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All posts tagged "speakers"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are you Ready for a Wireless Audyssey?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"The new Wireless Speakers are cut from the same mold, but feature redesigned drivers and Bluetooth functionality -- not to mention a snazzy matte white with glossy black finish. $250 snags you pair of speakers, each loaded with two .75-inch tweeters, a duo of three-inch woofers and a dual four-inch passive bass radiators, and all of which are aided by Audyssey's BassXT, EQ and Dynamic EQ DSPs for pushing sound out."

While there are options such as AirPlay or Squeezebox, another option for streaming music is through Bluetooth. Many smartphones and tablets come with this capability, and allow you to pipe your favourite tunes through something more substantial than speakers that are the size of your fingernail. Though with other solutions, including things like uPnP, I imagine that the only benefit of streaming through Bluetooth would be better battery life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Speakers So Good You Need Gloves To Set Them Up

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:00 PM

"To say the Klipsch G-17 Air exceeded our usual expectations of an Airplay-enabled speaker would simply be an understatement -- it's clear that the folks at the company put a great deal of work into what was merely a concept on the CES floor nearly eight month's ago. The speaker itself is built like a (glossy) rock, and the sound that comes through is as solid as the foundation."

As you probably know, AirplayAirPlay allows you to play media from your iOS device-such as an iPod, iPhone or iPad-and stream it wirelessly to another device, such as a set of speakers, TVs and audio/video receivers (assuming the are properly configured, of course). AirPlay speakers are starting to proliferate, and the promise of wireless connections seems enticing. Klipsch is a well-known and respected speaker manufacturer. I have a set of their desktop speakers myself, and I can attest that they are excellent. So, I was certainly curious when I saw this review by Engadget on the new Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air soundbar.

In a somewhat tantalizing move, when you open the box to take out your new speaker you are first presented with a set of white gloves to assist in your work. According to Engadget this is no gimmick as the glossy fit and finish of these stellar speakers lends itself to a respectful handling that results in a delightful listening experience. Engadget walks us through the setup, configuration, and sound tests that shaped their evaluation. Be careful though - only proceed to the Read link if you plan to spend $600 today.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Sweet Sound of Quality: Win a Set of $399 Audioengine A5+ Speakers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 09:00 AM

I may be selling these sites and working full time for HTC now, but who says I can't have a little more fun giving away a great prize before I go? Last week I posted about the new Audioengine A5+ powered desktop speakers; the generous folks at Audioengine have offered up a set of these new speakers for a contest. With dual inputs (3.5mm and RCA, the latter of which is easily converted to an addition 3.5mm input with a cable) and a USB charging port, the A5+ speakers are a great companion to an endless variety of devices: desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and yes, even the humble Zune. Ringing in at $399 USD, these are high-quality speakers that I guarantee will blow you away.

How do you win this contest? Simply post a comment to this discussion thread (one entry per person) telling me what your current audio solution for speakers is and how the Audioengine A5+ speakers will be better. One winner will be randomly selected from amongst all the entries and they'll get to chose either a set of black or white A5+ speakers. Due to the size and weight of this prize, it will only be shipped within the continental USA. The contest will remain open until Friday the 28th at 12 PM mountain time (GMT -7).

Best of luck everyone, and I look forward to reading some interesting entries. :-)

UPDATE: The contest is now over, and the winner is ITforSmallBiz. Thanks to everyone for entering!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Surrounding yourself with the Samsung HW-D550 Audio Bar

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Home theatre audio
Manufacturer: Samsung
Where to Buy: Amazon [affiliate]
Price: $499USD (regular, but now on special for $310)
System Requirements: wall power for both the sound bar and the sub woofer unit; digital audio (HDMI / optical) or analog sound source.
Specifications: Dimensions: Soundbar - 1056mm(41.6in) x 80mm(3.15in) x 45mm(1.77in); Subwoofer - 178mm(7in) x 360mm(14.2in) x 295mm(11.6in). Weight: Soundbar - 2.06kg(4.5lbs); Subwoofer - 5.3kg(11.7lbs). Power (total): Soundbar - 2 x 80W; Subwoofer - 150W. Total Harmonic Distortion - 10% at reference. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz.


  • Compact unit which can be easily wall mounted under the TV screen;
  • Wireless Subwoofer can be placed anywhere without cables showing;
  • Multiple audio inputs available (and selectable with the remote) to allow this to become the audio 'hub' of the home theatre.


  • Only two HDMI inputs;
  • Midrange is emphasized a little too much (for me);
  • 'Surround' sound is more reverb/delay than actual repositioning via sound processing.

Summary: For a guy who is used to a separate amp, speakers and tons of interconnecting wires, working with an 'all-in-one' sound unit like the Samsung HW-D550 was quite the treat in some respects. But how does it compare where it counts? How does it sound compared to the separate components? All-in-all, it wasn't spectacular, but not too bad. Let's take a closer look and listen.... Read more...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tom's Hardware Reviews Premium Two Channel Speakers

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"It's time to focus on basic PC audio with a two-channel speaker roundup. We look at the Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022, Bowers & Wilkins MM-1, Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II, and M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 to see what these systems can offer. Human beings come factory-equipped with five senses. Taste and smell are effectively ignored when it comes to PC technology (Ed.: unless you really screwed up an overclock, in which case your sense of smell might be assailed), and touch typically plays a limited role in interfacing with peripherals like keyboards and mice."

Jason recently linked to a comprehensive speaker review by Tom's Hardware for 2.1 speakers, and mentioned that he doesn't have subwoofers in his setup. Tom's Hardsware have now release another speaker review, but this time for those who don't need or want a subwoofer and just require good quality sound from the speakers on the desk. While I currently do have 2.1 speakers and a subwoofer on the floor, I am looking to replace this with ones without one as I look to relocate the PC and desk to a different area in the house, so this article has arrived at exactly the right time for me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Comprehensive 2.1 Speaker Round-Up Review

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:47 AM,2835.html

"Is it just us, or are 5.1- and 7.1-channel speaker systems impractical for PCs? In our 2.1 speaker roundup, we look at the Corsair SP2500 and Antec/Soundscience Rockus 3D|2.1, along with the Creative Gigaworks 3D, Klipsch Promedia 2.1, and Logitech Z623. If you're a PC user who hasn't experienced what a subwoofer can do, you owe it to yourself to try one out. Strong bass brings incredible power to game sounds, and extends the range of music much lower than a two-speaker setup can achieve. If you want to feel those explosions and rhythms, a subwoofer isn't an option. It's a necessity."

Keen on picking up a set of 2.1 speakers? Then check out this review - it's quite comprehensive given that speaker quality, and sound quality in general, can be highly subjective. I would suggest though that sometimes a sub-woofer is overrated; I used to think that I'd never use a set of speakers without a sub-woofer, but once I heard the AudioEngine A5 and A2 speakers, I knew that was no longer the case. I now have three sets of A2 speakers in my office, all without sub-woofers. If speakers are designed by talented people, you'd be shocked how good music can sound, even without a sub-woofer.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bluetooth Speaker Review: Jawbone Jambox vs. Soundmatters foxL v2

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Articles & Resources" @ 07:00 PM

"Two portable speakers clamber into the ring, each boasting big, beautiful sound for their diminutive size. Both cost $200. Both have the same technology inside. The Jawbone Jambox and the Soundmatters foxL v2 with Bluetooth each want to be your wireless audio wunderkind, blasting music and taking Bluetooth calls. At best, you're only going to buy one. Which speaker should you choose? Following our Jambox review, we got our hands on a foxL and put the two head to head, and after the break you'll see which one came out on top -- both literally and figuratively."

What's that? You have the powerful desire to be able to break-dance no matter where you are, putting on a show for passers-by? Then, boy, you'll want to read this review to pick the best wee speaker to allow said possibility!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creative ZiiSound D5 Reviewed

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"We auditioned the ZiiSound D5 by playing tracks encoded in Apple Lossless from an iPod docked directly to the ZiiSound D5, and then streamed the same tracks via Creative’s Bluetooth dongle. Remarkably, we were unable to detect any compression artifacts or other unpleasantness in the stream; in fact, the audio sounded great. Wireless iPod speaker docks are so much more convenient than the alternative. Who wouldn’t rather pick up their iPod to change tracks, adjust the volume, or navigate playlists instead of walking over the speaker and manipulating the iPod’s controls while it’s docked."

If the convenience of a set of speakers that lets you keep you music library and full control in your pocket sounds appealing to you, check out the full review. These will run you just shy of $300.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Altec Lansing expressionist BASS Speakers: Don't Buy These

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

OK gang, here's a quick and dirty review. The Altec Lansing expressionist BASS ($129.95 direct from Altec Lansing) speakers are a two-speaker system from long-time speaker manufacturer Altec Lansing. I've always had a soft spot for Altec speakers, because my first set of "real" computer speakers way back in the early '90s were a pair of these cool clamshell speakers that totally thumped (sweet, I did keep a picture of them!) and cost $350 or so - back then, a crazy amount of money for computer speakers. Oh wait, that's still kind of a crazy amount to spend on computer speakers!

Fast forward to now: Best Buy Canada had these Altec Lansing expressionist BASS speakers on for $50, discounted from their regular price of $150. The steep discount perked my interest, so I pulled the trigger and ordered a set - my wife has a set of Logitech 4.1 speakers connected to her computer, and since she only listens to music on them, the rear channels were essentially a waste of space. I thought if I could get a nice set of two satellite speakers, I could save some space on her desk (and below it - the sub-woofer is kinda' big). The expressionist BASS speakers have dual 3.5mm inputs, allowing you to connect a PC and also an MP3 player or secondary audio source. They're connected by a non-removable cable that's long enough to work in most instances, and have an unusual, but uniquely pleasing design aesthetic. Read more...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 Speakers Reviewed

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

"The MM-1 sounds so magnificent that we don’t even mind that it’s a USB speaker system that bypasses the PC’s audio circuitry; in fact, that’s a major plus—unless you’ve invested in a high-end soundcard like the kick-ass Asus Xonar Essence STX we reviewed in June 2009. Our only other mild criticism is that B&W decided to use a proprietary cable hardwired to the right speaker (which contains the amplifier and DAC) to connect the left speaker, and the cable is just long enough to position the speakers on either side of a 30-inch display."

At $500, I'm not quite sure where the market is for these. Most HTPC's are going to want more power and probably are using a dedicated amp and full surround package. Those wanting a desktop with the best are still probably going to want to go with a dedicated and separate sound card and speakers. If I'm missing something here, please share in the comments.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Audioengine AP4 Passive Bookshelf Speakers

Posted by Ron Hostetter in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Passive Bookshelf Speakers
Manufacturer: Audioengine
Where to Buy: [Affiliate]
Price: $249.00 (black or white), $325.00 USD (bamboo)
Type: 2-way passive, front ported speakers.
Specifications: See Audioengine's web site for full specifications.


  • Great sound from small desktop speakers;
  • High quality construction;
  • Threaded mounting inserts on the back and bottom for versatile mounting options.


  • Passive speakers - make sure you have an amplifier;
  • Lack of front grill may not fit for all decors;

Summary: Audioengine brings its legendary active speaker sound to a less expensive passive speaker. The AP4's provide great sound for your existing stereo or home theater system. Read more...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Anyone Know of a Good/Inexpensive Mini-Amp?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:00 AM

Right now I've got a fairly low end set of speakers hooked up to my desktop. I was thinking about an upgrade, but then started thinking that I have a perfectly good set of bookshelf speakers that I'm not using. Seems like a good solution, but I don't happened to have an extra amplifier lying around and a full amp would be somewhat overkill. So anyone know of a mini amp that has just enough power for a set of bookshelf speakers?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rocking with the TSAT-2000s from The Speaker Company

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Home Theater Speakers
Manufacturer: The Speaker Company
Where to Buy: The Speaker Company
Price: $449.97
System Requirements: Any 5 channel amplifier
Specifications: Drivers - 1x 1" Shielded HiCell dome tweeter and 2x 3.5" Shielded Aluminum cone midranges/woofer. Frequency Response - 120 Hz to 20 kHz. Sensitivity - 87 dB. Nominal Impedance - 8 ohms. Recommended Power - 15-125 watts continuous. Dimensions - 12.5" H x 5.31" W x 3.25" D. Weight - 4 lbs. 2 oz. each.


  • Excellent aesthetics;
  • High build quality;
  • Low price.


  • Sub-woofer required, but not included in package;
  • Won't impress the brand conscious.

As a newcomer, but with a respectable heritage, the TSAT-2000s offer a great value. If you are looking for a quality set of classy, unobtrusive speakers to go with your flat panel TV, this is probably one of the best bargains going. Read more...

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Digital Wall Audio Conundrum: Powered or Non-Powered Speakers?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 AM

My digital wall project continues, inch by inch, but I've run into a bit of a snag: I'm having a hard time deciding on which type of audio implementation would be the best fit. As a refresher, here's how the wall looks today (the electrician hasn't come yet):

The question is, what's the best audio solution? The LG plasma TV I picked looks gorgeous hanging on a wall, so I didn't entertain the notion of putting one of those surround-sound bars on the bottom for more than a nanosecond - that would just look hideous. I briefly pondered trying to get a 5.1 system set up, but that didn't last long: having to hack into my ceiling for the rear channels would be messy, and since this isn't the primary movie-watching location in my house, it's overkill. There's also the question of where to put the centre channel. So I settled on a 2.1 system, which will be much easier to wire. Ah, wires! I want no wires to be visible when looking at this wall, so I have to be smart about how I position the speakers.

I also have to take into account two audio sources: the Dell Studio Hybrid Desktop that I ordered a few days ago, which will play DVDs and videos off the network, and the Roku networked media player, which will be the primary source for music. Why not do everything through one player? The Roku is incredibly reliable, simple, and very fast to get going. The thought of powering up a computer, and turning on a plasma TV just to play some music strikes me as incredibly inefficient. So two audio sources it is. Read more...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Orb Audio: Do These Small Speakers Measure Up?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Home Theatre Speaker System
Manufacturer: Orb Audio
Where to Buy: Orb Audio
Price: starts at $549 USD for two-channel system with sub-woofer (the Mod2 configuration reviewed here, without stands, is $1289 USD)
System Requirements: An amp to power the speakers, and hopefully a nice big TV to go with them.
Specifications: See the Orb Audio specifications page.

  • The great-looking satellite speakers sound incredible, with crisp, punchy audio;
  • Both the 8" and 10" sub-woofers are extremely powerful, yet deliver smooth, distortion-free bass;
  • Reasonable price for the quality of the speakers when compared to retail prices;
  • Many options for custom order configuration and speaker finish.
  • Mail-order means you probably can't hear them before you buy them;
  • If you need them for your setup, the beautiful hand-crafted HOSS speaker stands put a big bite into your budget at $299 per pair.

You've probably never heard of Orb Audio before, or their speakers, but if you're looking for small, powerful home-theatre speakers that are surprisingly affordable for the quality you get, this is one company you should pay attention to. Read more...

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