "Shaken & stirred: The Hsu VTF-1 MK2," but today I'll cover a complete Hsu 5.1 channel sub/satellite system. There are four HB-1 MK2 sats, one HC-1 MK2 center channel speaker, and the VTF-1 MK2 sub. The six pieces sell for $1,159, and the sound is truly astonishing for the money. A Denon AVR-1912 receiver and an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player completed the test system.
The Hsu system has extraordinary power and dynamic oomph. It also sounds sweet at late-night listening levels, but it can rock with … Read more
I don't know how I missed Kudos Audio before, but the company has been in business for more than 20 years. When I heard Kudos' little X2 speaker at Sound by Singer in NYC I knew it was a serious high-end contender, but one that can easily fit in the most cramped apartments. Andrew Singer knows his market, and even fairly wealthy New Yorkers live in small spaces. The X2 is a mere 31 inches high, unusually petite for a tower speaker.
Though the speakers are made in England, the X2's 6-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter are manufactured … Read more
This is a follow-up to last week's "Before you buy a sound bar speaker, read this" post, but this time I'm setting my sights on expensive, $400-plus iPod and Bluetooth speaker "docks." They have built-in limitations common to all single-speaker systems. They might have two sets of speaker drivers housed in a single cabinet, but when the drivers are just a few inches apart, "stereo" sounds more or less like mono. In the quest to make these speakers as sleek and lightweight as possible, bass and dynamic range capabilities are limited, compared … Read more
Sitting atop CNET's list of Best Bluetooth Speakers, you'll find the Audyssey Wireless Speakers. These Bluetooth-enabled version of the earlier (wired) Media Speakers sound great and -- unlike most of the mini-soundbar portable models -- the Audysseys offer true stereo separation. The only problem, then, is the price: at $249 to $299, they're on the expensive side.
Thanks to Black Friday madness, though, that price is heading down to $199. And there are two ways to cash in:
Exclusive deal for the first 2,012 CNET readers -- $199 at Audyssey.com: Normally, buying the Wireless Speakers … Read more
Readers have from time to time requested a list of the "test" tracks I use to evaluate gear. It's a long list, mostly recordings I've used for many years and heard on hundreds of products, and recordings I made myself or from sessions I attended. They work for me, but wouldn't necessarily help you. More than any specific tracks, I recommend starting with music you know best, favorite tunes you've listened to for years, and then listen to how the speaker, headphones, etc., you're considering changes, improves, or degrades the sound of your … Read more
It's that time of year again when things are about to get real busy in the kitchen. The holidays usher in an endless stream of grocery bags being hauled into the kitchen, most filled with recognizable favorites of food-to-be. Tradition may dictate turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy to be on the table come dinnertime, but that doesn't mean a soon-to-be classic can't get thrown in the mix.
Watching a cooking video and following along with the steps is a natural use for tablets and mobile devices. The Williams-Sonoma Smart Tools Bluetooth Speaker ($149.95) offers an easy … Read more