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Recent AV Gadget Reviews

NAD C 446 Digital Media Player Preview

NAD C 446 Digital Media Player Preview

The NAD C 446 looks to pick up the streaming ball dropped by some of their recent receiver offerings. With on board FM/AM tuner (with optimized performance and transcoding to optical digital output), UPnP and DLNA compatibility, Last.fm and vTuner support, the C 446 is a good start. Unfortunately, that's all it has. With manufacturers offering receivers at around the same price as the NAD C 446 ($800 MSRP) with better streaming options and a full receiver to boot, it's hard to see how consumers are supposed to get excited by this offering.

The NAD C 446 has an on board FM/AM tuner (with optimized performance and transcoding to optical digital output), UPnP and DLNA compatibility, Last.fm and vTuner support, the C 446 is a good start.

— August 17, 2011 04:50 in AV Gadget Reviews

Soundcast Systems UAT 1.2 and SubCast Wireless Speaker Solutions Preview

Soundcast Systems UAT 1.2 and SubCast Wireless Speaker Solutions Preview

Soundcast has been in the business of wireless sound for a long time. The two big advancements in the UAT 1.2 is the inclusion of Internet Radio streaming and iDevice control. With apps taking the world by storm, it made sense to Soundcast to include a remote app for their UAT 1.2. The SubCast is, as you'd might expect, a system for getting sound from your receiver to your powered subwoofer. But it can also send a full range analogue or digital signal. That means that it is perfect for integration of wireless rear speakers. Given our experience with Soundcast in the past, we expect these solutions to work well. And in the end, that's what really matters.

Soundcast has been in the business of wireless sound for a long time. The two big advancements in the UAT 1.2 is the inclusion of Internet Radio streaming and iDevice control.

— August 16, 2011 04:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

Harman Kardon Go + Play II iPod Speakers Review

Harman Kardon Go + Play II iPod Speakers Review

When we took at look at the Harman Kardon Go + Play II it was clear this product screams one thing: "take me out and play me loud". So we did. Portable music is really driven by the players these days, so it's difficult to find a system with good quality speakers that can be literally picked up and taken with you to a... party at the beach, for example. We took it outside and cranked it up. It plays really loud. We measured around 95dB SPL from 3 feet away. If you're using it inside, we'll bet you don't make it past half-volume.

When we took at look at the Harman Kardon Go + Play II it was clear this product screams one thing: "take me out and play me loud". So we did. We took it outside and cranked it up. And it plays loud.

— August 10, 2011 05:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Olympus LS-20M HD Video Audio PCM Recorder Preview

Olympus LS-20M HD Video Audio PCM Recorder Preview

Changing movies directly into unforgettable videos might often be a difficult task, however the Olympus LS-20M Linear PCM recorder helps to make it uncomplicated imaginative pizazz to virtually any production with the benefits of high-definition video. This is especailly good news for people looking to take up a new consumer-level video capture product now that the popular Flip Video has been kicked to the curb by parent company Cisco. The new LS-20M lets you capture a live recital, make home videos and publish incredible linear PCM audio tracks as well as high-definition video using the brand new Olympus LS-20M. Making use of technological innovation just like those which came out in the latest Olympus electronic digital imaging solutions, the innovative LS-20M is the 1st Olympus recorder which records as well as edits 1080p High-definition video while recording 24 bit/96 Hz Linear PCM stereo audio. Along with 4 unique Magic Movie special effects functions, the LS-20M lets consumers create home videos which appear and also sound just like professional shows from a product that’s so very small that it fits in your pants pocket.

The Olympus LS-20M Linear PCM recorder helps make it easy to add pizazz to virtually any production with the benefits of high-definition video. This seems to be the solution to Flip Video's demise.

— May 11, 2011 04:45 in AV Gadget Reviews

Harman Kardon MAS 102 Compact Stereo System First Look

Harman Kardon MAS 102 Compact Stereo System First Look

The Harman Kardon MAS 102 Compact Stereo System has a sleek design and a price tag to match. At a buck under $1k you get stereo speakers with the signature HK sound, an integrated CD player, FM receiver, dual alarms and a sleep timer. Add eight inputs including coaxial, optical, phono, 3.5mm, and USB and you're looking at a system that can do most anything. Except native iPod support. With 65 watts per channel, maybe you don't care?

The Harman Kardon MAS 102 Compact Stereo System has a sleek design and a price tag to match. At $1k you get stereo speakers with the signature HK sound, an integrated CD player, and an FM receiver.

— May 05, 2011 01:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Jawbone JAMBOX Portable Wireless Speaker Review

Jawbone JAMBOX Portable Wireless Speaker Review

On a recent visit to an Apple store, Jawbone's JAMBOX caught my eye. Could this little dynamo offer me the sound quality and convenient size I have been looking for to fill my hotel rooms with music? The Jawbone JAMBOX is priced at $199.99, which ain't cheap. The problem is, I have not seen anything priced less that can really compete with this product. Plenty of people are happy to drop more than this on a pair of Beats headphones, so think of this the same way - as a higher end, ultra-portable speaker system. The compact size, excellent build quality, and excellent sound quality and functionality make this a product worth spending a few extra bucks on. If you are a traveler who wants some decent sound while in hotel rooms, the JAMBOX is hard to beat.

On a recent visit to an Apple store, Jawbone's JAMBOX caught my eye. Could this little dynamo offer me the sound quality and convenient size I have been looking for to fill my hotel rooms with music?

— April 25, 2011 03:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

Grace Digital WiFi Micro System GDI-IRMS300 Review

Grace Digital WiFi Micro System GDI-IRMS300 Review

Whether its Pandora, Rhapsody, Internet radio, or streaming music from your local Mac or PC, Grace Digital's WiFi Micro Bookshelf system (Model GDI-IRMS300)seems to pull it off. With this 2.0 micro stereo system you get even more because the unit comes with a 2x16W Class-D amplifier and a pair of 2-way mini bookshelf speakers. This makes the system completely portable, though not in the "carry it around with you sense" and makes it the perfect addition to any small office or dormitory in need of tunes. Best yet, the company both organizes and consolidates your music in a way that is refreshing and simple.

Whether its Pandora, Rhapsody, Internet radio, or streaming music from your local Mac or PC, Grace Digital's Micro Bookshelf system seems to pull it off with a nice system that screams retro.

— April 22, 2011 02:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Dymo Rhino 5200 and 6000 Labelers Reviewed

Dymo Rhino 5200 and 6000 Labelers Reviewed

Rhino has long been the serious user's choice in label creation for quite some time now. I say this for several reasons. One, the company has an extensive line of products that are specifically targeted for the professional and "pro-sumer" markets, and two, the Rhino brand is backed by labels that will work in a variety of applications and environments. From simple nylon tape that is available in white and yellow, to flexibly vinyl tape that is available in many colors, to permanent polyester that can handle outdoor use and rough surfaces, Dymo has paid attention to the needs of custom A/V installers, electricians and journeymen everywhere.

Rhino has long been the professional's choice in label creation for quite some time. The new 5200 and 600 label systems offer flexibility and usability for CE professionals and custom A/V installers.

— March 28, 2011 01:50 in AV Gadget Reviews

RipDigital Audio CD Ripping Service Review

RipDigital Audio CD Ripping Service Review

Typically when we've reviewed CD ripping services we hear from a lot of end-users who would rather rip their own CDs to hard drive and can't understand why on earth you'd want to pay someone like RipDigital to do it for you. We get it. You're awesome. Now, if you can step away from the mirror for just one second, we'd like to show you a whole new world... a world of custom installers and people who generally value their time at a higher rate than those who can afford to rip 100s of CDs while they eat Slim Jims and check out reruns of Star Trek ToS (no offense, Gene). It's the CE professional that truly is targeted by this type of service. If you're doing an AV installation and your client has tons of CDs in his or her collection, there's got to be a better solution than paying one of your guys to sit there and rip each one to disc.

The CE professional is truly targeted by RipDigital's service. If you're doing an AV install and your client has tons of CDs in his or her collection, there's a better solution than to rip each one.

— March 14, 2011 01:40 in AV Gadget Reviews

Olive O2M Multi-Room Media Player Preview

Olive O2M Multi-Room Media Player Preview

As we said, the only thing the Olive O2M is missing is speakers and an amp. We can easily picture this unit in an office, bedroom, games room, or dining room flanked by a couple of decent bookshelf speakers and a small tube amp. While $600 certainly isn't cheap, we applaud Olive for allowing the O2M to be used without another one of Olive's media players in the mix. Wired or wireless, this is a great solution for those that want an elegant interface to their networked music and access to Internet radio. With the ability to use up to 15 of these at the same time, you are only limited by the number of rooms and your budget.

We can easily picture the Olive O2M flanked by a couple of decent bookshelf speakers and a small tube amp. This is a great solution for those that want access to their networked music.

— February 15, 2011 01:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

Olive 06HD Music Server Preview

Olive 06HD Music Server Preview

No expense was spared on the Olive 06HD so you shouldn't be surprised at the $5000 price tag. Olive is currently taking pre-orders on their website. While the 06HD is surely a niche product for those that are concerned by the minutia of high fidelity without being deluded that vinyl was somehow the pinnacle and want to have all their content in once place, it is surely a showpiece. With all the ways to control it including an iPod app and a 10.1" touch screen installed in the top, it's surely a unique device. Add to that an absolute focus on audio fidelity incorporating some of the best components on the market, and you can see where all your money is going.

No expense was spared on the Olive 06HD - a flagship media streaming device that has had no expense spared to maintain audio purity without sacrificing convenience and performance.

— February 07, 2011 02:10 in AV Gadget Reviews

Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT Flagship Multimedia AV Navigation Receiver Review

Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT Flagship Multimedia AV Navigation Receiver Review

More and more, manufacturers are including digital hubs in the center console that support multiple media inputs, manage your contacts, help you get where you're going, and advise you on the best 401(k) plans. It's true that, for those wanting more than a CD player and an air conditioner and who don't have every back road memorized, having an all-in-one GPS receiver is the way to go - if you can afford it. If you're lucky, something like this will come with your vehicle when you purchase it. However, if one didn't, and you're up for doing a post-factory upgrade, there are quite a few options to choose from. Pioneer has long been a strong competitor in the market of post-factory car audio and they've thrown their two cents in when it comes to receivers as well. I recently got ahold of one of their flagship GPS receiver models, the AVIC-Z120BT and had the chance to take it for a spin.

We recently got ahold of one of Pioneer Electronics' flagship GPS receiver, the AVIC-Z120BT and had the chance to take it for a spin in a 2007 Honda Element SC. The results were quite addictive.

— January 28, 2011 04:30 in AV Gadget Reviews

McIntosh AP1 Audio Player iPhone/iPad App Preview

McIntosh AP1 Audio Player iPhone/iPad App Preview

McIntosh Laboratory is offering iPhone and iPad users the opportunity to enjoy an iconic McIntosh experience anywhere and anytime with its new FREE AP1 Audio Player iPhone/iPad App, available now for downloading at the iTunes Store. Designed to envelop McIntosh fans in a portable aura of the company that defines the "platinum standard" in upscale audio, the AP1 Audio Player offers virtually all features of the existing iPod App, while tailoring the portable playback/control experience for the unique McIntosh style. With the new App, iPhone and iPad users will now be able to select tracks, artists, play lists and albums as well as control the volume of the music, with all controls fully customized and consistent with McIntosh styling and functionality.

McIntosh Laboratory is offering iPhone and iPad users the opportunity to enjoy an iconic McIntosh experience anywhere and anytime with its new FREE AP1 Audio Player iPhone/iPad App, available now.

— January 07, 2011 10:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

HAI Hi-Fi 2 Music Gateway and iPhone App Preview

HAI Hi-Fi 2 Music Gateway and iPhone App Preview

HAI announced today that they will be showcasing a standalone audio package at the Consumer Electronics Show. This package allows HAI's iPhone app to connect directly to the Hi-Fi 2 and Music Gateway systems without requiring a home control system. The all-new Hi-Fi 2 by HAI is a powerful distributed audio system with both local and remote inputs for increased ease of installation. The Music Gateway stores and serves thousands of songs to HAI's Hi-Fi 2.

HAI announced today that they will be showcasing a standalone audio package at the Consumer Electronics Show. This package allows HAI's iPhone app to connect directly to the Hi-Fi 2 and Music Gateway

— January 07, 2011 08:35 in AV Gadget Reviews