“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Recent AV Gadget Reviews

Emotiva XPS-1 High Performance Phono Preamp Preview

Emotiva XPS-1 High Performance Phono Preamp Preview

The Emotiva XPS-1 is a high-quality, in-line phono pre-amp for the bargain price of $149. With high quality, if likely off-the-shelf, components, attention to RIAA equalization, low noise floor, and vanishing distortion, the XPS-1 will be everything you need to integrate your turntable into your system. If you have a record player you can't use because your receiver lacks a phono input, Emotiva is trying to give you a compelling reason not to upgrade. We think they have succeeded.

The Emotiva XPS-1 is an high-quality, in-line phono pre-amp for the bargain price of $149. If you have a turntable you can't use because you lack the correct inputs, the XPS-1 is the solution.

— January 15, 2014 09:50 in AV Gadget Reviews

Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS USB DAC Review

Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS USB DAC Review

External DACs come in all shapes and sizes but few are smaller than the Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS. Cambridge Audio has a number of DacMagic offerings, currently three on their website, and this is by far the smallest and the least expensive. At $189, it undercuts the price of most external DACs on the market buy anything from a few dollars to many thousands. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS is focused on being portable and universal. It connects to your computer by a USB connection, has a 3.5mm output for you headphones or speakers, and volume control.

Review: The Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS. Cambridge Audio has a number of DacMagic offerings, currently three on their website, and this is by far the smallest and the least expensive.

— January 13, 2014 11:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC/Preamp Review

Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC/Preamp Review

If the Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC, headphone amp, and preamp does what Emotiva intends, you'll never hear it. That's right, the whole point is to get out of the way and let your source shine. The $500 price tag would be worth it for the DAC and headphone amp or the DAC and preamp alone but Emotiva gave you all three for that price. That's amazing from a company that I thought was done amazing me. The Emotiva Stealth DC-1 - if it isn't on your Christmas list, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Highly recommended!

Review: The Emotiva Stealth DC-1 is a two channel preamp, DAC, and headphone amp all in one. The $500 price tag would be worth it for any 2 of those but Emotiva gave you all 3. Highly Recommended!

— December 15, 2013 10:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

DVDO Air3 Review: Wireless 3D HDMI for All!

DVDO Air3 Review: Wireless 3D HDMI for All!

DVDO’s Air3 Wireless HD HDMI adapter kit, an updated version of the AIR system, has helped to restore my faith in wireless HDMI. First off, it supports full 1080p 3D video and 7.1 DTS-HD MA at over 35' away. I tested it out with multiple devices, resolutions, audio formats, and distances. The results? It's not perfect, but performs better than any wireless HDMI solution I have ever used. Click through to read the full review.

Review: DVDO Air3 Wireless HDMI Adapter. We ran it through its paces passing 3D HD audio and video. Results? It's not perfect, but is arguable the best wireless HDMI solution we have ever reviewed.

— December 04, 2013 08:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Samsung GX-SM530CF Smart Media Player Preview

Samsung GX-SM530CF Smart Media Player Preview

The Samsung Smart Media Player takes Samsung's Smart Hub and puts it in a standalone box. Giving you access to over 100 apps and streaming services is cool but not cool enough to justify the $150 price tag. Samsung is betting that including CableCARD support will change your mind. By allowing you to combine your cable and streaming media in one box, you can save money and hassle. The question is whether it will be enough savings for the price.

The Samsung Smart Media Player takes Samsung's Smart Hub and puts it in a standalone box with a twist - CableCARD support. Will combining cable and streaming convince people to buy the $150 Player?

— November 21, 2013 10:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH Anywhere App Adds Transfers

DISH Anywhere App Adds Transfers

One of the coolest things you can do with the latest DISH content, is view it on your iPad or smart phone or mobile device. Now, however, DISH is readying an upgrade to its DISH Anywhere app that actually incorporates Transfers functionality to both iOS and Android phones and tablets. With this new DISH Anywhere app, Hopper with Sling technology will allow users to transfer their favorite shows for offline viewing to iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. This is a free enhancement that is slated to be pushed out as an update to users of DISH's free DISH Anywhere app. The update is due out by the end of the year.

One of the coolest things you can do with the latest DISH content, is view it on your iPad or smart phone or mobile device. Now, however, DISH is readying an upgrade to its DISH Anywhere app.

— November 13, 2013 04:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Akiko Audio Tuning Stick Spectral Preview

Akiko Audio Tuning Stick Spectral Preview

A late night visitation brings on horror as one of our reviewer's systems is infiltrated by Akiko Audio Tuning Sticks. If you were inconvenienced by the blackout, we are sorry. Audioholics everywhere - beware! Check your cables! If one of these sticks appears, contact us. We are building a special cage that emits high levels of EMF and micophony that we believe will contain them. Tell your friends!

A late night visitation brings on horror as one of our reviewer's systems is infiltrated by the Akiko Audio Tuning Sticks. Audioholics everywhere - beware! Check your cables! Don't let them in!

— October 31, 2013 00:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Yamaha NX-P100 Portable Wireless Speaker Preview

Yamaha NX-P100 Portable Wireless Speaker Preview

The Yamaha NX-P100 is a Bluetooth speaker from Yamaha that is meant to be taken with you wherever you might go. It has an eight hour battery that can be used to charge your phone if it gets low. It is splash resistant so you don't have to worry about taking it to the pool. With built in speakerphone and Siri support, once you pair your phone, you won't have to worry about calls interrupting you. For those with NFC devices, the NX-P100 will pair with a simple tap of the phone. We've heard portable speakers from Yamaha and we have always been impressed. While $200 is a lot for such a small speaker, we bet Yamaha will sell more than a few of these.

Preview: The Yamaha NX-P100 is a Bluetooth speaker from Yamaha that has speakerphone and Siri support, apt-X for CD quality streaming, is splash resistant, and can even charge your phone. $200.

— October 30, 2013 08:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

VIZIO Co-Star LT Streaming Box Preview

VIZIO Co-Star LT Streaming Box Preview

Frankly, you aren't saving a lot of money by going with the Co-Star LT over VIZIO's initial Co-Star offering. But, then again, you aren't giving up much functionality either. You lose the Chrome browser (and GoogleTV platform), Ethernet port, and fancy remote. But, then again, you probably were using your phone or tablet to control the Co-Star LT anyhow. And who needs a browser when you have all those apps? If you want the most features, go with the Co-Star. If all you are going to do is stream, save $20 and buy the Co-Star LT. Either way you can connect wirelessly, stream 1080p and 3D, pass through 5.1 audio, and overlay the interface on top of your cable box signal.

The VIZIO Co-Star LT has almost all the functionality of the original Co-Star but costs $20 less. It has tons of apps, can connect wirelessly, stream 1080p and 3D, and pass through 5.1 audio.

— October 25, 2013 08:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Coobeetsa CCG-10DX Guitar Review

Coobeetsa CCG-10DX Guitar Review

The craftsmanship of the Coobeetsa CCG-10DX guitar is in line with some of the master Luthier made guitars I’ve seen and played selling for much higher dollars, including my Guitar Factory model. My desire was to find a worthy guitar that sported either a Floyd Rose or Bigsby Vibrato Bridge. So, why would I ever imagine I could find an equal on eBay, and at an affordable price? Read this review to find out.

Review: The craftsmanship of the Coobeetsa CCG-10DX guitar is in line with some of the master Luthier made guitars I’ve seen and played selling for much higher dollars.

Steve DellaSala — October 20, 2013 08:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Mass Fidelity Relay Hi-Fi Wireless Receiver Review

Mass Fidelity Relay Hi-Fi Wireless Receiver Review

Can you use the words "Bluetooth" and "high-quality audio" in the same sentence? That's what we'll explore, and that's what Mass Fidelity is going after with their new Relay Hi-Fi Wireless Receiver. This $249 Bluetooth receiver is a very simplistic-looking product. In fact, it's milled out of a solid block of aluminum and it has these really nice rounded corners that makes it look like something Apple's chief designer Jony Ive would approve of. The receiver integrates well with any hi-fi audio system. I mean ANY system. You just connect the stereo analogue outputs on the back to your AV receiver or preamp and you're ready to go.

Review: Mass Fidelity Relay Hi-Fi Wireless Receiver wants to convince you that "Bluetooth" and "high-quality audio" can be used in the same sentence. Let's explore it and find out.

— October 15, 2013 11:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH Winegard Pathway X2 Portable Satellite Dish Antenna

DISH Winegard Pathway X2 Portable Satellite Dish Antenna

DISH has a new product, the Winegard Pathway X2 portable satellite dish antenna. There are a couple really great things about this. First, it's automatically self-pointing and you can connect it to two HD solo receivers. That means you can set it up at a tailgating party and use dual satellite receivers. On top of that, the antenna can track with either the Eastern or Western satellite arcs. So if you're stuck parked next to a building that blocks your view of the western arc, you can switch over to the eastern arc and pick up all your channels.

DISH has a new product, the Winegard Pathway X2 portable satellite dish antenna. It's automatically self-pointing and you can connect it to two satellite receivers.

— October 02, 2013 20:33 in AV Gadget Reviews

DVDO Air3 Wireless HD and Matrix6 4k Switcher Preview

DVDO Air3 Wireless HD and Matrix6 4k Switcher Preview

The Matrix6 is a six in, two out 4k switcher from DVDO. This is a product that we consider to be inevitable - though it seems a bit premature at this time. The DVDO Air3 is a much more exciting product for the general consumer. The first allowing full 1080p/60Hz wireless streaming, it supports MHL and 3D as well as CEC pass through. Operating on 60GHz means you won't have to worry about interference. Such a high operating frequency means the Air3, however, will need very near a line of sight to operate properly. DVDO says it will bounce around walls and that they've optimized the receiver for a very wide scan. We'll let you know how it preforms when we get one in for review.

The DVDO Matrix6 is a 6 in, 2 out 4k switcher. This is a product that we consider to be inevitable. The DVDO Air3 is the first allowing full 1080p/60Hz wireless streaming and it supports MHL and 3D.

— October 02, 2013 10:16 in AV Gadget Reviews

Cambridge Audio Minx Xi Digital Music System

Cambridge Audio Minx Xi Digital Music System

The Cambridge Audio Minx Xi is a wireless streaming box that has it all. Bluetooth? Check. USB inputs? It's got two. Amps? Two into 40 watts (8 ohms). It is compatible with ALAC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, WMA, MP3, AAC, HE AAC, AAC+, OGG, has headphone and subwoofer outputs, and can connect to local devices by digital and analogue inputs. While $900 is steep, many might look at the Woflson WM8728 DACs, the small form factor, and the all-in-one design and think it is a deal. We had a chance to see it at CEDIA 2013 and are hoping to get a review unit in soon.

The Cambridge Audio Minx Xi is a wireless streaming box that has it all. Bluetooth? Yep. USB inputs? It's got two. Amps? Two into 40 watts (8 ohms). It is compatible with most formats. $899 MSRP.

— September 28, 2013 02:02 in AV Gadget Reviews