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Audio News for December 27, 2016

Alexa Control4 Home Automation Setup  – Control4 is smart-home-as-a-service company which specializes in custom-installed connected entertainment setups. Fairly high end, the master receivers start at $600 and go as high as $2000, and to that must be added costs of your smart home gear. But it offers seamless, dealer-installed integration of all home AV needs, along with the lighting, climate and security gadgets. In one test, Alexa replaced a two-switch control setup for the gas fireplace with a single switch that controlled the lights, ceiling fans, fireplace, and even toggled pre-programmed scenes.  It includes stuff that most people never thought of automating.

Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 3700 – at $1499, gives the wonderful feeling when the lights go down and movie starts in your home theater. It is the mid-level projector of three models in the Home Cinema line, and does not lack for brightness or sharpness. It also makes 3D look good, and can be easily connected to better speakers than those built into the unit. The image is very adjustable, and the projector need not be placed directly in line with the screen. It can project a 100” image just ten feet away from the screen.

Biggest Works of Bach Recreated in Minuties via A.I. – DeepBach is an AI employing an agnostic machine-learning approach to produce music that would intrigue Bach himself. It can “compose” Bach-style polyphonic choral music indistinguishable from the 18th-century counterparts. The Deep-Learning algorithm is trained using 400 chorale sheets of Bach’s original music. DeepBach quickly learned the style and rhythm of Bach. The user can then impose notes, rhythms or cadences in order to re-harmonize the melodies. But when it comes to creativity, the human still reigns superior. Machines do not have the high level of cognitive abiliy required to be creative, says a professor in machine learning at the University of Oxford. “Creativity is arguable the most difficult human faculty to automate.”

Sony’s SRS-FG1 Speaker Punches Above Its Weight for Size – It is just a small rectangular box that comes in five different colors, but it uses two 35mm drivers and a passive radiator for bass sound and sounds like a much larger speaker. Altho of course Bluetooth, it also has an audio-in stereo jack allowing for hi-res content to be streamed from a player or smartphone. it has a built-in S-Master HX digital amp delivering hi-res sounds and reducing noise level. There is also a circuit to upscale and restore compressed music files to a level close to hi-res audio. (Those things usually don’t work, however.) (About $260 U.S.)

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