1. Technology

Stereo & Home Audio Reviews and Profiles

Reviews and profiles of the latest stereo components, speakers, receivers, portables, iPod docks, whole house music systems and other stereo components
  1. iPod Docking System Reviews (7)
  2. Outdoor Speaker Reviews (4)
  3. Stereo Speaker Reviews (24)
  4. Stereo Receiver Reviews (11)
  5. Stereo Separates Reviews (5)
  6. Subwoofer Reviews (7)
  7. Disc Player Reviews (4)
  8. In-Wall Speaker Reviews (7)
  9. Integrated Amp Reviews (5)
  10. Stereo Headphone Reviews (12)
  11. Archived Reviews (2)

Best 4 Cheap Stereos for Dorms and Bedrooms
4 low-cost stereos perfect for dorm rooms, bedrooms, garages, etc.

Review: Sonos Play:1

Best Stereo Gadgets of 2010

Picking the best stereo gadgets for 2010 is a tough job. Many great products have hit the market, but a few rise above the rest and rank at the top of my list. My top picks were chosen from the many things I've reviewed this year and are 'must have' gadgets.

 

Best Stereo Gadgets of 2010

Picking the best stereo gadgets for 2010 is a tough job. Many great products have hit the market, but a few rise above the rest and rank at the top of my list. My top picks were chosen from the many things I've reviewed this year and are 'must have' gadgets.

 

Questions & Answers About External Digital to Analog Converters
A DAC, or digital to analog converter, converts digital signals into analog signals. The DAC has one of the most important jobs for sound quality: it creates an analog signal from the digital pulses stored on a disc and its accuracy determines the sound quality of the music we hear.

Phiaton Primal Series PS 20 Earphones
The Phiaton PS 20 Half-In-Ear earphones are part of the Primal Series line. The design is similar to an ear bud but with part of the earphones extending into the ear canal. They're stylish, comfortable and sound very good.

Review: Anthem AVM 50v Preamp/Processor & MCA 50 Power Amplifier
Building a top-class music or home theater system starts with the controller or preamp-processor. I tested Anthem's AVM 50v preamp/processor/tuner and MCA 50 five-channel power amp to find out how they stack up.

Review: KEF Ventura 6 Outdoor Speakers
KEF is a British speaker manufacturer, respected by audiophiles for their higher-end loudspeaker designs. The Ventura 6 is the top speaker in the three-model KEF lineup of outdoor speakers.

Aperion Audio Home Audio Link
Setting up and installing a basic wireless multiroom music system is easy and quite affordable with the Aperion Audio Home Audio Link, also known as HAL. HAL streams music and other uncompressed audio content wirelessly from one audio device to as many as three others.

Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers & Bravus 8A Subwoofer
The Intimus 5Bs are great speakers for a modest, yet robust stereo system. That is, a modest price and a robust sound. Pair them with a receiver or integrated amp with 75-100 watts per channel and the Bravus 8A for a classy and affordable stereo system, or wall-mount the 5Bs as surround speakers in a home theater system.

Review: Boston Acoustics Solo AM/FM Tabletop Radio
The Solo is a very cool-looking AM/FM tabletop radio with a 3.5-inch speaker powered by Boston Acoustics' BassTrac audio processing that belts out surprisingly good bass from such a compact unit. It's a handsome piece with surprisingly robust sound quality and it won't bust your wallet.

Review: Waterfall Audio Serio Speakers and EVO subwoofer
The Waterfall Audio Serio is a compact satellite/subwoofer system available as a 2.1 channel stereo system or 5.1-channels for a home theater system. The satellites can be used on stands, a bookshelf or wall-mounted with the supplied wall bracket. Regardless of how they are installed...

Episode 500 Series LCR-4 Compact Speakers
The Episode LCR-4 is a two-way compact speaker with two 4.5" polypropylene injection cones with high temp voice coils and a 1" Titanium dome tweeter housed in a compact, stylish enclosure with a black or white glass-like finish.

CES 2010: The Most Interesting Parts of the Drive to Las Vegas
The 300-mile drive from Southern California to Las Vegas cuts through the Mojave Desert, a desolate-looking place but with spectacular geography and scenery.

2010 CES, Las Vegas, Nevada
CES 2010 was notable for the introduction 3D television, but new stereo speakers, accessories and components were also shown. Read my overview of 2010 CES from a stereo perspective along with high points of the interesting drive from So Cal to Las Vegas.

Review: Mordaunt-Short Carnival 2 Bookshelf Speakers
Mordaunt-Short is a British loudspeaker maker with a reputation for making high-end products. The company started in 1967 and offers a wide range of stereo and home theater speaker systems and the Carnival 2 is one of their more affordable bookshelf models.

Top Pick Speakers in all Price Ranges
I've listened to and reviewed many fine speakers and these are my top picks chosen only for sound quality regardless of price. The sound quality of these speakers rise to a level that defines the best of the best. They are listed in ascending order and there are links to my reviews and/or the manufacturers site.

KEF HTB2SE-W Wireless Subwoofer
Most people conjure up the image of a square box when thinking about a subwoofer, but KEF has changed that image with the HTB2SE-W wireless subwoofer. Far from a boring, unattractive box that sits in the corner and thumps, the KEF sub delivers style, performance and wireless connectivity for home entertainment systems.

Top Picks for 2009
2009 has seen the introduction of many great new products. I've looked over my reviews for the year and selected the best of 2009. My top picks include speakers, receivers, iPod docks and much more. All include full reviews.

KEF iQ50 Compact Floorstanding Speakers
Audiophiles and avid music lovers know the KEF name well and associate it with fine loudspeakers. The iQ50 is a 2 ½-way floorstanding bass reflex speaker in the middle of the KEF Q series line with sound that belies its small size.

B & W Zeppelin Mini iPod Music Player
Following the B & W Zeppelin comes the Zeppelin Mini, a smaller, and more compact iPod music system. iPod/iPhone music systems are available in every size, shape, color and price range, but a few, such as the B & W Zeppelin Mini, stand above the rest.

Sonos Multiroom Audio System
The Sonos system is an elegant multiroom music solution with an intuitive user interface that thinks the way you do about using a sophisticated whole house audio system. It's a wireless system that lets you share your music with any room in the home.

Review: KEF iQ30 Bookshelf Speakers
Whether you're a casual or critical listener, rock or classical music aficionado, there is something for everyone to like in the moderately priced KEF iQ30 bookshelf speakers.

Review: Cambridge Audio Sonata 2.1-Channel Stereo Home Theater System
A 2.1 channel system such as the Cambridge Audio Sonata 2.1-channel system has two stereo speakers and a subwoofer and is ideal for homeowners that want good home theater sound with the simplicity of a stereo system and without the hassle of center and rear channel speakers and wires.

Review: Apple Airport Express
The Apple Airport Express is the easiest way to wirelessly stream your iTunes music from your PC or Mac to your home stereo system or a pair of powered speakers.

Stereo Gift Buying Guide 2009
This section has gift buying ideas for the stereo or music lover on your shopping list, organized by price and product type. It includes stereo accessories, headphones, speakers, receivers, music discs, books and other gift buying ideas.

Invisible In-wall/In-ceiling Loudspeakers From Amina & Triad
For sound and design conscious consumers, the invisible in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from Amina and Triad could be the ideal solution for stereo and home theater speaker systems.

Review: Audyssey Laboratories Sound Equalizer
Audyssey Laboratories offers the Sound Equalizer that when properly installed, removes frequency response irregularities and sound coloration from multiple seating locations in a listening room. The Audyssey Sound Equalizer unquestionably made listening to music and movies more enjoyable and is worth the investment and in my system it was the final step to achieving great sound.

Audyssey Sound Equalizer Measurement Results
Audyssey Sound Equalizer

Monitor Audio R90HD Mini Monitors & R360HD Subwoofer Review
The Monitor Audio R90HD Mini Monitors and R360HD subwoofer will deceive the eyes, but not the ears. The Monitor Audio Mini Monitor system is truly mini, perhaps even micro-sized, yet they have a sound quality that matches or exceeds many bookshelf speakers I've tested and are a great value.

Audyssey Laboratories Dynamic EQ
Audyssey Dynamic EQ selects the correct frequency response and surround sound volume levels on a moment-by-moment basis, taking playback level into account.

Focal Dome 5.1 channel Subwoofer/Satellite Speaker System
The Focal Dome is a satellite-subwoofer system with excellent sound performance, it takes little space and offers multiple placement options.

Phase Technology Teatro V3.0 Sound Bar - Profile
The Teatro V3.0 Sound Bar is a two-way speaker with three 5.25" VDT (Vapor Deposited Titanium) woofers and three 1" soft dome tweeters in a single enclosure. However, you might say it's a three-way speaker because each side of the sound bar has a midrange driver facing outward and angled slightly backwards towards the wall to produce a wider soundstage and increase channel separation.

Review Center: Reviews and Profiles of Stereo Components and Speakers
Research shows that 75% of shoppers rely on product reviews before making a buying decision. Often it helps to have some ideas in mind before shopping for a stereo component or system. The following are reviews and profiles of stereo components and speakers that have been tested and evaluated in real world conditions.

Update: Radiient Wireless Speaker System
THX and Radiient Technologies have formed a partnership to co-license and co-brand Roomcaster wireless speakers for stereo and home theater systems

Top Picks for 2008
Of all the stereo components, speakers and accessories I've reviewed or profiled in the last year, these deserve special mention and are my top picks for 2008

Gifts for Stereo and Music Enthusiasts Priced from $50 - $100
Gift Ideas for Stereo and Music lovers priced from $50 - $100

Best Budget Stereo Gifts
These gift ideas, all priced under $50 are sure to please any stereo or music lover

Gift Ideas for Stereo Enthusiasts
The Stereo Gift Center has the best budget and high-value gifts organized by product type to make it easy to find the gifts you're looking for. Most products have photos and a link to help you get the best prices.

Pioneer Elite X-Z9 Compact Stereo System
The Pioneer Elite X-Z9 is a compact stereo system with a stereo receiver, a built-in CD/SACD player and a pair of stereo speakers. The X-Z9 features Pioneer’s Home Media Gallery, which makes it possible to enjoy entertainment sources such as Internet Radio, streaming audio from a networked PC or music stored on an MP3 player or a USB thumb drive.

Bag End E-Trap Electronic Bass Trap
Bag End has introduced the E-Trap, an active or powered bass trap that provides an electronic solution to room bass problems.

Review: Audio-Technica USB Stereo Turntable System
The Audio-Technica AT-LP2D-USB LP to Digital Recording System makes it easy to convert LPs to digital files or CDs, so you can play them on a portable music player, a car stereo or on your home stereo system.

Profile: Audio-Technica LP2D-USB LP to Digital Recording System
CES 2008 New Product: The Audio-Technica LP2D LP to Digital Recording System is a complete USB turntable and software package that makes it easy to transfer vinyl records to digital media files and CDs.

Profile: iTrax High Definition Audio Video Download Service
iTrax is a new website for downloading high definition audio video content. iTrax features outstanding stereo and surround sound recordings for downloading in six different audio video formats.

Recommended Reading for Audio Enthusiasts
There’s a lot to know about stereo and home theater systems and understanding the basics will help you make smart buying decisions. I highly recommend these books as the place to start learning more about audio.

Profile: Bag End E-Trap Electronic Bass Trap
The Bag End electronic bass trap offers a tool to tackle boomy or heavy bass in home theaters and listening rooms.

Profile: Denon S-102 Compact 2.1 Channel Home Theater System
The S-102 system is one of Denon's latest 2.1 channel home theater systems with advanced video and networking features.

Review: Mordaunt-Short Aviano 6 Floorstanding Speakers
Speakers are the foundation of a good music system and it pays to shop around and check out many speakers before making a choice. Check out the Mordaunt-Short Aviano 6 floorstanding speakers for audiophile sound at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Cambridge Audio DacMagic Upsampling Digital to Analog Converter
The DacMagic is an upsampling outboard digital to analog converter (DAC) offered by Cambridge Audio, a UK manufacturer. The DAC is the core of a digital audio system and the rapid technological improvements in DACs and the rise in popularity of computer audio has driven demand for outboard DACs.

Boston Acoustics RS 230 Bookshelf Speakers and CPS 8Wi Wireless Ready…
The Boston Acoustics RS 230 and CPS 8Wi are a great combination of sound performance, style and quality and ideal for a mid-priced stereo or home theater system.

Bryston BDA-1 Outboard Digital to Analog Converter
The Bryston BDA-1 outboard digital to analog converter earns its high-end cred by virtue of its audio performance, extensive connectivity and design. You could certainly...

Gift Ideas for the Serious Audiophile

Coming up with gift ideas for the serious audiophile can be a challenge. Audiophiles are very fussy about their music systems, but here are a few ideas that will please any audiophile. 

My Top Pick Gift Ideas

If I were going to buy myself a stereo gift, here are my favorites...

Best Gift Ideas for Music Lovers & Stereo Enthusiasts

This section has gift buying ideas for the stereo or music lover, from affordable to extravagent. Gift ideas include books, stereo accessories, headphones, speakers, receivers and other thoughtful gift ideas. Most items include full reviews and have links to find the best source and prices.

Review of TDK WR700 Wireless Stereo Headphones
In the opinion of this serious music listener, the TDK WR700 wireless headphones are affordable, great-sounding headphones for casual or critical listeners. Their high fidelity sound is rich, full and detailed and the wireless capability is a real plus.

Review: Phiaton PS 20 NC Earphones with Noise Blocker Technology
It's commonplace to see music listeners clad with headphones or earphones almost anywhere you go. Many just want to listen to music, others want to detach themselves from the environment and enjoy a few moments of solitude and quiet. One of the ways to do either is with the Phiaton PS 20 NC 'Primal Series' earphones with Noise Blocker technology.

Best Black Friday Gadget Deals
The best Black Friday Deals for Stereos and Gadgets

TDK EB-900 In-Ear Headphones
To the serious stereo and music enthusiast, sound quality and comfort are likely the most important things to consider when buying a pair of headphones. I tested the TDK EB900 In-Ear Headphones with my iPod and stereo system to find out how they measure up in sound and comfort.

Axiom Audio M3v3 Bookshelf Speakers
It's a jungle of bookshelf speakers out there. The important thing is to identify the good from the not-so-good models. The best way is to read a variety of credible product reviews then try them out at home in your own system. It's easy to do with Axiom Audio.

Last Minute Gift Ideas
With little time remaining, here are a few gift ideas that are sure to please the stereo or music lover on your gift list.

Best of CES 2011 - Stereo Components & Speakers
Most of the stereo exhibits at CES 2011 were in private suites on the upper floors of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. This provides a quieter, more intimate setting for listening to high end speakers and systems. There were many exciting new products introduced at the show, and I've highlighted my favorites in this Best of CES 2011 article.

What is Kleer Wireless Technology?
Kleer technology is the only system that permits wireless streaming of CD quality audio. Kleer is used for wireless headphones and other portable audio products and is superior to Bluetooth in power consumption and resistance to interference.

Atlantic AT-1 Tower Speakers with H-PAS Technology
Since the loudspeaker was invented, manufacturers have tried every trick in the book to design a speaker with jaw-dropping bass that will bring an audiophile to tears, so I was eager to hear the latest attempt, the Atlantic AT-1 tower speakers with H-PAS technology.

Review of Yamaha R-S700 Stereo Receiver
A few manufacturers recognize that stereo receivers are still popular. One of the newest entries is the Yamaha R-S700 Stereo Receiver, one of three receivers aimed right at the two-channel enthusiast.

Thiel Audio SCS4 Speakers and Bryston Separates System
Thiel and Bryston are unrelated companies, other than the fact they both manufacture high-end audio gear. Pairing high-end speakers with just the right high-end electronic components can sometimes be tricky, but the combination of Thiel and Bryston produce a unique sound synergy.

What is Kleer Wireless Technology?
Kleer technology is the only system that permits wireless streaming of CD quality audio. Kleer is used for wireless headphones and other portable audio products and is superior to Bluetooth in power consumption and resistance to interference.

NAD Viso HP-50 Measurements

Monoprice 10565 Speaker System Measurements

Sonos Play:1 Measurements

10 Cool New Headphone Products from RMAF

Sony MDR-10RNC Measurements

10 Coolest New Stereo Products from Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Top 10 Products from CEDIA 2013

Review: Sony MDR-10RNC Noise-Cancelling Heaphone

Audeze LCD-XC Headphone Review

Samsung Shape M7 Wireless Speaker Review

Samsung Shape M7 Measurements

Audeze LCD-XC Headphone Measurements

Soundcast Systems Melody Bluetooth Speaker Review

Soundcast Systems Melody Measurements

5 Great Cheap Audio Gifts Under $25

5 Great Cheap Audio Gifts Under $50

Musical Fidelity V90-DAC Digital-to-Analog Converter Review

AKG K545 Headphone Measurements
AKG K545 lab measurements frequency response distortion isolation

How to Measure Noise Cancelling in Headphones
Measuring noise cancelling in headphones

8 Awesome Chi-Fi Products

Wren V5BT Bluetooth Speaker Review
Wren V5BT Bluetooth Speaker Review

10 Best Audio Products of 2013

Review: Music Angels Mengyue Mini Tube Integrated Amp
Review: Music Angels Mengyue Mini Tube Integrated Amp

SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer Review & Measurements
SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer Review & Measurements

SVS PB-2000 Subwoofer Review & Measurements
SVS PB-2000 Subwoofer Review & Measurements

Review: Monoprice MBS-650 (8250) $31 Bookshelf Speaker
Review Monoprice MBS-650 8250 vs Dayton Audio B652

Review: Monitor Audio Radius 270 Speaker

Measured: 10 Desktop Speaker Systems

Velodyne Wi-Q 12-Inch Subwoofer Measurements

Review: Samsung MX-HS9000 Giga System

The New Realities of Audio Reviewing
How the Internet Has Changed the Way Writers Choose Products for Review

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