Ken Kessler

Best of the Best: Home Theater

Happy Medium A theater with bespoke quality and off-the-rack convenience.   At one end of the home theater spectrum are the all-in-one packages that offer simple, instant solutions to your entertainment needs. At the other end are the massive, custom-designed and custom-installed surrogate cinemas. The home theater we have assembled falls somewhere between the two […]

Best of the Best: Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect A secondary system that is first rate.   Fashion, technical innovation, and performance may be equally important considerations when selecting an entertainment system for an office, a bedroom, or any space that serves more than one function. With the rapid evolution and adoption rate of Apple’s iPod and its myriad rivals, wireless connectivity, […]

Best of the Best: Pens

David Oscarson Harvest Collection Collectors reap what this artisan penmaker has sown.   With designs that address function and aesthetics in equal measure, David Oscarson’s eponymous company stands out among the new wave of artisan pen manufacturers.  Oscarson’s fourth series is the Harvest Collection, which, unlike so many pen collections, was inspired by neither event […]

Home Electronics: Pure Gold

Remembering some of the best audio products of yesteryear can be particularly nostalgic: It is impossible to separate the machine from memories of the music it played. In the next few years, several audio brands will be marking milestone anniversaries, occasions that will celebrate collectible classics and category benchmarks, inspiring the type of reminiscing that […]

Home Electronics: String Trio

Sonus Faber, the Italian company universally acknowledged for revolutionizing the shape of dynamic loudspeakers, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with not one, but two significant events. The first was the construction of a 12,000-square-foot factory in Vicenza. The building opened in September, in time to commence manufacture of the other anniversary marker, the Stradivari […]

Home Electronics: Switching Channels

In audio circles, Jeff Rowland Design Group is to two-channel hi-fi as Brooks Brothers is to button-down collars. Now, however, the Colorado Springs, Colo., company is venturing into home theater territory, which, to extend the analogy, is equivalent to Brooks Brothers releasing an haute couture line. It is out of character—or, at first glance, appears to be.   For nearly […]

Home Electronics: PureDriving Force

Although the popularity of plasma screens has been growing steadily, the picture is still far from perfect. Various degrees of digital noise, fuzzy edges, and image jitter, which occurs when a static background appears to shake as the camera pans, still plague the technology. Pioneer is closing the gap in visual quality between plasma and […]

Home Entertainment: Canada Dry

Among his peers in the audio industry, Joe Atkins is an anomaly: He is not interested in how loudspeakers work. Indeed, Atkins has never read a hi-fi magazine. Yet this 47-year-old native of Toronto, whose firm jaw and trenchant gaze suggest that you should not waste his time with further questions about his aptitude for […]

Home Electronics: Step Up to the Mic

A speaker may come close to reproducing sound perfectly in a laboratory, but alas, no one lives in a lab. When the real world includes wood floors and upholstery-free furnishings, the formerly flawless speaker will echo and sound too focused on the upper frequencies. At the other extreme, soft furniture and heavy drapes will absorb the […]

Home Electronics: Blue Ribbon Winner

the concept behind the ribbon speaker is rather straightforward. A thin strip of conducting foil (the ribbon) is suspended between the poles of powerful magnets. The ribbon is secured at the top and bottom and moves within the magnetic field as the amplifier’s signal stimulates the magnets, resulting in a pleasing, open sound. The ribbon […]

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