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Recent AV Gadget Reviews

Sanus ELM806 In-Wall Cable Management System Preview

Sanus ELM806 In-Wall Cable Management System Preview

Yes, wall plates aren't the sexiest of HT products but the Sanus ELM806 in-wall cable management solution looks to be one of the most useful. With an integrated, in-wall power run, for $100 you can get power to your display with a minimum of hassle. Recessed wall plates, dual power outlets behind the display, and low-voltage pass-through makes the ELM806 a one stop solution for you new flat panel display.

Yes, wall plates aren't the sexiest of HT products but the Sanus ELM806 in-wall cable management solution looks to be one of the most useful. For a $100 integrated, in-wall power run, it's pretty good

— May 01, 2013 04:35 in AV Gadget Reviews

Otterbox Armor Series Case for iPhone 4/4S/5/5S and Galaxy S3 Review

Otterbox Armor Series Case for iPhone 4/4S/5/5S and Galaxy S3 Review

Otterbox was late in releasing their Armor Series cases for the iPhone and Galaxy S3 but, as they say, better late than never. Now, I'm going to start off this review with all the reasons you wouldn't want to get this case. And here's why—if you get this case without understanding it, then you're going to be disappointed. You just are. So I'll give you some examples of why this case might not be for you..and then I'll give you some reasons why it might be EXACTLY what you're looking for.

If you get the Otterbox Armor case for iPhone 4/4S/5 or the Galaxy S3 without understanding it, then you might be disappointed. I'll give you examples of why this case might, or might not be for you.

— April 01, 2013 04:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

V-Moda Vamp Verza DAC and Metallo Case Preview

V-Moda Vamp Verza DAC and Metallo Case Preview

I'll just be honest—I can't explain what this thing is in 15 words or less. V-Moda invented these two things it's calling the Vamp Verza and Metallo. Basically it's a hi-fi amplifier, DAC, battery and docking metal case... And it's compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S III, S IV, and iPhone 5. The idea is that it's a mobile hi-fidelity system whose Verzadock will bring audiophile-level fidelity to Android and iOS smart phones in addition to Windows and Mac computers. That's a tall claim, so let's investigate some more...

I'll just be honest-I can't explain what this thing is in 15 words or less. V-Moda invented these two things it's calling the Vamp Verza and Metallo. Basically it's a hi-fi amplifier, DAC, battery...

— March 19, 2013 21:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4200R) Preview

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4200R) Preview

Looking like a squared-off hockey puck and featuring a completely upgraded interface, has the new Roku 3 finally hit its peak? The all-new Roku interface lets you glide through menu screens, quickly accessing channels like Angry Birds Space, Netflix, HBO Go, NHL, Disney, NBC, Crackle and more... And when we say more, Roku is now up to around 750 channels. Of course, one of the best features of Roku is that you can control it from your iPhone or Android smart phone. The Roku app lets you begin a show, replay a favorite movie moment, or add new Channels to your line-up from the Channel Store.

Looking like a squared-off hockey puck and featuring a completely upgraded interface, the new Roku 3 has an all-new Roku interface lets you glide through menu screens, quickly and access 750 channels.

— March 08, 2013 06:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo Review

Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo Review

When Western Digital (WD) proposed sending us their new My Book VelociRaptor Duo...Well, I first asked how it differed from their Thunderbolt Duo. The answer was that it actually has a pair of 10,000 RPM Velociraptor drives which deliver 2TB of storage in a RAID 0 or 1 configuration (striped or mirrored). The drives are connected internally via a SATA 6Gb/s interface. And you can access the internals easily just by lifting the top of the chassis, twisting the cage lock and lifting out the drives individually.

When Western Digital (WD) proposed sending us their new My Book VelociRaptor Duo...Well, I asked how it differed from their Thunderbolt Duo. It actually has a pair of 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor drives.

— March 07, 2013 05:40 in AV Gadget Reviews

Pimping Your Ride with Sony's XM-ZR704 Amp and XS-GTX Speakers

Pimping Your Ride with Sony's XM-ZR704 Amp and XS-GTX Speakers

It's not often that you get a chance to "pimp" your ride, so when Sony suggested we take a look at their newest ZR Series amplifier and their GTX speakers, we ran out and immediately located a victim, er... test vehicle. The experiment was simple: remove the stock system and replace it with the upgraded amplifier and speakers and note the differences. The proposition was this: would an upgrade of just the speakers make a huge enough difference in a car audio system? Or does it take a complete overhaul. Well, the results were eye-opening to say the least, but we actually ran the experiment both ways (having installed a separate XAV-701HD head unit in a separate vehicle, while keeping the stock speakers) and this was part 2.

It's not often that you get a chance to "pimp" your ride, so when Sony suggested we take a look at their newest ZR Series amplifier and their GTX speakers, we ran out and immediately located a victim.

— February 20, 2013 22:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Aton DLA6 Six Zone Speaker Selector Preview

Aton DLA6 Six Zone Speaker Selector Preview

ATON is a name that you may not be familiar with, but if you're in the market for a speaker selector, it's one you may want to learn. A subsidiary of Nortek Technology, ATON's siblings include more familiar names like Furman, Niles, Panamax, Speakercraft, and Sunfire. While ATON does offer a variety of equipment, including speakers, their core focus is on Audio/Video routing systems. The DLA6 being previewed here is ATON's most capable speaker selector, with the ability to deliver audio to as many as six zones. Now you can have smart usage of those two unused amplifier channels of your 7.1 A/V receiver. Imagine feeding audio into the whole home with ease without having to add more amplification. We like this solution a lot!

The Aton DLA6 Six Zone Speaker Selector is a smart speaker selector device that impedance matches depending on the load it senses and allows you to connect up 6 zones of audio with just a 2CH amp.

— February 15, 2013 09:35 in AV Gadget Reviews

Yamaha CD-N500 Network CD Player Preview

Yamaha CD-N500 Network CD Player Preview

Yamaha is continuing to expand its line of retro styled HiFi gear with the release of the CD-N500 Network CD Player. This is the first CD/network player combo that Yamaha has released in their HiFi lineup, and we think it fills a nice gap. The front panel is constructed of aluminum and has a USB input for direct connection to an iOS device or other USB storage device. The back of the unit has stereo RCA analog outputs, optical, and digital coax. In order to guarantee the best sound quality possible, Yamaha employed a 192KHz/32-bit Burr-Brown DAC and left-right symmetrical audio circuitry. It also has two independent power supplies, one for the Network/USB circuity, and one for the CD/DAC/display components. Vibrations are eliminated by using two different vibration damper pads that keep the CD mechanism decoupled from the chassis. It's a cool product, but at $799 it's not for the budget minded audiophile. But, then again, it's much less than some of the competition, which can cost well over $2,000 without a DAC.

Yamaha is continuing to expand its line of retro styled HiFi gear with the release of the CD-N500 Network CD Player. It's the first CD/network player combo that Yamaha has released this lineup.

— January 31, 2013 06:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

Krell Connect Media Streaming Player Preview

Krell Connect Media Streaming Player Preview

Krell Industries showed off its new Connect high-resolution audio streaming technology. The Connect plays back FLAC to WAV, MP3 and WMA at up to 192kHz/24-bit audio, plus it does Internet radio. The Wi-Fi-equipped Connect is available in two models: as a digital only solution, or with a built-in Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) module. The DAC-equipped Connect has a 32-bit ESS Sabre chipset with discrete, direct-coupled analog circuitry outputting via RCA or balanced audio outputs. The digital-only version has both coax and Toslink optical outputs.

Krell Industries showed off its new Connect high-resolution audio streaming technology. The Connect plays back FLAC to WAV, MP3 and WMA at up to 192kHz/24-bit audio, plus it does Internet radio.

— January 08, 2013 22:10 in AV Gadget Reviews

Slingbox Adds Smart My Media and Companion Functionality

Slingbox Adds Smart My Media and Companion Functionality

Sling Media updated its Slingbox platform for those using its Slingbox 500 and Slingbox 350 placeshifting devices. The two technologies are dubbed "My Media" and "Slingbox Companion". My Media features SlingSync which makes it easy for customers to sync photos and videos to a Slingbox 500 with a connected USB drive and view them on the TV. My Media is part of the company’s digital media framework. Now Slingbox 500 customers can transfer and enjoy personal photos and videos from a USB hard drive attached to the Slingbox 500. Customers can also play back any personal content stored on the USB drive directly on their TV screen using the Slingbox 500’s remote control.

Sling Media updated its Slingbox platform for those using its Slingbox 500 and Slingbox 350 placeshifting devices. The two technologies are dubbed "My Media" and "Slingbox Companion".

— January 08, 2013 13:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH Adds Sling to Hopper Whole-Home DVR Platform

DISH Adds Sling to Hopper Whole-Home DVR Platform

DISH introduced their latest whole-home DVR, the Hopper with Sling. This is the second generation of its brand new HD DVR system released, in our opinion, even before that new car smell, has worn off the existing Hopper/Joey system. The new Hopper with Sling delivers several capabilities that improve the DISH experience at home and on the go by allowing customers to watch live and recorded television anywhere on Internet-connected tablets, smartphones and PCs or even move recorded television to an iPad for viewing without an Internet connection using the free Hopper Transfers app.

DISH introduced their latest whole-home DVR, the Hopper with Sling. This is the second generation of its brand new HD DVR system released, in our opinion, even before that new car smell, has worn off

— January 07, 2013 21:30 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH Explorer Second-Screen App for iPad Announced

DISH Explorer Second-Screen App for iPad Announced

DISH introduced something new to complement its new Hopper and Joey whole home DVR system—the DISH Explorer app for iPad. This is an intuitive "second-screen" app that lets you find programs, engage social media and also perform remote-control functions. While customers are already using tablets while watching TV, the Explorer app melds the two experiences into one seamless event. The app will be available for FREE from the Apple store starting tomorrow (January 7th). DISH Explorer expands the functionality of the Hopper by allowing customers to discover popular and trending shows, engage with fans via Twitter and Facebook, control the Hopper, and search live TV, DVR and on-demand programs—all from the iPad's keyboard.

DISH introduced something new to complement its new Hopper and Joey whole home DVR system—the DISH Explorer app for iPad. This is an intuitive "second-screen" app that lets you do a lot more.

— January 06, 2013 21:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Sony XAV-701HD A/V Receiver with Bluetooth Review

Sony XAV-701HD A/V Receiver with Bluetooth Review

Times have changed and stereos have gotten more sophisticated, with the leading brands leap-frogging each other in terms of advanced offerings and high quality components. The new Sony XAV-701HD in-dash A/V receiver has a lot to offer today's tech-savvy customer. With all kinds of smartphone connectivity, it makes this unit an easy choice for those looking to upgrade their vehicle's factory system. And if I can give you a piece of advice—don't waste precious years convincing yourself that it's OK to endure a badly-designed stock car audio system. Change it out while you still have ears to hear.

The new Sony XAV-701HD in-dash A/V receiver has a lot to offer today's tech-savvy customer. With all kinds of smartphone connectivity, it makes this unit an easy choice for those looking to upgrade.

— December 02, 2012 21:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

G-RAID with Thunderbolt Drive Review

G-RAID with Thunderbolt Drive Review

Not only am I the face of the Audioholics product review videos, I also have the job of editing them together. That’s sort of my niche: editing video. And now that everything shoots in HD and the smallest video file can take up over a gig—sorry, gigabyte—hard drive space is a commodity that is both increasingly cheap yet even more increasingly in demand. I recently switched away from a Mac Pro tower to a faster iMac, but with that came a loss of four hard drive slots. I wanted (needed, really) an external drive solution that could replace the terabytes of internal storage I was using. But I also needed a drive (or drives) that didn’t compromise speed. Basically, I wanted a Thunderbolt drive. G|RAID's solution intrigued me, so I decided to try it out.

I needed a drive (or drives) that didn't compromise speed. Basically, I wanted a Thunderbolt drive. G-Technology's G|RAID solution intrigued me, so I decided to try it out for myself.

— November 30, 2012 07:00 in AV Gadget Reviews