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Recent 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

Sony HAP-Z1ES 1TB Hi-Res Music Player System Preview

Sony HAP-Z1ES 1TB Hi-Res Music Player System Preview

Sony has been talking a lot of a new foray into hi-rez audio and now they've released three products to take advantage of this new commitment. The flagship of the line is the HAP-Z1ES. This silvery box is about as simple as you can get with a networked device. Inside there is a built-in 1 TB drive with expandable storage (through a USB port). It supports virtually all Hi-Res formats at any resolution you could want. Of course you have to connect it to your computer (via the network) to get your music (there is no drive). Afterwards, however, you can set it to automatically update its hard drive when you download new music. It has a DSD engine to upscale music file to DSD (5.6MHz) quality and a DSEE DSP to "restore" compressed music. Funny thing - they released two additional boxes that have more features and cost less. Go figure.

The Sony HAP-Z1ES is a hi-rez media streamer that can upscale your music to 5.6MHz (DSD quality). Funny thing - they released two additional boxes that have more features and cost less. Go figure.

— September 28, 2013 00:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

Unique Automation Bath-o-Vision

Unique Automation Bath-o-Vision

Now, I know that traditionally we cover audio and video stuff, but today I found something I particularly think you should know about. It's automation for your, well, cleansing needs. It's the iShower, Bath-o-matic and the iShower 36...I love it because all your automation is right there on these wonderful controls. Over at the shower station you can see that you can have an app control everything. One of the things I love about this company is that they've combined electronics and water—a great idea.

Now, I know that traditionally we cover audio and video stuff, but today I found something I particularly think you should know about. It's automation for your, well, cleansing needs.

— September 27, 2013 23:06 in AV Gadget Reviews

Panamax BlueBOLT Technology Preview

Panamax BlueBOLT Technology Preview

Would you like to be able to control appliances in your home from anywhere in the world (as long as you had an Internet connection)? Panamax is betting you do with their BlueBOLT technology. BlueBOLT Remote Power Management technology provides secure, hosted IP (Internet Protocol) system control. With BlueBOLT end-users can remotely monitor and control power to connected equipment by accessing power management components from anywhere in the world. From simple system reboots to comprehensive monitoring of power status, BlueBOLT provides the power to control complex A/V systems from their most fundamental level - their power source.

Would you like to be able to control appliances in your home from anywhere in the world (as long as you had an Internet connection)? Panamax is betting you do with their BlueBOLT technology.

— September 27, 2013 19:12 in AV Gadget Reviews

IOGEAR GWHDMS52 Wireless 5x2 Matrix Switcher Preview

IOGEAR GWHDMS52 Wireless 5x2 Matrix Switcher Preview

While it is pricy, the GWHDMS52 Wireless 5x2 Matrix Switcher from IOGEAR has applications not only in business but in the home. If you have a couple of sources and more than one room that might want access to them, it may make sense to purchase GWHDMS52. It is basically a five in, two out HDMI switch but it is wireless. Allowing you to display two full HD (3D, 60 fps) HD streams on two different displays is cool. The innate ability to connect a computer and control it using a wireless keyboard makes it perfect for turning your home theater display into a massive computer screen. At $400, the IOGEAR GWHDMS52 isn't cheap. But it is cheaper than putting an OPPO in two rooms.

The IOGEAR GWHDMS52 Wireless 5x2 Matrix Switcher is basically a five in, two out HDMI switch. It allows you to display two full HD (3D, 60Hz) HD streams on two different displays, wirelessly

— September 27, 2013 18:43 in AV Gadget Reviews

Arcam rBlink Bluetooth Music Converter

Arcam rBlink Bluetooth Music Converter

The Arcam rBlink Bluetooth music converter is a small but neat little box. It's a Bluetooth receiver that features a jitter removal circuit as well as a PCM 5102 24-bit digital to analogue converter (DAC). The output is left and right RCA but it also has a digital S/PDIF output in the event you want to use your own external DAC. The rBlink features Apt-X technology, so you can stream lossless-quality files via Bluetooth to any stereo or home theater system. Installation is easy with a simple pairing system for new devices. It also syncs with over 2000 devices, so if you're thinking about syncing all 2000 of your iPads and iPhones...or your friends' iOS devices...Well, go ahead have a party.

The Arcam rBlink Bluetooth music converter is a small but neat little box. It's a Bluetooth receiver that features a jitter removal circuit as well as a PCM 5102 24-bit digital to analogue converter.

— September 27, 2013 02:09 in AV Gadget Reviews

Atlona HDBaseT Matrix Switchers and Wall Plates Preview

Atlona HDBaseT Matrix Switchers and Wall Plates Preview

Atlona had a number of exciting offerings at CEDIA this year, all of which involved HDBaseT. The new AT-HDVS-TX-WP wall plates will send HDMI or VGA over HDBaseT up to 70 feet. It auto-switches inputs (there are manual buttons) but, most excitedly, it also has the ability to scale the video as well. Atlona also announced a couple of HDBaseT switchers. One is a six HDMI in, six HDBaseT out with two mirrored HDMI outputs. The other is an 8x8 matrix switcher but it is modular so that you can mix and match inputs and outputs including HDBaseT. All these are to be announced pricing. We are just excited to see HDBaseT start to come into its own.

Atlona had a number of exciting offerings at CEDIA this year, all of which involved HDBaseT. They introduced a wall plate and two switchers, one of them modular.

— September 27, 2013 01:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

V-MODA BoomPro Microphone Review

V-MODA BoomPro Microphone Review

The V-MODA BoomPro is a mic upgrade for any headphones with detachable cables that have a standard 3.5mm plug at the headphone. V-MODA is known for the high priced and fashionable but quite expensive headphone offerings. That's why we were surprised when their BoomPro mic add-on was only $30 MSRP. We were even more surprised when the BoomPro was worked with many of the headphones that V-MODA might consider competitors. While the mic input was a little hot for podcast recording, it could be tamed with a little care. Real world applications like Skype and smartphone use was universally lauded. If you have a compatible headset and want a mic upgrade, this is an easy recommendation.

Review: The V-MODA BoomPro is a mic upgrade for any headphones with detachable cables that have a standard 3.5mm plug at the headphone. The BoomPro performed well and are recommended.

— September 20, 2013 08:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

TiVo Roamio DVRs Preview

TiVo Roamio DVRs Preview

TiVo has always been expensive and that hasn't changed with the new Roamio boxes. If you are a true cord-cutter, the straight Roamio will be for you. This is the only one that has support for OTA. At $200, it isn't the cheapest solution on the market (and only has a 500 gig drive) but it will also stream your favorite services and, with a $130 peripheral, throw content to your iOS device (and hopefully Android soon). With four tuners, the famous TiVo interface, an IR/RF remote, and expandable storage, you may think it is worth it. If you have a cable service but want more than just the crappy DVR your provider offers, the Roamio Plus (1 terabyte) or Pro (3 terabyte) solutions, both with six tuners, are for you.

Preview: The TiVo Roamio will help you cut the cord with 4 tuners and 75 hours of HD recording. The Roamio Plus (150 hours) and Roamio Pro (450 hours) will upgrade your DVR w/6 tuners, stream, more.

— September 09, 2013 21:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Leap Motion Touch-free Controller Review

Leap Motion Touch-free Controller Review

The Leap Motion Controller is a motion controller in the form of a small rectangle that you wave your hands above to control your PC or Mac. There are reasons that someone might need a Leap Motion but they are fairly specific and, if you are reading this review, probably don't apply to you. I really like it and absolutely think it was worth the $80 asking price. If you have $80 to burn and don't mind taking a chance on a device, the Leap Motion Controller is certainly worth it. As there are new updates and new apps released almost daily, I've very hopeful that the Leap Motion will evolve into something essential. As it stands, it is more of a curiosity.

The Leap Motion Controller is a touch-free motion controller for your Mac or PC. While I really like it, the Leap Motion is more of a curiosity than a necessity. At $80, it might be worth it to you.

— September 02, 2013 21:00 in AV Gadget Reviews