KEN KESSLER

FrontRunners: Retro Reverence

Releasing an all-tube, stereo amplifier seems like a curious way for a cutting-edge hi-fi company to mark its first quarter-century. The irony is lost on T+A (707.762. 0914, http://www.taelektroakustik.com), a German company known for advanced solid-state and digital hardware. “The V 10 integrated tube amplifier is the perfect way of proving to music lovers that […]

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 […]

FrontRunners: Stylish Storage

The Italians constantly offer reminders about why they are known for their style; they see possibilities for beauty in places and items that others overlook. Vismara Design (www.vismara.it), a design firm located outside of Milan, turned its attention to CD and DVD storage and elevated it to an art form. The company employed a combination […]

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 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: 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 […]

Home Electronics: View Master

A subset of video processors is drawing attention from two disparate groups: videophiles, who are excited by even the slightest improvement in picture quality; and the rest of the world—people who are happily unaware that video is processed at all. Yet enthusiast and apathetic alike are lured to these machines for a relatively small reason: […]

FrontRunners: Ace of Bass

Bass. Lotsabass. The kind of bass low-riding hip-hop gangstas dream about does not even begin to describe the rumble that emanates from the Basshorn, Avantgarde Acoustic’s (www.avantgarde-acoustic.com) latest subwoofer. The Basshorn works with the company’s flagship Trio Omega speaker system, introduced in 2000, and is a fully self-powered bass-only system that covers just the lowest […]

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