One of the most important factors in selecting the right hi-fi components is room size. If you're lucky enough to have a big living space (over 500 square feet), I'd recommend floor-standing speakers. Big rooms also soak up amplifier power; smaller rooms need a lot less. Here in NYC, most folks live in small apartments, and they'll get terrific sound with midsize bookshelf speakers and small amps.
Xbox One owners can look forward to more software updates and a dedicated headset coming on the market in March.
Described in a Microsoft blog on Tuesday, an update gearing up for early March touts improvements to the console's multiplayer and party features. Xbox corporate Vice President Marc Whitten said that Microsoft listened to user feedback in fashioning the latest enhancements.
A list of your Xbox friends will appear on the home page of the Friends app for easier access. You then can see who's online and pick the people you want to contact. Party chat will be … Read more
Five years ago I wrote about a homeless man in California who wanted to start a speaker company. That man, Kevin Nelson, dared to be different: his speakers could produce stereo sound from a single box. He was way ahead of his time -- nowadays millions of Bluetooth speakers claim the same thing. But Nelson's speakers do a more convincing job of creating stereo. Nelson started working on the stereo from one speaker idea in 1989 and spent years perfecting the concept. He cooked up the name Zealth Audio early on and stuck with it.
Some time after I … Read more
At less than 24 inches tall, the Klipsch Heresy III is the shortest floor-standing speaker I've ever tested. Don't let its diminutive stature fool you. This speaker can outrun many a tower speaker -- and outlast them. In an age of disposable tech, any speaker that sticks around for five years or more is noteworthy, but Klipsch's Heresy has been in continuous production since 1957. And the Heresy III outshines most contemporary high-end speakers in a few key performance areas.
Dynamic impact and bass "slam," courtesy of the Heresy III's 12-inch woofer, are extraordinary. … Read more
I was smitten with the Coffman Labs G1-A stereo preamplifier, even before I heard it make a sound. I'd seen pictures of the preamp online and it looked fine, but once I saw it in person I knew it was one of the most beautiful audio components on the market. The feel of the control knobs and the metalwork's fit and finish are state of the art. Granted, the G1-A is priced accordingly, but just as with high-end cars, watches or cameras, with purist audio design build quality is just as important as performance.
Still, I wouldn't … Read more
I've always had a lot of audiophile friends, based in part on our shared common fascination with the sound of music. Sound appreciation and owning a great hi-fi definitely aren't essential to enjoy tunes, but the connection to music can feel stronger when you focus on the sound, the sound the musicians worked on for weeks or months to get just right.
Beau R. is a kindred spirit; we met a few months ago and I was impressed with his relaxed attitude. Over the years he'd assembled a hi-fi that made music sound the way he wanted … Read more
Very few nonaudiophiles have hi-fis anymore, but if you would like to listen to music at home over something better than iffy computer speakers without breaking open your piggy bank, Sony's nifty little CMT-MX500i might be worth checking out.
The three-piece system comes with a pair of two-way bookshelf speakers mated to an attractively styled combo CD player/iPod dock/FM tuner/stereo amplifier. The speakers measure a tidy 5.5x9.4x7.9 inches, and the amp is 12x11x5 inches. The wood cabinet's speaker wire is permanently attached, and uses a proprietary plug that goes into the amp. … Read more
CNN recently reported on the "death" of the home stereo system, and while that's an exaggeration, few people -- young or old -- have "stereos" anymore. CNN was asleep at the wheel on this one; precious few folks have had stereos for decades. Music is now almost always consumed in cars, and over phones and plastic computer or Bluetooth speakers. If there's an imminent "death" on the horizon, it will surely strike MP3 players and iPods. Phones have already taken over as the portable music players of choice. Do you know anyone … Read more
If you watch a lot of movies and can deal with the hassles of setting up five or more speakers, plus a subwoofer, go ahead and buy an AV receiver. We've reviewed a bunch of the latest models here on CNET, just pick the one that best suits your needs.
Then again, if you listen to more music than watch movies, a stereo receiver might be a better option. Think about it: the more speakers you buy with a fixed amount of dollars, the less good they're likely to be; the same dollar amount lavished on just two … Read more
I visited Stereo Buyers' Brooklyn headquarters to get a first-hand look at their gear. Located in Red Hook, the facility was flooded by Hurricane Sandy last summer, and most of the inventory was literally underwater. Stereo Buyers' Adam Wexler did his best to prepare before the storm hit, but his best line in recalling the disaster was, "I bet you didn't know that Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy 5 speakers (that weigh over 100 pounds) can float, but they can. It was crazy and depressing; the financial losses were a bummer." He didn't have flood insurance, but … Read more